Thursday, May 31, 2012

ChocolateBet: May 31, 2012

Chocolate of the Day: 

Amy's Kitchen Inc.
Andy's Candy - Crunchy bar
Good +
Weight: 1.5 oz. (43 g.)
Calories: 220 calories
Cost: $2.79
Purchased from: Country Sun Natural Foods, in Palo Alto, CA

Amy's new Crunchy English Toffee with Almonds in Dark Chocolate bar was part of a new line of Andy's Candy bars. (According to the label, the name was a tribute to Amy's father, Andy.) The package contained two smaller bars or pieces, making it easy to share -- assuming you share chocolate.

The dark chocolate coated bar(s) were filled with a thick section of crunchy toffee with small bits of almond. It was good, and crunchy as advertised, although a little sweeter than what I prefer these days. It will be just right for someone with a sweet tooth who enjoys toffee or caramel.

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

ChocolateBet: May 30, 2012

Chocolate of the Day: 

Earthsource Organics
Righteously Raw
Rose Bar - Maqui
Good +
Weight: .77 oz. (22 g.) in 1/3 bar / 2.3 oz. (66 g.) total bar
Calories: 120 calories in 1/3 bar
Cost: $5.79
Purchased from: Country Sun Natural Foods, in Palo Alto, CA

A bite of this Righteously Raw Rose Bar from Earthsource Organics (San Diego, CA), revealed layers of flavor -- first, red raspberry powder, then a hint of roses, as part of an interesting truffle "superfood" filling that contained maqui berry powder.

The Rose Bar was gluten, soy and dairy free with no refined sugar; it was sweetened with agave nectar instead. The bar's taste and rosey pink color (brightened a bit by red beet powder) came from rose hips, pink rose powder and Palma Rosa oil. Other organic ingredients included brown rice powder and coconut oil. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

ChocolateBet: May 29, 2012

Chocolate of the Day:

Sacred Chocolate
India Sunset
Good +
Weight: 1.44 oz. (40.8 g.) total bar
Calories: 216 calories (estimate)
Cost: $7.95 (estimate)
Purchased from: Rosie's Roses, in San Francisco, CA

Today's 61% cacao, heart-shaped "India Sunset" bar, wrapped in shimmering orange, was made by Sacred Chocolate (San Rafael, CA). This smooth, stone-ground, raw and organic chocolate had hints of coconut, maple and saffron.

I found this bar at Rosie's Roses, in San Francisco, CA.

Monday, May 28, 2012

ChocolateBet: May 28, 2012

Chocolate of the Day: 

Chocolate Dipped Cookies
Weight: .35 oz. (10 g.) / 5.3 oz. (150 g.) total package of 16 cookies
Calories: 50 calories in 1 cookie per label
Cost: $4.99 total package
Purchased from: Raley's in Newark, CA

Today's gluten and wheat-free Chocolate-Dipped Cookies came from Schar (Germany/New Jersey). Imprinted with an image of a rising sun on the top, and coated with chocolate on the underside, these preservative free cookies still tasted fresh even though I'd purchased them several months ago. I had kept them sealed in my chocolate vault.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

ChocolateBet: May 27, 2012

Chocolate of the Day: 

Peanut Butter Swirl Drinking Chocolate Mix
Very Good
Weight: 2 oz. (56 g.) / 14 oz. (379 g.) total bag
Calories: 300 calories (estimate) in 2 oz. mix serving
Cost: N/A - sample
Purchased from: N/A - sample from National Peanut Board, Fancy Food Show, San Francisco, CA

Ground, lightly roasted Virginia peanuts and peanut butter, ground chocolate, and cocoa. I combined this gluten free, Peanut Butter Swirl Drinking Chocolate Mix from Choclatique (Los Angeles, CA) with small amount (3-4 oz.) of hot water, and stirred. The result: a drinking chocolate that tasted like a velvety version of melted chocolate peanut butter cups, and that was silky soft as pudding. This was drinking chocolate I could eat with a spoon, or use as a topping.

Thank you to the National Peanut Board for this sample. A larger 2-pound bag of this mix is available at the Choclatique website.

Today was Day #11 of Chocolate Beverage Theme Week. 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

ChocolateBet: May 26, 2012

Chocolate of the Day:

Coastal Cocktails Inc.
Indulge Hot Cocoa Set
Good - Good+
Weight: 1 oz. (28 g.) mix in 1 bag/ 8 fl. oz. for beverage with marshmallows
Calories: 100 calories + 30 calories for marshmallows = 130 calories
Cost: $9.99 for set that included mug
Purchased from: Bed Bath and Beyond, Mountain View, CA

Today was Day #10 of Chocolate Beverage Theme Week.

