Sunday, April 22, 2018

Map Chocolate Co. - The Secret Garden - dried plum, cardamom Belize 70% bar - April 22, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Map Chocolate Co. 
"The Secret Garden - respite from the storm" dried plum cardamom Belize 70% bar
Good+++
Weight: 1.25 oz. (35 g.) / 2.5 oz (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 187 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $12.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate and Botanicals Theme Week.

Today's "The Secret Garden" dark bar from Map Chocolate Co. (Eugene, OR) had a long, poetic name: "The Secret Garden respite from the storm Belize 70% with dried plum and cardamom."


This attractively packaged and designed bar came with a tiny leaflet laced with colorful, commentary—a weaving of information about the chocolate bar (makers notes) with memories and associations.

Pieces of local (Oregon) dried plum, and freshly-peeled cardamom seeds, adorned the back of this bar.

This attractive, well-tempered bar broke with a hard snap, and had an aroma with dark chocolate, spice, toast and dried fruit notes. The Belize 70% chocolate was smooth, and the bar had a light plum and cardamom spice finish.

*Note: The bar was listed as sold out on the company's website.








Saturday, April 21, 2018

Map Chocolate Co. - "Favorite Flannel Shirt" Pumpkin Babka Caraway Seeds bar - April 21, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Map Chocolate Co.
Favorite Flannel Shirt pumpkin babka with caraway seeds bar
Good - Good +
Weight: 1.25 oz. (35 g.) / 2.5 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 187 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $12.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA

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

Today's "Favorite Flannel Shirt" pumpkin babka with caraway seeds bar was from Map Chocolate Co. (Eugene, OR).

The bar's packaging unfolded a bit like a Russian nested doll. Underneath the brown paper outer wrapping was a beautifully illustrated, botanically-themed wrapper. And at the center, was a square chocolate bar, imprinted with an intricate, mandala-like pattern. The flip side was dusted with a tiny riot of pumpkin and caraway seeds, spices, sugar and oat particles.

This bar had a pleasant, faint intriguing aroma that was tough to pin down (dried plum, dessert, light spice with a comfortable top and bass notes). The aroma did have a comforting/comfortable quality, thus the possible connection with "Favorite Flannel Shirt" and "babka" in the name.

A babka typically might contain yeast dough/gluten, but it seemed that organic oats* were used instead to simulate the grain component here.

The base chocolate had relatively bold, dark flavor with a touch of citrus acidity, and bar had a lingering, even finish.

*Ingredients: "cacao beans, organic cane sugar, cocoa butter, organic pumpkin, organic oats, organic spices, caraway, maple syrup, olive oil, organic brown sugar"

Allergy information: Soy free; may contain nuts and/or dairy due to shared equipment.








Friday, April 20, 2018

Theo Chocolate - Lemon Hemp Chocolate Clusters - April 20, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Theo Chocolate
Lemon Hemp Chocolate Clusters
Good
Weight: 1.4 oz. (40 g.) / 2.8 oz. (80 g.) in total package
Calories: 220 calories in 1/2 package
Cost: $2.49 (estimate) for 1 package
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

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

Today's Lemon Hemp Chocolate Clusters were from Theo Chocolate (Seattle, WA). The company has a history of being "passionate about chocolate and making the world a better place." Founded in 2006, the company was one of the first to offer organic, fair trade cocoa products. (Today's USDA Organic, Non GMO Project Verified chocolate was "fair for life.")

Today's Organic Lemon Hemp Chocolate Clusters* contained a mix of dark chocolate, crunchy plant-based seeds and flakes and a hint of natural, lemon fragrance and flavor. One serving (1/2 package) of these crunchy clusters contained "50 mg cocoa flavanols per serving,"**

While not certified gluten free (these clusters were made on shared equipment with products containing soy, milk, eggs, wheat, peanuts and other tree nuts), they did not contain soy, dairy or gluten-containing ingredients.

*Ingredients: Cocoa Beans*, Cane Sugar*, Coconut*, Crisped Sorghum Flakes*, Cocoa Butter*, Crisped Sorghum Flakes*, Cocoa Butter*, Crisped Quinoa*, Low Fat Cocoa Powder* (with Ascorbic Acid with color retention), Hemp Seeds*, Lemon Oil*, Ground Vanilla Bean*  (* = organic ingredient)

**Flavanols are plant nutrients found naturally in cocoa beans that are thought to contribute to heart health by "supporting healthy blood flow." 

