Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Barlovento Chocolates - 64 percent Venezuela Red Salt bar - Sept. 2, 2015

Chocolate of the Day: 

Barlovento Chocolates
64 percent Venezuelan Chocolate + Haleakala Red Sea Salt bar
Good - Good +
Weight: 1.2 oz. (33.96 g.) (estimate) in 1 bar
Calories: 180 calories (estimate) in 1 bar
Cost: $3.50 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Zombie Runner, Palo Alto, CA

Today was Day #1 of Chocolate and Venezuela Theme Week.

Last week I featured seven bars containing salt. The salt theme lingers this week with a series of four bars made from Venezuelan cacao this week, "seasoned" with different types of salt.

The first bar of this series was today's 64 percent cacao bar that had small crystals of Haleakala Red Sea Salt embedded in it. It had a relatively mild cocoa flavor. Even so, the nuances of the Hawaiian red salt flavors were hidden a bit by the chocolate (as is often the case). However, the salt crystal size and distribution was very well balanced for the bar.

This small, simply packaged bar was made locally by San Francisco Bay Area chocolatier, Barlovento Chocolates (Oakland, CA). Barlovento Chocolates makes bars, truffles and confections using chocolate from the Careneros region (East of Caracas) in Venezuela.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Santosha - Rhodiola and Hawaiian Red Salt bar - Sept. 1, 2015

Chocolate of the Day:

Santosha Chocolate
Rhodiola and Hawiian Red Salt bar
Good
Weight: 1 oz. (29 g.) (per label) in 1 bar
Calories: 120 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $ unknown
Purchased from: Piazza's Fine Foods, Palo Alto, CA

Today was the final day of Chocolate and Salt Theme Week.

There are many different types of edible salts. I'm closing this week with a Santosha Chocolate Rhodiola and Hawaiian Red Salt bar (produced by Raw Shakti Chocolate LLC in Asheville, NC) that contained a special salt from Hawaii.

Hawaii is known for its Red and/or Alaea salt, black lava salt, and pink salts. The cacao in today's bar came from South America, but the salt in this Rhodiola and Hawaiian Red Salt bar was all Hawaii.

Hawaiian Red Salt contains dozens of minerals and has been used by Hawaiians for years in ceremonies, and as an edible salt. The red color (iron oxide) and high mineral content comes from local red alaea volcanic clay, that is sometimes "baked" into salt.

What is Rhodiola?

The organic rhodiola root in today's raw, vegan and organic bar is sometimes referred to as "nature's anti-depressant," and some believe it supports adrenal function, improve energy and even sexual vitality.* I don't know about all that, but it's always fun to try something new paired with chocolate.

Today's certified Organic bar contained raw coconut which has a fairly distinctive flavor. Not having tasted rhodiola root before it was difficult to tell where the root flavor begun and the raw coconut left off.

The bar was free of nuts, soy, dairy and gluten, and GMO free; and it contained no emulsifiers, fillers and cane sugar. Organic coconut palm sugar was used instead of cane or beet sugar.

The stoneground raw chocolate base (plus flavor additions) had a slightly different melt and texture, but that didn't bother me that much. The chocolate was made from fairtrade, organic, raw heirloom variety beans from Peru.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.






Monday, August 31, 2015

Simply Enjoy - Toffee & Sea Salt Dark Chocolate bar - Aug. 31, 2015

Chocolate of the Day: 

Simply Enjoy
Toffee and Sea Salt Belgian Dark Chocolate bar
Good
Weight: 1.34 oz. (38 g.) / 3.5 oz. (100 g.) in total bar
Calories: 210 calories in 3 squares of bar
Cost: $1.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Today was Day #6 of Chocolate and Salt Theme Week.

Today's Simply Enjoy Toffee and Sea Salt Belgian Dark Chocolate bar (distributed by Foodhold U.S.A., LLC in Landover, MD) was made with UTZ* Certified cocoa.

This dark chocolate (57% cocoa solids) bar was filled with crispy crunchy butter toffee bits and a hint of sea salt.

*UTZ Certified is a large program (and label) for sustainable growing of coffee and cocoa that provides education to farmers on how to grow "better crops" through farm practices and management, as well as education about the environment. It was founded by Belgian-Guatamalan Nick Bocklandt, in 2002 for coffee growing and was later expanded (2007) to include cocoa. UTZ Certified is a non-profit organization based in Amsterdam (Netherlands). 

While producers don't have to pay the higher costs associated with Fairtrade and other certifications (which can be too high for farmer co-ops and smaller companies), the organization does not have as their primary goal guaranteeing of higher prices for farmers.


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Cemoi - Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Crystals bar - Aug. 30, 2015

Chocolate of the Day: 

Cemoi Chocolatier Francais
Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt Crystals bar
(Chocolat Noir Fleur de Sel)
Good
Weight: 1.413 oz. (40 g.) in 4 squares / 3.52 oz. (100 g.) in total bar
Calories: 210 calories in 4 squares of bar
Cost: $1.49 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Today was Day #5 of Chocolate and Salt Theme Week.