It was a little cool and cloudy out, and I was feeling lethargic. So, a mug of instant hot cocoa with mini marshmallows hit the spot.  I added boiling water, and I had the whole hot chocolate experience in less than 1 minute.

This "Indulge" set, designed and distributed by Coastal Cocktails (Irvine, CA), came complete with one mug, one packet of marshmallows, and two packets of hot cocoa mix. (It's always good to have a spare or share packet on hand.)

ChocolateBet: May 25, 2012

Chocolate of the Day: 

Harry London
Dark Chocolate Espresso
Good - Good +
Weight: 0.42 oz. (12 g.) 1 piece
Calories: 63 calories (estimate)
Cost: $ N/A - sample
Purchased from: N/A - sample

What does a chocolate breakfast look like? Well, this morning it consisted of a small, hot cup of espresso (with milk and melted chocolate shavings whipped into it), and one individually-wrapped piece of Espresso Dark Chocolate (70% cocoa), from Harry London (North Canton, OH).

Today was Day #9 of Chocolate Beverage Theme Week. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

ChocolateBet: May 24, 2012

Chocolate of the Day:

Emmi Roth USA, Inc.
Caffe Latte - Mocha
Good - Good+
Weight: 3.85 fl. oz. (115 mL) / 7.7 fl. oz. (230 mL) total container
Calories: 85 calories
Cost: $1.99 total container
Purchased from: Safeway, Palo Alto, CA

Today was Day #8 of Chocolate Beverage Theme Week; and this afternoon I choose a pre-dinner pick-me up -- in the form of a gluten-free, chilled Mocha beverage from Emmi (Monroe, WI).

The flavor was fairly smooth, and sweet but without being cloying. The container was packaged for convenient use, with a lid that I used to re-cap this espresso, Swiss chocolate and low-fat milk beverage, when I saved the rest for later.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

ChocolateBet: May 23, 2012

Chocolate of the Day: 

L.A. Burdick Handmade Chocolates
Dark Hot Chocolate
Good + - Very Good
Weight: 1 oz. (28 g.) estimate / 12 oz. (340 g.) total bag
Calories: 120 calories (estimate)
Cost: $34.00 for large bag of cocoa; cup and saucer; metal whisk (set)
Purchased from: L.A. Burdick, Walpole, New Hampshire

Today was Day #7 of Chocolate Beverage Theme Week.

Tonight I savored a small cup of hot chocolate from L.A. Burdick (New Hampshire). This cup was part of a hot chocolate set that included a generously large bag of mix with dark chocolate ("69% - 72% cocoa content") shavings; a customized, L.A. Burdick chocolate cup and saucer; and a small metal whisk.

The best chocolate beverages tend to have a short list of minimally-processed ingredients. In this case, the short list read: cacao beans, sugar and cocoa butter ("may have soy lecithin and vanilla").

This set also included a small gift card with a picture of an L.A. Burdick chocolate mouse with almond ears. These mice are delicious. Just ask the squirrel in my yard who, last year, tunneled into an L.A. Burdick box that had been left on my doorstep in order to excavate and eat said mice. (Eventually I did get some mice of my own to taste, and I concurred with the squirrel's excellent judgement.)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

ChocolateBet: May 22, 2012

Chocolate of the Day: 

Mink Chocolates
No Grumpy
Very Good
Weight: 1.06 oz. (30 g.) /1.76 oz. (50 g.) total bar
Calories: 150 calories in 3/5 bar
Cost: $6.25 + tax
Purchased from: Mink Chocolates, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

This morning I was running around, trying to get things done. I felt much better after taking a break and enjoying some of this "No Grumpy" bar from Mink Chocolates (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) -- a breakfast beverage in solid form.

This organic, dark chocolate bar contained just the right grind of organic espresso -- not too coarse and crunchy, but enough to add a little texture and flavor. The 70% cacao bar base was just right for this blend of two flavorful, dark roasted beans (cacao and coffee) that have much in common.

Today was Day #6 of Chocolate Beverage Theme Week.

Monday, May 21, 2012

ChocolateBet: May 21, 2012

Chocolate of the Day: 

CocoaVia (Masterfoods USA)
Rich Chocolate Indulgence Beverage
Weight: 5.65 fl. oz. (167 mL) in 1 small bottle
Calories: 150 calories in 1 small bottle
Cost: $ info no longer available
Purchased from: info no longer available

Today was Day #5 of Chocolate Beverage Theme Week.

