Thursday, October 19, 2017

Parliament Chocolate - Guatelmala Q'Eqchi 70% bar - Oct. 19, 2017

Chocolate of the Day:

Parliament Chocolate
Guatemala Q'Eqchi 70% bar
Good ++
Weight: .85 oz. (24 g.) / 1.7 oz. (48.1 g.) in total bar
Calories: 128 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $4.50 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: Miette, Oakland, CA

Welcome to Day #12 of Chocolate and Halloween wEEKs.

Today's Guatemala Q'Eqchi 70% Cacao bar (Batch #000131) was crafted by Parliament Chocolate, a bean-to-bar maker in Redlands, CA.

The two-ingredient (cacao and cane sugar) bar had a relatively fruity dark chocolate aroma (cherry yogurt, plum/prune with a faint spice and brown sugar note).

The bar had a smooth texture and balanced, complex flavor—with red fruit/berries and light roasted coffee/earth notes.

These bars would be perfect for an up-scale Halloween party. If money were no object, I'd hand out these bars to trick-or-treaters. Contrary to what many adults think, children exposed to great, dark chocolate early on often seem to love it. (Limiting young ones to 1 oz. (28 g.), however, is advisable.)

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Lake Champlain - Organic Almonds and Sea Salt 72% Cocoa - Oct. 18, 2017

Chocolate(s) of the Day: 

Lake Champlain Chocolates
Organic Almonds and Sea Salt 72% Cocoa squares
Good
Weight: 1.2 oz. (33 g.) in three squares
Calories: 180 calories (estimate) in 3 squares
Cost: $2.37 for 3 squares ($0.79 each)
Purchased from: Monterey Market, Berkeley, CA


Welcome to Day #11 of Chocolate and Halloween wEEKs. My own Halloween chocolate plate would be made up of mostly high-end, mostly dark chocolate miniatures.

Today's Organic Almonds and Sea Salt 72% Cocoa squares from Lake Champlain Chocolates (Burlingame, VT) serve as an example of dark chocolates now available in individual or smaller sized pieces.

These squares had an earthy dark chocolate aroma and flavor; with a bit of extra umami* in the form of almond bits and sea salt.
The chocolate had a smooth texture and melt and was relatively creamy/buttery.

If you're willing to pay more, these individually wrapped Organic Almonds and Sea Salt 72% Cocoa squares—and other bean-to-bar and single origin mini bars—also make great Halloween treats.

*Umami flavors come from savory edibles high in glutamate, such as cheeses, meats, mushrooms, tomatoes, soy.






Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Good Day Chocolate - Chocolate with Calm - Oct. 17, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Good Day Chocolate
Chocolate with Calm
Good
Weight: .99 oz. (28 g.) in 1 container
Calories: 140 calories in 1 container
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: missing information

Welcome to Day #10 of Chocolate and Halloween wEEKs.
Today we're featuring a chocolate for older children and adults.

Chocolate with Calm from Good Day Chocolate (Boulder, CO) offers a line of chocolate dietary supplements, geared for different situations.  

Inside the creatively and cleverly designed small package were a handful disc-shaped, purple* coated pieces that contained milk chocolate and "a blend of amino acids and botanicals**" designed "to help you relax."

They tasted like chocolate candies and had no strong, herbal flavors that were objectionable.

Maybe I'll keep some on hand for the hectic holiday season.

*Natural purple coloring came from red cabbage juice

**Calm blend of amino acids and botanicals: Magnesium Oxide, L-theanine, Chamomile, Flower Extract, Oat Straw Powder





TCHO - Galactic Gelato bar - Oct. 16, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

TCHO
Galactic Gelato bar
Good - Good +
Weight: 1.05 oz. (30 g.) / 2.1 oz. (60 g.) in total bar
Calories: 180 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: missing information

Welcome to Day #9 of Chocolate and Halloween wEEKs, where we're transitioning back to the dark side.

Today's Galactic Gelato bar from TCHO (Berkeley, CA) came with the following description: "Mint astronaut gelato floating in spacy dark chocolate."

One could design a Halloween pageant around that theme. Or, one could just sit back and enjoy this dark chocolate mint bar, made with organic fair trade cocoa beans.

The Galactic Gelato bar was made in partnership with an artisan gelato maker—Gelateria Naia (San Francisco, CA). Influenced by high-end chocolate and gelato, the makers of this dark bar folded in bits of freeze-dried astronaut ice cream, yielding cosmic sparkles of creamy mint flavor.

Spooky. I'd almost forgotten what dark chocolate tasted like this month. Traditional Halloween chocolate bars aren't very high in cacao content. It was good to experience authentic dark flavor again. Certified organic and fair trade cacao beans were the first ingredient listed. Hurray.






