Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Trader Joe's - Dark Chocolate Baton 60% Cocoa - Espresso - May 23, 2018

Chocolate(s) of the Day: 

Trader Joe's
Dark Chocolate Baton 60% Cacao - Espresso
Good
Weight: .416 oz. (11.6 g.) / 1.25 oz. (35 g.) in total bar
Calories: 66.6 calories in 1/3 bar
Cost: $0.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Trader Joe's, Mountain View, CA

Trader Joe's
Joe's Dark Coffee Squares
Good
Weight: .353 oz. (10 g.) / 4.9 oz. (140 g.) in total package
Calories: 60 calories in 1 square
Cost: $2.99 for 1 package
Purchased from: Trader Joe's, Mountain View, CA

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

Today we sampled two chocolate and coffee offerings from Trader Joe's (Monrovia, CA): an elongated dark chocolate bar with ground espresso, and Coffee Squares—a clever blend of sugar, cocoa butter, milk, very finely ground coffee and vanilla. What's missing? Cocoa solids. But, you may not notice.

Dark Chocolate Espresso Baton
The (organic, fair trade) 60% Cocoa Dark Chocolate Espresso Baton was segmented into six pieces, and was chock full of coffee/espresso grounds and flavor. Enjoy the caffeinated ride. The chocolate itself was smooth and dark with a quick melt.

Joe's Dark - Coffee Squares
While these squares could certainly pass for milk chocolate, notice the word "chocolate" does not appear in this title. The squares do contain coffee and cocoa butter, but no cocoa solids, as noted above.

No surprise, these squares had a very strong coffee aroma. Intoxicating if you love coffee. A little intimidating for others. The square had a unique, slightly chewy soft melt with a sweet coffee and milk chocolate flavor—followed by a bittersweet edge (from all those coffee solids), and a lingering bittersweet coffee aftertaste.


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Cocoa Republic - Gran Couva 65% Dark Chocolate with Blue Mountain Coffee bar - May 22, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Cocoa Republic
Single Origin Gran Couva 65% Dark Chocolate with Blue Mountain Coffee bar
Good
Weight: .5 oz. (15 g.) / 1 oz. (30 g.) (per label) in total bar
Calories: 88 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $3.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: The Market, Palo Alto, CA

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

This Single Origin Gran Couva 65% Dark Chocolate with Blue Mountain Coffee (Jamaica) bar was from Cocoa Republic (Diego Martin, Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies).

The chocolate makers use only single origin Trinitario* cacao sourced from the Rainforest Alliance Certified, Montserrat Cocoa Farmers Cooperative Society in Trinidad and Tobago. And they make their chocolate "in country."

That is, the chocolate is made in the Caribbean island nation of Trinidad and Tobago (off the coast of northeast Venezuela), where the beans are grown, vs. shipping the beans to North America, Europe or elsewhere.

The Blue Mountain Coffee in this bar came from Jamaica.

Ingredients: Trinidadian cocoa beans, demerara brown sugar, organic cocoa butter, Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee, Non-GMO soy lecithin

The mindfully-sourced chocolate had a slight spice and cocoa aroma which carried over into the flavor. The coffee flavor was very light. It also had a faint taste of sour milk or mold in the piece that was tasted.

*Cocoa Republic described Trinitario cacao as follows: The Trinitario group represents a hybrid collection of types that arose in Trinidad from crossings between mixed Criollo and mixed Forastero types in the late 18th century. There are currently 11 commercial varieties grown in Trinidad and Tobago. This group took the best qualities from each parent plant, resulting in a healthy, sturdy plant with a robust “chocolate” flavour and a range of subtler secondary notes.


Monday, May 21, 2018

Charm School Chocolate - Coconut Milk Mocha bar - May 21, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Charm School Chocolate
Coconut Milk Mocha bar
Good 
Weight: 1.05 oz. (30 g.) / 2.10 oz. (60 g.) in total bar
Calories: 158 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $13.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: The Chocolate Garage, Palo Alto, CA

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

Today's Coconut Milk Mocha bar was from Maryland-based Charm School Chocolate.

Charm School Chocolate makes a line of bean-to-bar, non-dairy, soy free, vegan chocolate bars.