Today's chocolate choice was a small bottle of CocoaVia "Rich Chocolate Indulgence Beverage" from Masterfoods/Mars, that I scooped up to take on a hike at the beach. Nothing like a smooth chocolatey beverage (with added cocoa flavanols and vitamins) in your lunch bag while visiting a fern grotto by the Pacific Ocean, on a gorgeous Spring day with friends.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

ChocolateBet: May 20, 2012

Chocolate of the Day:

Serendipity 3
Frrrozen Hot Chocolate
OK+ - Good
Weight: 6 oz. (170 g.) total dry mix
Calories: 130 calories in 1 serving (1/5 mix)
Cost: N/A - gift
Purchased from: N/A gift - thank you Debbie

I'd heard about the frozen hot chocolate served at Serendipity 3 (New York City) -- a unique blend of coffee shop, ice cream parlor and its very own self. Today I did the next best thing to visiting New York; I made a batch of the packaged version of this Serendipity 3 chocolate beverage. Thank you to Debbie D. who volunteered this packet of Frrrozen Hot Chocolate Mix.

The instructions: pour this mix, a cup of milk, and 2 cups of ice cubes in a blender, and voila! I did end up with about 30 oz. of what looked a lot like a refreshing, chocolate milkshake. (I used part coconut milk.) Had the quality of the cocoa mix been just a notch higher (or perhaps if I'd added some high-end dark chocolate shavings), it would have been even better.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

ChocolateBet: May 19, 2012

Chocolate of the Day: 

Wei of Chocolate
1.) Cafe Wei - espresso infused
2.) Wei Gratitude - chai-infused
3.) Wei Joyful - citrus infused
Weight: .75 oz. (21 g.) for 3 pieces
Calories: 90 calories for 3 pieces
Cost: $2.97 (estimate)
Purchased from: Farm Fresh to You shop in the Ferry Building, San Francisco, CA

These three lovely flower-shaped, foil-wrapped chocolates from Wei of Chocolate (Phoenix, AZ) were infused with different beverage, spice and floral flavors.

The Cafe Wei espresso infusion was very mild. The Chai-infused chocolate (made with 65% cacao) had a warm, gingerbread taste. The Citrus piece (70% cacao) had soft fragrant notes of orange and a hint of orange blossom + rose geranium if I'm not mistaken. (All three pieces contained some flower essences.)

These Wei chocolates were labeled organic, vegan, fair trade, gluten and soy free.

Today was Day #3 of Chocolate Beverage Theme Week. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

ChocolateBet: May 18, 2012

Chocolate of the Day: 

Hot Cocoa - Salted Caramel (mix)
Good +
Weight: 1 oz. (28 g.) in 1 envelope/ 8 oz. (224 g.) in total box
Calories: 120 calories in 1 serving
Cost: $5.99 for 1 box of 8 envelopes
Purchased from: Safeway, in Palo Alto, CA

Today was Day #2 of Chocolate Beverage Theme Week. I mixed up a packet of salted caramel, dark hot cocoa mix from Starbucks (with hot water), stirred, and enjoyed in the comfort of my own home.

Three years ago, I had tried Starbucks seasonal, Salted Caramel Signature Hot Chocolate, made with milk, at a Starbucks location in San Jose, CA. This in-store version was made with 2% milk, and may have been just a bit better...or was that the whipped cream that they generously applied? Hard to remember that far back.

In any case, it was a testament to today's hot cocoa mix that it tasted rich and smooth, even made with hot water instead of the recommended hot milk.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

ChocolateBet: May 17, 2012

Chocolate of the Day:

Hot Chipotle Chocolate
Good + - Very Good
Weight: 1.56 oz. (44 g.) (estimate) for 4 pieces
Calories: 239 calories (estimate) for 4 pieces
Cost: $10.00 for 8-piece box
Purchased from: Rockwall Wine Company, in Alameda, CA

Last week I brought home some new boxes of CocoTutti ( chocolates.

And then, my apologies to CocoTutti, I made a terrible, rookie mistake a few days later -- after trying some of the company's wonderful pieces with liquid caramel centers, and lavender and lemon piece.

I left these on my dining room table under a skylight. And, just a few minutes later, the result was a partial meltdown (see image at right).