Whether flavanols from dark chocolate can help counteract our habits of sitting behind a desk or on a couch for many hours a day, will depend on the individual circumstances. However, research does seem to support claims on this package that healthy circulation contributes to exercise performance, cognitive health, skin and cardiovascular health.




Thursday, April 19, 2018

Raphio Chocolate - Clementine Olive Oil bar - April 18, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Raphio Chocolate
72% Clementine with Olive Oil bar
Good +
Weight: 1.1 oz. (31.5 g.) / 2.2 oz. (63 g.) in total bar
Calories: 165 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $11.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA

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

This pleasant 72% dark chocolate Clementine with Olive Oil bar from Raphio Chocolate (Fresno, CA) had authentic, rich but smooth dark chocolate flavor.

It was infused with a light natural citrus flavor* and had a subtle, creamy/soft initial texture (olive oil) and melt. The chocolate had a very slight grainy finish, but it was not enough to affect the tasting experience.

*Raphio Chocolate's Elisia Otavi, skillfully incorporated Enzo Olive Oil Company's Clementine Olive Oil into this bar.





Violet Sky - 77% Guatemala Fennel Pollen bar - April 19, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Violet Sky American Craft Chocolate
Guatemala 77% with Fennel Pollen bar
Good +
Weight: 1.23 oz. (35 g.) / 2.47 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 185 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $11.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA


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

Today we're having fun with the herb fennel. Fennel grows wild in California. Every part of the fennel plant is edible, including the tiny flowers and yellow pollen.

High-end chocolatiers and chefs occasionally infuse or dust food and dessert items with fennel pollen. The naturally sweet, fennel particles have a licorice flavor.

While potent, the fennel in today's (Lachua) Guatemala 77% with Fennel Pollen bar—from Violet Sky American Craft Chocolate (South Bend, IN)—didn't overpower the base 77% dark chocolate. This chocolate had its own bold flavor with citrus notes.




Wednesday, April 18, 2018

La Naya Chocolate - Orange and Juniper bar - April 17, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

La Naya Chocolate
Orange and Juniper milk chocolate bar
Good+ - Good ++
Weight: 1.41 oz. (40 g.) / 2.82 oz. (80 g.) in total bar
Calories: 229 calories (per label) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $7.50 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #9 of Chocolate and Orange Theme Week; Day #1 of Chocolate and Botanicals Theme Week.

Today's Orange and Juniper 54% milk chocolate bar from La Naya Chocolate (Lithuania).

The gluten free, organic dark milk chocolate bar was smartly dressed in botantically-themed and illustrated packaging. The chocolate was flat on the back side (as bars usually are) and a molded 3D sculpture on the front side.

The maker described his bar as "bean to emotion," likening the emotion evoked to a spring day at The Vatican...with the promise of victory, or words to that effect. That phrase did evoke a cuirous state of mind.




Monday, April 16, 2018

Bounce USA - Orange Cacao Protein Energy Ball - April 16, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Bounce USA
Orange Cacao Protein Energy Ball
Good - Good +
Weight: 1.48 oz. (42 g.) in 1 ball/package
Calories: 170 calories in 1 ball/package
Cost: $1.09 for 1 ball/package
Purchased from: Missing information

Welcome to Day #8 of Chocolate and Orange Theme Week.

Today's Orange Cacao Protein Energy Ball was manufactured in the US for Bounce USA (Bend, OR).

This substantial, chewy protein* ball had natural, balanced chocolate and orange flavor and a healthy dose of crunchy cacao nibs. The natural flavors were more present, vs. the traditional, tell-tale grainy, protein bar taste. Hurray. Also cause for celebration: this protein energy item was not overly sweet. Thank you!

*This Non-GMO Orange Cacao Protein Energy Ball contained 9 grams of protein. It was made without artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. It was gluten free, but did contain milk (whey protein).

Note: This Orange Cacao flavor did not appear on the company's website on the date of this posting. So, it's not clear if it's a new, or possibly a discontinued, flavor. There was a Cacao Mint flavor though.
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