Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Elements Truffles - Raspberry Beetroot 70% bar - April 24, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Elements Truffles
Raspberry infused with Beetroot 70% bar
Good
Weight: 1 oz. (28 g.) / 2 oz. (56 g.) in total bar
Calories: 130 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $6.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Country Sun Natural Foods, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #8 of Chocolate and Botanicals Theme Week, and the first day of Chocolate and Raspberry Theme Week.

Botanicals this week have included a variety of plant-based ingredients, including fruits, vegetables, flowers and seeds. Today's Raspberry infused with Beetroot bar from Elements Truffles (Kearny, NJ) contained both a fruit and and a root vegetable.

The company's Ayurveda-inspired, cocoa butter-rich* bars have a slightly soft, creamy melt and texture (like chocolate truffles).

This 70% dark chocolate had red berry flavor balanced by slight beet, vegetable note; and the bar was garnished with a thin line of freeze-dried, raspberries (powder) on the back.

*Ingredients: Organic Raw Cacao Butter (Peruvian Criollo), Raw Honey, Organic Raw Cacao Powder, Raspberry Essential Oil, Organic Beet Root Powder, Organic Freeze-Dried Raspberry, Himalayan Sea Salt.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Dagoba - Organic Ginger Lime Milk Chocolate 37% cacao - April 23, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Dagoba Organic Chocolate 
Ginger Lime milk chocolate 37% cacao bar
Good
Weight: .706 oz. (20 g.) / 2.83 oz. (80 g.) in total bar
Calories: 100 calories in 1/4 bar
Cost: $1.99 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Dagoba Organic Chocolate
Organic Ginger Lime milk chocolate 37% cacao Cacao Gems
OK ++ - Good
Weight: .35 oz. (10 g.) / 4.2 oz. (115 g.) in total package
Calories: 50 calories in 1 piece
Cost: $2.99 (estimate) for 1 package of 3 flavors
Purchased from: Target Stores, Mountain View, CA

Welcome to Day #7 of Chocolate and Botanicals Theme Week.

Today's organic, gluten free Ginger Lime Milk Chocolates were from Dagoba Organic Chocolate (Ashland, OR).* One was in bar form and the other in individually-wrapped Cacao Gem form.

Although made with the same list of ingredients and wrapped in similarly themed packaging, the bar version of this Ginger Lime milk chocolate seemed a little tastier, fresher and a little more natural. The tiny pieces of crystallized ginger had a more natural soft chew, vs. crunchy flavored bit texture.

Both 37% cacao chocolates were very sweet (which may be OK if you like chocolate candy). However, like many other 37% chocolates, it was hard to taste the cacao under so much sugar and milk,

The design and packaging were well done. The pattern printed on the bar was especially nice, combining an abstract motif with a small figure, the outline of a cacao pod and a small company logo.

*Manufactured by Dagoba Organic Chocolate, a division of The Artisan Confections Company (owned by The Hershey Company). 

**The cacao (beans and butter) used to make these chocolates was sourced from dual-certified Organic and Rainforest Alliance Certified Farms.


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+++ - Very 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 well-tempered dark 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, almost creamy, 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.




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