Thursday, April 2, 2020

MIA Chocolate - Cranberry and Hazelnut Dark Chocolate (bar) - Apr. 2, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

MIA Chocolate
Cranberry and Hazelnut Dark Chocolate (bar)
Good +
Weight: 1.325 oz. (37.5 g.) / 2.65 oz. (75 g.) in total bar
Calories: 400 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $6.95 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocosphere.com, online order

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

Today's Cranberry and Hazelnut Dark Chocolate (bar) was from MIA Chocolate (London, UK), and was "Made in Africa (MIA)" in Madagascar using cacao grown in Madagascar.

This 65% cacao smooth, rich and flavorful dark chocolate contained a balanced tart red fruit and nut flavor and texture blend, with dried, ruby red cranberries and roasted hazelnut bits. The sweetness level seemed just right; and a hint of cinnamon added a bit of sweet warmth.

Tasting notes for this bar read: "...its flavour (sic) roams between sweet and sour with a nutty crunch and notes of woodsy spice."



Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Baraboo Candy Company, LLC - Peanut Butter Cow Pie! - April 1, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

Baraboo Candy Company, LLC
Peanut Butter Cow Pie!
Good
Weight: 1.4 oz. (39.5 g.) / 2.8 oz. (79 g.) in total package
Calories: 95 calories in 1/2 package
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: Bed Bath and Beyond, Mountain View, CA

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

Happy April Fools Day! We're taking a break from fancy single origin, artisan chocolate bars to enjoy a sweet bite of fun from America's Heartland. Today's milk chocolate, candy bar-like "Peanut Butter Cow Pie!" was from Baraboo Candy Company, LLC (Baraboo, WI).

Baraboo has been making bovine-themed chocolate confections since 1981. Their offerings include: The Original Cow Pie! (with pecans instead of peanuts), a dark chocolate cow pie, mini cow pies and other cow-themed candies and chocolate confections.

The company's red building with white trim in Wisconsin appears on their website, with a friendly human dressed in a cow suit out front. If Baraboo Candy were not located approximately 2,129.6 miles away from where I live, I would have happily paid them a visit. Udderfingers anyone?

How did today's cow pie taste?

This cow pie was a successful blend of sweet, creamy (it contained real butter), penut-ty, crunchy and chocolatey flavors and textures. All the right ingredients to satisfy a sweet tooth.







Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Taza Chocolate - Paleo Dark Chocolate Slab with Almonds - Mar. 31, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

Taza Chocolate
Paleo Dark Chocolate Slab with Almonds
Good +
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 15 oz. (424.5? g.) in total bar
Calories: 150 calories (estimate) in 1 oz. (28.3 g.) of bar
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

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

Today's paleo dark bar with almonds was from Taza Chocolate (Somerville, MA).
This generous slab of 65% dark stoneground chocolate, sweetened only with coconut sugar (no cane sugar), contained un-roasted organic almonds, and was made with cacao grown in the Dominican Republic.

The bar had a dark chocolate aroma with balanced wood/green banana and dried fruit and raw nut notes. Un-roasted almonds added some authentic nut texture and flavor.

This chocolate was certified USDA Organic, Direct Trade, Gluten Free and Kosher Pareve, and Non-GMO Project Verified. It was also dairy free, soy free and vegan.

This deluxe bar could feed a large family. Since large social gatherings are curtailed this month due to flu concerns, I can't share with friends. Instead, I will enjoy this bar over time.

Ingredients: organic cacao beans, organic coconut sugar, organic almonds, organic cacao butter




Monday, March 30, 2020

Akbal Chocolate Mexicano - Oscuro 72% Higo Almendra bar - Mar. 30, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

Akbal Chocolate Mexicano
Oscuro 72% Higo Almendra Ahumada Sal de Mar (Edicion Especial)
Dark 72% Fig, Smoked Almond, Sea Salt (Special Edition) (bar)
Good +
Weight: 1.94 oz. (55 g.) (estimate, no weight listed on label) in total bar
Calories: 296 calories (estimate) in 1 bar
Cost: N/A - gift from a friend
Purchased from: N/A - gift from a friend (thank you Julie!)

Welcome to Day #7 of Chocolate and Mexico Theme Week, and Day #2 of Chocolate and Nuts Theme Week.

Today's Oscuro 72% Higo Almendra Ahumada Sal de Mar chocolate was from Akbal Chocolate Mexicano aka Akbal Chocolates (Playas de Rosarito Beach, Baja California, Mexico). This attractively packaged* 72% cacao dark chocolate fig almond and sea salt special edition bar was made from bean-to-bar in Mexico.

