Blending spices into chocolate isn't new or particularly adventurous; they're often used to flavor hot chocolates and cocoas that replicate traditional Aztec flavors of chili and cinnamon. They're also essential in chocolate cakes and cookies, so it was only a matter of time before they graced more sophisticated treats in concentrated flavors.
Spices used to be so valuable that the worldwide economy depended on their trade. Considering the history of these potent powders, it's no surprise that rare and expensive spices are a powerful method to increase a chocolate's sense of exclusivity.
Emboldened by the ever-growing demand for new and interesting flavors, high-end chocolatiers are experimenting with ingredients like cardamom, curry, masala and wasabi. Done right, these chocolates won't taste like sushi or Indian takeout, but biting into one still might take a leap of faith.
They're reminiscent of other flavor experiences: an anise-infused truffle, for instance, might make you think of absinthe, and a fennel-topped chocolate morsel can tickle the tongue and nose like a fragrant glass of Chianti. Other well-matched ingredients, such as fruits or nuts, can tone down or dress up a piece of chocolate. Traditional pie spices lend a fall breeze to a pumpkin cream, or you can warm up with a comforting chai tea truffle or chocolate-based drink. Ginger and chocolate is becoming a ubiquitous combination, perhaps because of ginger's reputation as a powerful energy booster.