Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Who knew? Kazakhstan, you know "Borat", makes pretty good chocolate

I was never really a fan of Borat and his ridiculing the country of Kazakhstan and really felt bad when the fake Kazakhstan anthem was played by mistake at a sporting event, which a woman from Kazakhstan had won. But a colleague of mine had just returned from a vacation in Kazakhstan and brought back chocolates. Yes, many of you will wonder why vacation in Kazakhstan. But quite frankly, why not? Certainly off the beaten path and by his accounts visited by plenty of Germans. The Germans visiting Kazakhstan in good numbers can easily be explained by the history of German migration and settlements in Kazakhstan. For several centuries Germans were invited to settle in Russia, forming a quasi independent colony, with its inhabitants commonly referred to as Volga-Germans.

Like many things, WWII brought this life to a grinding halt. Stalin force-migrated many of the Volga-Germans from their "native" Volga area to more remote areas, including Kazakhstan. Today, still around 1.4% of the population of Kazakhstan are considering themselves Germans. So that explains why so many Germans visit Kazakhstan. After WWII and particular in the 1980s many of the Volga Germans emigrated to countries such as Germany. If you visit North and South Dakota in the USA, you will also find that a lot of the "Germans" trace their heritage to Volga Germans and Sen Tom Daschle is one of them.

But enough of history and back to the chocolate that I got to sample. Of course being a dedicated blogger, when opportunity strikes to sample something unusual, I need to blog about it. Below is an image of the chocolate. It came in a little box of 24 individually wrapped pieces. Each piece showed a different golden artifact traced back to the nomads in Kazakhstan.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - the foil says " the gold of nomads" and shows a gold seal-ring
 The chocolate was really quite good. It was not too sweet and more bitter than American chocolate. But it was not simply a bitter milk chocolate. It was bitter in a way that you expect dark chocolate to be. I am fan of dark chocolate, so I actually really like this Kazakhstan chocolate made by a company called PAXAT.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - the chocolate, not too sweet, has PAXAT embossed on it
Google is your friend when doing any kind of research these days and so googling PAXAT and chocolate did show a number of results. I rarely go to visit any Russian or ex-Soviet Republic-associated sites on the internet because malware is often associated with foreign sites. But this one I was brave enough to click on since I got to it from an associated German company, who partners with PAXAT to import sweets. So be brave, here is the site for the company that produced this delectable chocolate.

website in Kazakhstan for PAXAT here
And you can recognize on the image above the little box of chocolates that I took my sample from. The box in the center with the 24 little chocolates, wrapped in green and gold, and now I actually know that at least that product of Kazakhstan tastes very good.

Looking around the site some more, they really seem to have a nice selection of milk and dark chocolate. Based on my little sample, I certainly would not be opposed if they started importing this chocolate to the USA. So now you know something besides Borat about Kazakhstan and the next time you have a lull at a dinner party mention that Kazakhstan makes really good chocolate!

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