Friday, August 26, 2016

Next by Nature - Dark Chocolate Goji Berries - Aug. 26, 2016

Chocolate of the Day:

Next by Nature
(Tropical Valley Foods)
Dark Chocolate Goji Berries
Good +
Weight: 1.4 oz. (40 g.) / 3 oz. (85 g.) in total package
Calories: 190 calories in 1 serving
Cost: $1.99 for 1 package
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Today I "tasted" the lack of certain ingredients in these chocolates; and that was a good thing. What was missing? Ingredients (and processing) that can mask or dampen authentic flavors, or seem to seek 100% uniformity as a goal.

When eating fruits and other plant-based foods (like chocolate), it's important to have a minimum level of quality and freshness. However, beyond that, slight variations in (and natural unfolding of) flavors are what make many foods more interesting and delicious.

Welcome to Day #19 of Chocolate, Fruit and Botanicals Month.

Next by Nature Dark Chocolate Goji Berries were "produced by Tropical Valley Foods" (Plattsburgh, NY).

Today's small, elongated red berries had hints of mild dried berry fruit, molasses, faint earthiness and almost floral sweetness, and all the true goji flavor and texture that I would have hoped for. I could taste the real fruit and the dark chocolate in this gluten free and well balanced snack (with no additives or preservatives).


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Brookside - Dark Chocolate Goji and Raspberry - Aug. 25, 2016

Chocolate of the Day:

The Hershey Company
Brookside - Dark Chocolate Goji and Raspberry Flavors
Good
Weight: .7 oz. (20 g.) / 7 oz. (198 g.) in total package
Calories: 85 calories in 1/2 serving (8 pieces)
Cost: missing information
Purchased from: missing information



Welcome to Day #18 of Chocolate, Fruit and Botanicals Month, and a transition day from raspberry to goji berry flavors.

These Brookside Dark Chocolate Goji and Raspberry "Flavors" were from The Hershey Company (Hershey, PA) and were made in Canada. The round pieces consisted of "soft fruit flavored centers, covered in smooth dark chocolate."

I would call these chocolate candies. The dark chocolate was very sweet, as were the fruit centers. I have a bias: I like to taste the chocolate and the fruit(s); and I prefer sugar as a light accent flavor.  So (news flash to myself) I probably shouldn't be reviewing most candies.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Gratify - Raspberry Flavored Dark Chocolate Pretzels - Aug. 24, 2016

Chocolate of the Day: 

Osem USA, Inc.
Gratify Foods
Raspberry Flavored Dark Chocolate - Gluten Free Sweet Pretzels
Good
Weight: .7 oz. (20 g.) / 5.5 oz. (156 g.) in total package
Calories: 95 calories in 1/2 serving (5 pretzels)
Cost: $1.99 (estimate) for 1 package
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #17 of Chocolate, Fruit and Botanicals Month.

Today's heart-shaped Raspberry Flavored Dark Chocolate Gluten Free Sweet Pretzels were from Gratify Foods, part of Osem USA, Inc. (Englewood Cliffs, NJ).

Gratify Foods offers a variety of gluten free pretzels (sweet and savory) and crackers.

Gluten baked goods don't always translate well. Thankfully, gluten free pretzels are generally very good, and these today's pretzels provided a hearty, crunchy interior (under a faintly raspberry flavored chocolate coating). And the sea salt on the pretzels balanced the sweetness.


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Chobani Simply 100 - Raspberry Chocolate Twist - Aug. 23, 2016


Chocolate of the Day:

Chobani, LLC
Chobani Simply 100
"Crunch" Raspberry Chocolate Twist
Good
Weight: 4.2 oz. (119 g.) in total container 
Calories: 100 calories in 1 container
Cost: $missing information
Purchase from: Safeway, Palo Alto, CA

Back on Aug. 26, 2013, I featured a Chobani (Norwich, NY) "Bite" 100-calorie offering with raspberry yogurt and chocolate chips. I'm not sure the smaller-sized (3.5 oz. or 100 g.) "Bite" line of flavors are still sold.

Today's newer Select 100 "Crunch" Raspberry Chocolate Twist (yogurt) flavor, also was only 100 calories and had flavors that included raspberry and chocolate. However, today's "Crunch" also contained acai and coconut, giving it a bit more varied texture (creamy, chewy and slightly crunchy).

Raspberry Acai non-fat Greek yogurt was blended with "Raspberry Milk Chocolate and Toasted Coconut."

The two-compartment yogurt snack was naturally sweetened (with monkfruit and stevia) and made from Non-GMO ingredients. The natural sweetener blend was quite good compared to artificial sweeteners or sugar and corn syrup blends of the past.

Today was Day #16 of Chocolate, Fruit and Botanicals Month.







Monday, August 22, 2016

Sjaak's - Dark Chocolate with Raspberry bar - Aug. 22, 2016

Chocolate of the Day: 

Sjaak's Organic Chocolates
Dark Chocolate with Raspberry bar
Good - Good +
Weight: .583 oz. (16.6 g.) / 1.76 oz. (50 g.) in total bar
Calories: 82.3 calories in 1/3 bar
Cost: $2.39 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Country Sun Natural Foods, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #15 of Chocolate, Fruit and Botanicals Month.

Today's filled Dark Chocolate with Raspberry bar from Sjaak's Organic Chocolates (Petaluma, CA) was organic, vegan and made with Rainforest Alliance Certified cacao.

A thick layer of dark chocolate was topped with what tasted like a soft layer of raspberry jam flavored caramel, and topped with another, slightly thinner top layer of dark chocolate. A nice blend of natural flavors.


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Spokandy - Raspberry Chipotle Sea Salt bar - Aug. 21, 2016

Chocolate of the Day:

Spokandy
Raspberry Chipotle Sea Salt bar
Good
Weight: .5 oz. (13.8 g.) / 1.5 oz. (41.53 g.) in total bar
Calories: 70 calories in 1/3 bar
Cost: $3.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Vista House, Crown Point, OR

Welcome to Day #14 of Chocolate, Fruit and Botanicals and the first day of a short series of chocolates with raspberry. (I should add, chili peppers are fruits too.)

Today's Raspberry Chipotle Sea Salt bar was from Spokandy (Spokane, WA).

The bar had a slightly earthy, dark aroma and a relatively buttery/creamy melt. The flavor evolved into a bittersweet/sweet chocolate, with a candy notes finish.  It was adorned with a festive sprinkling of tiny sea salt crystals on the back. The raspberry and chipotle (chili pepper flakes) flavors were very subtle in the few bites I tried.




Saturday, August 20, 2016

Brookside - Summer Berry Crisp Dark Chocolate bar - Aug. 20, 2016

Chocolate of the Day:

The Hershey Company
Brookside Summer Berry Crisp dark chocolate bar
OK
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 3.17 oz. (90 g.) in total bar
Calories: 132 calories (per label) for 1 oz. (28.3 g.) of bar
Cost: $1.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #13 of Chocolate, Fruit and Botanicals Month.

For a dark chocolate bar, this was very sweet—a good example of how dark chocolate can technically be made just as sweet (or moreso) than a milk chocolate bar.

This bar was made with "natural" berry flavors, that tasted a little off, but still conveyed the essence of highly sweetened berries. The attractively packaged dark bar also had a slightly crunchy texture due to the addition of "grain crisps." This bar was not labeled as gluten free, but the grains seemed include brown rice flour, brown sugar and perhaps some corn, and did not seem to include wheat or barley.


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