Today's award-winning (2018 Good Food Awards Winner) 47% cacao bar was made with Maya Mountain Cacao grown in Toledo, Belize* and flavored with coffee ("artfully roasted and blended by Quills Coffee, Louisville, KY").

This sweet bar had creamy texture and sweet coffee coconut caramel latte flavor. 

*The Toledo District of Belize is an area rich in cacao farming and cacao history, with Maya people still farming in the same area and style as they have been for centuries. Maya Mountain Cacao (a pioneer in direct trade cacao sourcing) buys beans directly from local farmers and sells quality cacao beans to chocolate makers.




Sunday, May 20, 2018

Taos Mountain Energy Bar - Pinon Coffee bar - May 20 , 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Taos Mountain Energy Bar
Pinon Coffee bar 
Good
Weight: 2.2 oz. (62 g.) in total bar
Calories: 309 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $2.99 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: REI, Mountain View, CA 

Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate and Coffee Theme Week.
Today's Pinon Coffee Gluten Free Non GMO (bar) was created by Taos Mountain Energy Bar (Cuesta, NM).

This energy bar had a welcoming, natural coffee aroma, a soft seedy chew, and a rich, nutty, mocha flavor.* It was sweetened with coconut sugar and honey instead of sugar (thank you), and was much tastier than most mass-produced energy bars. It would be a great snack for a morning hike in the hills.

The company's bars are described as artisan-crafted and outdoor-inspired. And the packaging around today's bar contained a description of White Sands National Monument area in New Mexico.

*Ingredients: Almonds, honey, coconut sugar, pine nuts, dark chocolate, coffee, coconut oil, chia seeds, pure ground vanilla beans, sea salt.











Mars - Crunchy Espresso M&Ms - May 19, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Mars
Crunchy Espresso MandMs
Good
Weight: 1 oz. (28 g.) / 8 oz. (226.8 g.) in total package
Calories: 140 calories in 1 serving
Cost: $4.99 for 1 package
Purchased from: Safeway, Palo Alto, CA

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

Just when we thought we'd sampled every flavor in the pantheon of MandM's chocolate candies, along came today's Crunchy Espresso MandMs from Mars (Hackettstown, NJ).

As the name implied the fillings, inside the candy-coated exterior shells, were lighter, crispier and crunchier than those of classic MandM chocolate candies with a solid milk chocolate core.

The coffee flavor was very mild. These candies included artificial flavors and colorings and may contain gluten (barley malt extract).




Stone Grindz - Coffee and Coconut Milk 55% bar - May 18, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Stone Grindz Chocolate
Coffee and Coconut Milk 55% bar
Good +
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 2 oz. (56.6 g.) in total bar
Calories: 150 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $7.99 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: Stone Grindz, online order

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

Coffee and Coconut Milk 55% bar from Stone Grindz Chocolate (Scottsdale, AZ).

A smooth dark coconut "milk" chocolate base (cacao beans, cane sugar*, cacao butter*) was suffused a slight textural and flavor oomph from ground coffee.

The coconut milk alternative appeals to vegans and others who might like a very subtle rich hint of flavor from coconut. (Some who I shared this with did not taste any coconut, so fear not coconut non-likers.)

Stone Grindz is a small batch chocolate maker. (This bar was labeled "Batch #280" along with an "enjoy by" date.)
beans shipped to the makers workshop in Scottsdale, AZ

*An asterisk denotes an organic ingredient here.




Friday, May 18, 2018

Wild Ophelia - Cold Brew Chocolate Coffee Bites 70% - May 17, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Vosges IP LLC
Wild Ophelia Cold Brew Chocolate Coffee Bites
Good +
Weight: 1.39 oz. (39 g.) in total package of 4 pieces
Calories: 190 calories in 4 pieces (1 package)
Cost: $2.99 (estimate) for 1 package
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

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

Today's Wild Ophelia Cold Brew Chocolate Coffee Bites were related to/created by Vosges IP LLC (Chicago, IL).

I needed a pick-me up this morning. And this confectionery blend of 70% dark chocolate and a sweet, ebony-colored, flowing coffee caramel center did the trick. Bzzzzzzz.






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