Friday, April 29, 2016

Baron Chocolatier - Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt bar - Apr. 29, 2016

Chocolate of the Day: 

Excellent Baron Chocolatier
(Imported by European Chocolate, Ltd., Milano Group)
Premium Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt 50% cocoa bar
Good
Weight: 1.4 oz. (40 g.) / 3.5 oz. (100 g.) in total bar
Calories: 200 calories in 2/5 bar
Cost: $1.49 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate and Salt Theme Week.

Today's Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt bar, a product of Poland, originated from The Milano Group's North American division, European Chocolate, Ltd. (Vernon Hills, IL), that produces Baron Chocolatier bars. Hard to follow? Yes, it is. But supply chains sometimes are.

This 50% cocoa bar broke with a hard snap, and had smooth dark flavor. Tiny embedded crystals of sea salt were embedded (inside) this sweet, dark bar, and yielded an occasional saline sparkle.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Endorfin Foods - Dark Mylk Pink Salt and Heirloom Nibs bar - Apr. 28, 2016

Chocolate of the Day: 

Endorfin Foods
Dark Mylk Pink Salt and Heirloom Nibs bar
Good + - Good ++
Weight: 1.4 oz. (40 g.) in 1 bar
Calories: 210 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $ N/A - part of a larger box of bars
Purchased from: Endorfin Foods

Welcome to Day #4 of Chocolate and Salt Theme Week.

Today's 72% cacao Dark Mylk Heirloom Nibs and Salt bar from Endorfin Foods (Oakland, CA) contained a more subtle hint of pink salt than yesterday's 55% cacao "Mr. Pink" savory Dark Mylk Chocolate with Pink Salt and Pink Peppercorn bar from the same company.

A generous sprinkling of cacao nibs (pieces of Heirloom Arriba Nacional* cacao beans) on the back side of today's bar added some crunchy texture and balanced, slightly earthy flavor.

Endorfin's "Mylk" chocolate contains no dairy milk (or soy), but rather this line of bars (some single origin, and some with flavor inclusions) are crafted using cacao, coconut sugar, coconut and cocoa butter. In the spirit of "minimally processed whole food ingredients" Endorfin bars are made with fermented but unroasted cacao beans giving them a clean, smooth flavor, and without some of the roasted notes found in other dark chocolate bars.

*Heirloom Arriba Nacional cacao is often associated with fine cacao coming from Ecuador after around 1890 (when strains (possibly Criollo) from Venezuela were bred with Forestero cacao in Ecuador). The aroma of these beans is sometimes described as having floral notes.



Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Endorfin Foods - Mr. Pink Dark Mylk Pink Salt + Pink Peppercorn bar - Apr. 27, 2016

Chocolate of the Day: 

Endorfin Foods
Mr. Pink - Dark Mylk Chocolate with Pink Salt and Pink Peppercorn bar
Good +
Weight: 1.4 oz. (40 g.) in total bar
Calories: 210 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $ N/A - part of a larger box of bars
Purchased from: Endorfin Foods

Welcome to Day #3 of Chocolate and Salt Theme Week.

The pink ("Mr. Pink" to you) Dark Mylk Chocolate with Pink Salt and Pink Peppercorn 55% cacao bar from Endorfin Foods (Oakland, CA) was a tasty, sophisticated treat made with unroasted cacao.

Endorfin Foods' Founder/Maker/Alchemist, Brian Wallace, decided not to roast cacao beans, "to deliver the maximum range of flavor and anti-oxidants possible."

What is Mylk? Endorfin bars are made without dairy, gluten, soy, GMO or refined sugar. Coconut "milk" and a touch of cocoa butter added creaminess to this dark mylk bar instead of traditional dairy milk.

This attractively designed and packaged, six-ingredient bar contained: cacao, coconut sugar, coconut, cocoa butter, pink peppercorn, Himalayan pink salt.

My favorite part about this bar was the artful melding of crushed pink peppercorns* (actually berries) and pink salt with the chocolate. Wallace noted that the resulting blend highlighted the citrus blossom and grapefruit zest flavor notes of the pink berries. Well done maestro.

*Pink peppercorns aren't a member of the peppercorn (Piper nigrum) family. Instead, while they resemble peppercorns in size and shape, these tiny berries with pink husks are sweeter and more fragrant than most peppercorns, with a milder citrus peppery zing.  Related to the mango and the cashew, these pink berries grow on Brazilian (Schinus terebinthifolius) and Peruvian (Schinus molle) pink pepper trees. Another great food that originated in the Americas.





Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Not Your Sugar Mamas - Lavender Sea Salt bar - Apr. 26, 2016

Chocolate of the Day:

Not Your Sugar Mamas
Lavender Sea Salt Bar
Good+ - Good ++
Weight: 1.1 oz. (31.13 g.) / 2.2 oz. (62.26 g.) in total bar
Calories: 210* calories (per label) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $7.59 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Country Sun Natural Foods, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #2 of Chocolate and Salt Theme Week.

Today's Lavender Sea Salt 75% cacao chocolate bar was from Not Your Sugar Mamas (Vineyard Haven, MA). The organic and raw bar was free of gluten, dairy and refined sugar.

This dark chocolate broke with a soft snap and was suffused with the natural aroma and flavor of lavender. Instead of sugar, the organic bar was sweetened with a hint of maple. As the chocolate melted in my mouth, I tasted no off or sharp flavors in the chocolate. The cacao had been minimally processed (as close to raw as possible). Lavender was the dominant flavor.