Dried fig and nuts naturally complement dark chocolate very nicely. Add a balanced hint of sea salt and a trace of smoke, and I'm sold.** The dark chocolate was relatively uniform and smooth and not too sweet (thank you!).

*Art on packaging was from Ronaldo Glaubitz

**Ingredients: Cacao, azucar (sugar), higo (fig), almendra ahumada (smoked almond(s)), sal de mar (sea salt).

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Akbal Chocolate Mexicano - Chocolate Oscuro Almendras (bar) - Mar. 29, 2020

Chocolate of the Day:

Akbal Chocolate Mexicano
100% Cacao - Chocolate Oscuro Almendras (bar)
Good - Good +
Weight: .97 oz. (27.5 g.) / 1.94 oz. (55 g.) in total bar
Calories: 110 calories (per label) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $ unknown - gift from a friend 
Purchased from: N/A - gift from a friend (thank you Julie!)

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate and Mexico Theme Week, and Day #1 of Chocolate and Nuts Theme Week.

Today's Chocolate Oscuro (Dark) Almendras (Almonds) (bar) was from Akbal Chocolate Mexicano (aka Akbal Chocolates) located in Playas de Rosarito, Baja California, in Mexico.

The smell of a 100% cacao bar can be very different from the taste one's brain is expecting. Most of this difference can be explained by the lack of sugar or sweeteners.

However, there was no schism or shocking split between aroma and expected flavor with today's ultra-dark chocolate that was made from bean-to-bar in Mexico.

The aroma of this 100% cacao bar was fairly light, with roasted notes. And the flavor was also relatively mild, with a balanced, roasted bitterness. Whole almonds added crunchy, nutty texture and flavor and a welcome, relative sweetness that mellowed the bitterness.

*The three ingredients listed for this bar were: pasta y manteca de cacao, almendras (cacao paste, cacao butter, almonds)




Mexican Chocolate Avocado Mousse - Mar. 28, 2020

Chocolate of the Day:

Mexican Chocolate Avocado Mousse
Good +
Weight: 3 oz. (85 g.) (estimate) in 1 serving
Calories: unknown 
Cost: $ N/A - multiple ingredients (some old, some new)
Purchased from: N/A - multiple sources

Bienvenidos a (welcome to) Chocolate Banquet. Today we celebrated Day #5 of Chocolate and Mexico Theme Week with a Mexican-themed chocolate mousse,* made with a blend of ingredients native to Mexico, including: cacao, avocado, vanilla, honey, allspice, and a touch of chili powder.

Melted 81% dark chocolate and cocoa powder provided rich chocolate flavor, and vanilla extract and ground allspice brightened up the deep dark flavor a bit. Ripe avocados added creamy texture; and a few spoonfuls of milk of one's choice, or even ice cream, can enhance this further.

These ingredients were blended together to make a creamy, flavorful, honey-sweetened mousse. (The Maya and Aztec peoples may have used honey from stingless bees as a sweetener or dessert. I couldn't find any stingless bee (Melipolini/Melipona) honey. I used organic honey from honeybees.

Nuts and seeds (peanuts, pecans, pinon nuts and squash seeds) from Mexico would also be suitable, authentic garnishes for this dessert.

*A pudding is generally cooked, whereas a mousse is not. Several recipes call for using a piping bag to apply a mousse like this to a plate or a bowl, as it does make it much more attractive looking. (While it sounded unnecessary, it really does make this dessert look much more appetizing.)

Friday, March 27, 2020

Original Beans - Zoque 88% "Spirited" Dark Chocolate (bar) - Mar. 27, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

Original Beans B.V. 
Zoque 88% "Spirited" Dark Chocolate (bar)
Good + - Good ++
Weight: 1.23 oz. (35 g.) / 2.46 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 205 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $7.95 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocosphere.com, online order

Hola y bienvenidos (Hello and welcome) to Day #4 of Chocolate and Mexico Theme Week.

Today's Zoque 88% "Spirited" Selva Zoque, Mexico, Dark, Organic, Vegan (bar) was from Original Beans B.V. (Amsterdam, The Netherlands). This chocolate had bold earthy, dried fruit (dried fig, dried banana), and slightly bitter flavor and finish. I enjoyed the lack of sugar; although some might like a pinch more cane sugar to brighten this up. Tasting notes on the package read: tropical lychee and coconut.

The ultra-dark chocolate was made using Tabasqueño cacao, and supports local Zoque and Tzotzil tribes--who live largely in the states of Tabasco and Chiapas in Mexico, and who have had some relationship with cacao for approximately 4,000 years.



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