Sunday, October 15, 2017

Chuao Chocolatier - Caramel Apple Crush bar - Oct. 15, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Chuao Chocolatier
Caramel Apple Crush bar
Good
Weight: 1.4 oz. (40 g.) / 2.8 oz. (80 g.) in total bar
Calories: 200 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $5.95 (estimate) for 1 bar 
Purchased from: CVS/pharmacy

Welcome to Day #8 of Chocolate and Halloween wEEKs.

Another option for Halloween chocolate is to pick an autumn-themed bar, like this Caramel Apple Crush bar from Chuao Chocolatier (Carlsbad, CA).

The inspiration for this bar came from the tangy green apple and buttery caramel in caramel apples. Tiny bits of dried apple and toffee were encased in 41% milk chocolate. The bar had a pleasant premium milk chocolate aroma, and while it was sweet (like a caramel apple might be), the flavor inclusions were balanced and authentic tasting.

This Caramel Apple bar was made with Fair Trade Certified Cocoa, gluten-free and Non-GMO ingredients, and without artificial preservatives, sweeteners, colors and flavors. The bar was also Kosher Certified.

This bar is also available for trick-or-treaters in mini bar size (along with the company's Baconluxious, Orange-A-Go-Go and Potato Chip bars).


Saturday, October 14, 2017

This Bar Saves Lives - Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Sea Salt bar - Oct. 14, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

The Bar Saves Lives
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter and Sea Salt bar
Good - Good +
Weight: 1.4 oz. (40 g.) in total bar
Calories: 190 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: missing information

Welcome to Day #7 of Chocolate and Halloween wEEKs.

Candy bars and confections still rule Halloween. So this week we've been focusing on a range of traditional, healthy, updated and other versions of traditional chocolate candy bars.

Another variation is...the chocolate candy bar with a social purpose. Today's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter and Sea Salt bar was from This Bar Saves Lives (Culver City, CA).

It was gluten free, dairy free, non-GMO, and made with Fair Trade Cocoa; and it had a chewy, slightly crunchy satisfying texture and taste.

This bar also, as the name implied, had a social purpose: "Buy a Bar. Feed a Child. Healthy Snacking," read the taglines. The company uses proceeds from their bar sales to make and send food aid packets to children around the world (Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Mexico).


Friday, October 13, 2017

Amy's - Andy's Dandy Candy Dreamy bar - Oct. 13, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Amy's Kitchen Inc.
Andy's Dandy Candy - Dreamy bar
Good
Weight: 1.75 oz. (50 g.) in 1 package of 2 bars
Calories: 200 calories in 1 package
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: missing information

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate and Halloween wEEKs. And happy spooky* Friday the 13th to you.

We've been examining traditional candy bars and healthier alternatives this week. And, healthier means different things to different people.

Today's Andy's** Dandy Candy Dreamy bar was from Amy's Kitchen Inc. (Petaluma, CA). While similar to a traditional candy bar in appearance, it's been substantially improved (and I would say it was healthier too).

The vegan Dreamy bar contained no 1.) high fructose corn syrup, 2.) preservatives or 3.) GMOs. Several companies have made a move away from the first two, not so much with the third.

Also, the bar was made with organic dark chocolate and real cocoa butter. (Much of the chocolate used in traditional candy bars is milk chocolate and often contains vegetable oils in place of cocoa fat/dairy butter, and a very low percent of cocoa solids—barely qualifying as chocolate in some cases. Beware when you see the term "chocolately.")

Amy's updated take on candy bars shows how this market has evolved. Their bars are gluten free, vegan and 98% organic ingredients, and can still satisfy a sweet tooth (via organic cane sugar and tapioca syrup).

It was sweet; but the high sugar contain (found in almost all nougat-centered candy bars) was also balanced by the use of dark chocolate and the addition of soy protein. The two smaller bars in one package made sharing and portion control easier (100 calories in each bar).

There were no dairy, wheat, gluten, or nut ingredients listed; but the packaging did contain the: "May contain traces of tree nuts" statement.

*Scarier than Halloween or Friday the 13th this week are the real life wildfires that are burning around some of the Amy's facilities in Northern California. I called to convey good thoughts, and as of this writing the facilities were fine, although many employees were being affected. 

** The name Andy's Dandy Candy came from Andy and Rachel Berliner. who founded the original company in 1987 and named it after their daughter, Amy. The privately-held, family business has grown over the years and produces a line of frozen foods, entrees, soups, and chocolates that offer consumers organic, gluten free and low-sodium options.


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