I liked the fact that the two founders, Bennett and Ky, chose to use local sea salt** from the Martha's Vineyard area.

*210 calories for 1/2 bar (per label). This sounds high, unless there's lots of cocoa butter.

**I have wanted to make some chocolates with local San Francisco Bay salt, but it's hard to find a good source. (The San Francisco Bay Area was once home to dozens of salt-making companies.)



Monday, April 25, 2016

Rau - Cacao Superfood Drink - Apr. 25, 2016

Chocolate of the Day: 

Rau
Rau Chocolate Original Cacao Superfood Drink
Good
Weight: 1 fl. oz. (29.5 mL) / 12 fl. oz. (354 mL) in total container
Calories: 7.5 calories in 1 fl. oz.
Cost: $4.59 for 1 container/bottle
Purchased from: Country Sun Natural Foods, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #1 of Chocolate and Salt Theme Week. And we're starting the week with a salt-subtle item, made possible with the absence of sugar.

Today's Organic, Cacao Drink contained: "filtered water, raw cacao powder, raw cacao butter, Himalayan pink salt, raw vanilla bean, spice, monk fruit."

No sugar, and no artificial sweetener. It's unusual to find anything like that in the chocolate world, short of baking chocolate or a 100% cacao bar.

The company added monk fruit (luo han guo) as a sweetener to this cold processed cacao beverage instead. So, it was not too sweet, and subtle hints of vanilla and pink salt have a chance to come through a bit.














Sunday, April 24, 2016

Dick Taylor - Los Bagels Slug Slime bar - Apr. 24, 2016

Chocolate of the Day: 

Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate
Humboldt State University - Special Edition Bar
Los Bagels Slug Slime (with sesame and poppy seeds)
Good +
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 2 oz. (57 g.) in 1 bar
Calories: 150 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $9.00 for 1 bar (plus any applicable shipping)
Purchased from: Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate (online order)

Welcome to the last day (Day #10) of Chocolate and Seeds Theme Week.

Today's Humboldt State University Special Edition Bar - Los Bagels Slug Slime 72% Belize bar was crafted by the founders and team at Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate (Eureka, CA).

Los Bagels Co. (Arcata, CA) is a popular bagel bakery and cafe in Humboldt County, founded by an owner with Jewish and Latino roots who opened the business in 1984. With locations in Arcata and Eureka—and a third location at Humboldt State University (Arcata, CA)—the company's Slug Slime, La Granola, and other bagels and baked goods have developed a local following.

The Los Bagels Slug* Slime is available as an a la carte Roasted Seasoning Blend that can be sprinkled on bagels or other baked goods (...or, today, a chocolate bar). I'm assuming this "Slime" seasoning mix includes the same ingredients in today's Dick Taylor bar: sesame seeds, poppy seeds, onion, garlic and salt.

From its description alone, this Dick Taylor Slug Slime bar would make my list of interesting chocolate breakfast candidates.

And an experimental collaboration like this bar says something about bean-to-bar makers and Dick Taylor founders (Adam Dick and Dustin Taylor)—i.e., their skill and confidence to take on a daring blend of fine dark chocolate with onion and garlic. (The sesame and poppy seeds and salt are a snap compared to onion and garlic.)

While the Los Bagels bar will likely charm the students and citizens surrounding Humboldt State**, did this combination of sweet and savory flavors work?

The Slug Slime bar, swathed carefully in shiny gold foil, had a mild sweet chocolate and savory aroma.

The first bite delivered a hearty, yet surprisingly balanced blend of slightly salty bagel fairy dust and chocolate. And, within seconds, rather than being overwhelmed by the savory spices, the acidic, rich 72% Belize dark chocolate flavor bloomed and refused to be dominated by garlic or onion. Ole.

Alas, when I checked the Dick Taylor website this morning, this bar was already sold out.

*Slug slime is a reference to banana slugs and other slugs that live in the moist Redwood Forests of Northern California. (Also there are a variety of sea slugs who reside in the nearby Pacific Ocean.) At least one other institution of higher learning in Northern California claims the banana slug as a school and/or team mascot: the University of California at Santa Cruz, south of San Francisco.

**A portion of the proceeds from sales of this bar go to Humboldt State University.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Alli and Rose - Dark Chocolate Acai and Blueberry with Chia - Apr. 23, 2016

Chocolate of the Day: 

Alli and Rose
Dark Chocolate Acai and Blueberry with Chia
Good
Weight: 1.20 oz. (34 g.) / 6 oz. (170 g.) in total package
Calories: 170 calories in 1 serving (1/5 package, or about 10 pieces)
Cost: $3.49 for 1 package
Purchased from: Ross, Mountain View, CA

Welcome to Day #9 of Chocolate and Seeds Theme Week.

It's another chia day...Today's Dark Chocolate Acai and Blueberry with Chia pieces—distributed by Alli and Rose Inc. (Lincolnton, NC)—were, according to the packaging, "fruity bite size bliss."

Glossy, chocolate coated spheres were filled with a sweet and chewy berry fruit-flavored center. I did pick up a slight chia seed crunch, but it was very subtle. If you prefer chocolates or confections that are more sweet and smooth, and less "seedy" or textural, these might be for you.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...