“Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor.”
Or should it be reworded to, “…may the odds be in your flavor?”
Based on reviews, “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” is smoking hot and a must-see movie. Being a pop-culture fan I’ll get in on the action, after all, last year’s first film in the series left me hungry for more.
Coinciding with the excitement of “Catching Fire” here’s some excitement for foodies. Wild Ophelia has launched a limited edition chocolate bar collection inspired by “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” which represents each of the 12 districts in Panem. Just like their American Road Trip chocolate collection, all natural ingredients such as sea salt, caramel corn and beef jerky have been sourced from American farmers and food artisans.
I recently sampled several of these Catching Fire bars and am including suggested beer pairings as recommended by Wild Ophelia to complement these savory and sweet treasures. Further down you’ll see a recipe I whipped up which is perfect for your leftover movie popcorn.
“District 12: Where you can starve to death in safety.”
District 4 – Fishing
Sea salt and coconut in 70 percent cacao dark chocolate.
Subtle salt brings out the richness of the dark chocolate and the coconut brings out a sophisticated sweet flavor. This bar is not available for individual sale but available as part of the Wild Ophelia & The Hunger Games Chocolate Bar Library.
District 5 – Power
Crispy, crunchy caramel corn wrapped in 70 percent cacao dark chocolate.
Caramel popcorn adds a buttery, lightly sweet crunch to this rich dark chocolate. The perfect bar to curl up with on the sofa watching “The Hunger Games” before heading out to the theater to watch “Catching Fire.”
Beer Pairing: Arcadia Ales, Jaw-Jacker Pumpkin
The warm, buttery flavors of the chocolate bar radiate when paired with this orange amber ale with its cinnamon, all-spice and nutmeg.
“Aim higher in case you fall short.”
District 10 – Livestock
Beef jerky and smoked mesquite in 41 percent cacao milk chocolate
This is my favorite bar in the collection because I prefer savory to sweet. At first scent you’ll notice the smoky goodness and the flavor is slightly salty and definitely savory and complements nicely with the sweetness of the milk chocolate. The texture is a little chewy from the jerky.
Beer Pairing: Stone Brewing Co., Stone Smoked Porter
With flavors of coffee and chocolate suffused with subtle smokiness from the addition of peat-smoked malt, this dark, smooth porter is the perfect brew for this Livestock chocolate bar.
District 12 – Mined Salt and Chocolate
Mined salt sprinkled in 41 percent cacao milk chocolate
This mined, pink Himalayan salt brings out the sweetness of the milk chocolate. Simply lovely.
Beer Pairing: 5 Rabbit Brewery: 5 Lizard Latin-Style Witbier
This lightly spicy creamy wheat beer serves up a tangy fruitiness and passion fruit adds a slightly exotic flavor. It’s sophisticated yet approachable.
“Destroying things is much easier than making them.”
Sipping your favorite brew while enjoying your chocolate is a beautiful thing but even better is chocolate and popcorn. I’m not great with measurements so you may need to adjust this popcorn and chocolate recipe accordingly. It’s also a great way to use up that movie theater popcorn after you’ve seen #CatchingFire.
Catching Fire’s Spicy and Savory Chocolate Popcorn
8 cups popped popcorn
1/2 cup chopped almonds (or whatever nuts you have on hand)
1/4 cup maple syrup – heated (use the real stuff!)
2/3 of the District 10 Chocolate Bar (Livestock)
2/3 of the District 12 Chocolate Bar (Mined Salt)
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (you can increase the amount depending on how much heat you like but I didn’t want to overpower the flavors in the chocolate bars)
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (I didn’t have any and used aluminum foil. Trust me, use parchment if you can.)
Sprinkle the popcorn on top of the parchment paper and spread it out evenly.
Sprinkle the nuts on top of the popcorn.
Pour the warm maple syrup (30 seconds in the microwave should be enough) over the popcorn and nuts.
Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave in 30-second intervals. After every 30 second interval, attempt to stir until liquified. It took me two sets of 30 seconds.
Add cayenne pepper to the melted chocolate.
Drizzle the chocolate over the mixture either with a fork or pouring it into a plastic baggie and snipping off the corner.
Place in refrigerator to cool – if you can wait!
After it’s chilled, break it up and enjoy. The smoky and savory flavor complement the sweetness from the maple syrup and chocolate. The popcorn adds a nice crunch.
Aren’t these bars perfect for The Hunger Games? The flavor combinations are so clever.
About Wild Ophelia
Based in Chicago, Ill., Wild Ophelia is the creation from Katrina Markoff, founder of Vosges Haut-Chocolat. She’s been recognized as a “chocolate revolutionary” by Food & Wine magazine and launched Wild Ophelia to bring unconventional American-inspired chocolate creations mainstream and revolutionize the local chocolate aisle. The organization also takes sustainability seriously and focuses on creating high-quality chocolate while being approachable. When you pick up a bar, turn it over. Each bar tells a story – both on the wrapper and in each bite – and tells the origin of each ingredient. Find Wild Ophelia at Walgreens, Whole Foods, Cost Plus World Market and visit their website www.wildophelia.com to find a store near you.
Retailers selling The Hunger Games: Catching Fire chocolate bars are Walgreen’s, Safeway and Select Retailers.
Love the chocolate? Connect with Wild Ophelia on:
Wild Ophelia’s Hunger Games: Catching Fire Chocolate Website – Be sure to visit the site and enter the sweepstakes for a YEAR’S WORTH OF CHOCOLATE! Sweepstakes ends Jan. 31, 2014.
Disclosure: I’ve been selected as a member of Wild Ophelia’s Blogger Posse meaning I receive samples of chocolate in exchange for my honest opinions about the products.