As a flavor addition to chocolate bar, salt can be incorporated in at least three different ways. Salt crystals can be layered on the front, or back, of a chocolate bar. Salt can be broken down and homogeneously blended with chocolate. Or, whole crystals can be embedded within a bar.

Today's 47% cocoa Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt Crystals (Chocolat Noir Fleur de Sel) bar, from the French company Cemoi* (Perpignan, France), falls into this third category.

This bar had a faint cocoa aroma and smooth texture -- punctuated with an occasional crunch from a sea salt crystal, followed by a tiny spark of intense salt flavor.

*The Cemoi brand was created in 1919 in Grenoble, France by Felix Cartier-Million. Georges Poirrier bought the company in 1981 and took the Cemoi brand as the name for the new company.










Saturday, August 29, 2015

Steve's Ice Cream - Chocolate Salty Caramel - Aug. 29, 2015

Chocolate of the Day: 

Steve's Ice Cream
Chocolate Salty Caramel - Dairy Free Ice Cream
Good
Weight: 1/4 cup (53 g.) / 1 Pint (473 mL) in total container
Calories: 135 calories in 1/4 cup serving
Cost: $2.99 for 1 container
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Today was Day #4 of Chocolate and Salt Theme Week.

Steve's Ice Cream (Brooklyn, NY) has produced several rich, creamy ice creams. This was the first Steve's offering I've tried that wasn't technically ice cream.

Today's Chocolate Salty Caramel dairy-free, frozen dessert was made with organic cane sugar and coconut cream, as well as organic cocoa.

Swirls of flowing, salty caramel ran through this light cocoa-colored "ice cream" -- the salt was part of a relationship with Jacobsen Salt Co. and Steve's pursuit of unique, quality mix-ins.

This frozen dessert was relatively free of allergens. It was gluten free, egg free, soy free -- and GMO free. Hats off to Steve's Ice Cream for creating some good alternatives.

The only ingredient that wasn't a favorite for me in this frozen dessert was pea protein. It has a fairly strong, distinctive flavor. Granted, if you remove dairy, soy and nut options, the Non-GMO protein possibilities are limited.  

Friday, August 28, 2015

Sulpice Chocolat - Salt and Almonds Milk Chocolate Bar - Aug. 28, 2015

Chocolate of the Day: 

Sulpice Chocolat
Salt and Almonds Milk Chocolate bar
Good - Good +
Weight: .92 oz. (26 g.) / 2.3 oz. (65 g.) in 1 bar
Calories: 134 calories in 2/5 bar
Cost: $0.99 (estimate)
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Today was Day #3 of Chocolate and Salt Theme Week.

This Salt and Almonds Milk Chocolate bar from Sulpice Chocolat (Barrington, IL) was sealed in a gold inner wrapper.

I like attractive design and packaging. However, effective packaging also prolongs freshness. Hand-crafted and folded paper and foil wrappings are nice to look at, but they don't do as much to preserve freshness as sealed wrappers. Today's bar simply tasted fresher.

This Non-GMO and Gluten Free milk chocolate bar also had a pleasing design on the bar itself. Drizzles of pink and orange cocoa butter "paint" were splashed across the top of this "hand-painted artisan chocolate" bar.

The chocolate itself was thick creamy milk chocolate with a fairly soft "bite." Soy lecithin gave it a very slightly gummy chew, but it was not nearly as bad as some bars in this respect.

The salt was enjoyably uniform throughout the bar without being overly salty; and the salt helped balance sweetness. I couldn't really taste any almonds. They could have been in very tiny bits.




Thursday, August 27, 2015

Salazon Chocolate - Organic Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt and Turbinado Sugar bar - Aug. 27, 2015

Chocolate of the Day:

Salazon Chocolate Co.
Organic Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt and Turbinado Cane Sugar (bar)
Good
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 3 oz. (85 g.) in total bar
Calories: 139.8 calories in 1/3 bar
Cost: $3.99 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: Sprouts, Mountain View, CA

Today was Day #2 of Chocolate and Salt Theme Week.

I enjoyed seeing and tasting the sparkles of sugar and salt pressed into the back of today's bar from Salazon Chocolate Co. (Eldersburg, MD) -- a maker of organic, single origin bars with salt.

Salazon founders enjoy being out of doors, and a bar with a little salt helps replenish sodium on a long hike. I'm a hiker too, and I appreciate that sentiment. Chocolate bars with salt also taste good. Salt can complement chocolate and help balance sweet, bitter and other flavors.

The company founders also decided to give back. A percentage of proceeds from this bar go to support the Pacific Crest Trail Association. I'm happy to support good causes by eating chocolate.

Today's Organic Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt and Organic Turbinado Cane Sugar (bar) had smooth cocoa notes, and just the right amount of sugar and salt texture and flavor for my taste.






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