The solution: I melted three pieces of "Hot Chipotle Chocolate" (and one piece of "Raspberry - with housemade jam") chocolates in a small cup, and the result was a fantastic, rich drinking chocolate with just the right spicy chipotle kick. While I recommend enjoying these in unmelted form, it's good to know that good chocolates can be enjoyed in beverage or fondue form in an emergency.

Today was Day #1 of Chocolate Beverage Theme Week.

ChocolateBet: May 16, 2012

Chocolate of the Day: 

The Tea Room
Almond Caramel dark chocolate bar
Good + - Very Good
Weight: 1.8 oz. (51 g.) total bar
Calories: 280 calories
Cost: $n/a - sample
Purchased from: Rosie's Roses, in San Francisco, CA

In keeping with other tea infused bars, this relatively new Almond Caramel (organic) dark chocolate bar from The Tea Room (San Leandro, CA), was not oozing with caramel and nuts, but rather was lightly caramel and almond flavored.

I picked up the last Almond Caramel bar left in a beautiful arrangement of Tea Room bars in a basket at Rosie's Roses in San Francisco, CA.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

ChocolateBet: May 15, 2012

Chocolate of the Day: 

Vanilla Bean Caramel
Very Good
Weight: .78 oz. (22 g.) (estimate) for 2 pieces
Calories: 120 calories for 2 pieces (estimate)
Cost: $10 for an 8-piece box
Purchased from: Rock Wall Wine Company, in Alameda, CA

Today I picked two fresh vanilla bean caramels from my backyard garden and... Wouldn't that be great if I could do that? While that's not possible today, I did the next best thing, I enjoyed two Vanilla Bean Caramels from CocoTutti ( based here locally in the San Francisco Bay Area, and powered by Elyce Zahn.

Normally I don't care for very sweet caramels, but I'm happy to make an exception to that rule if the chocolate involves wonderful, liquid caramel like this.

Monday, May 14, 2012

ChocolateBet: May 14, 2012

Chocolate of the Day: 

Sacred Chocolate
Immuno Mushroom bar
Good + - Very Good
Weight: 1.44 oz. (40.7 g.) total bar
Calories: 216 calories (estimate)
Cost: $7.95 for 1 bar (n/a - sample)
Purchased from: Rosie's Roses, in San Francisco, CA

Tucked away in Rosie's Roses (located in the Cannery building near the Fisherman's Wharf area of San Francisco) is a peaceful oasis filled with unique and beautiful flowers and plants, gift baskets, and chocolates.

I picked up two heart-shaped bars from Sacred Chocolate. This evening I enjoyed the company's Immuno Mushroom bar -- which contained 10 different mushrooms and was dairy, gluten and soy-free. This raw bar (not heated above 115 degrees Farenheit) was sweetened with maple rather than cane sugar, and was very smooth in texture. If I'd been tasting this blind-folded, I'm not sure I would've guessed that it contained mushrooms. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

ChocolateBet: May 13, 2012

Chocolate of the Day:

The Dead Fish
Super Sundae
Good + - Very Good
Weight: unknown - large sundae
Calories: 500 calories (guesstimate)
Cost: $n/a
Purchased from: The Dead Fish (restaurant) in Crockett, California

After a full day of hiking and sightseeing in the Carquinez Strait area of Northern California, I had dinner with friends at the Dead Fish (in Crockett, CA). This restaurant offered spectacular views of the Carquinez Strait bridge, and San Francisco Bay. And, in addition to serving up some tasty recently deceased fish, and garlic sage french fries, they offered a full dessert menu.

Last year I sampled The Dead Fish's Chocolate Bomb dessert, and this evening I tried their super-sized, Super Sundae, made with "old time vanilla ice cream, Ghirardelli dark chocolate sauce, walnuts and whipped cream." I gave it my best shot, but was unable to finish this massive sundae.

ChocolateBet: May 12, 2012

Chocolate of the Day: 

Earl Grey
Good + - Very Good
Weight: .39 oz. (11 g.) (estimate)
Calories: 59 calories (estimate) in 1 piece
Cost: $10.00 for 8-piece box
Purchased from: Serendipity, in San Carlos, CA

Nothing beats a nice glass of Earl Grey with lavender iced tea on a hot day, except perhaps this tea with a few individual Earl Grey chocolates from CocoTutti (

Friday, May 11, 2012

ChocolateBet: May 11, 2012

Chocolate of the Day: 

Ginger caramel, peanuts with Thai chili - Very Good +
Weight: .39 oz. (11 g.) (estimate)
Calories: 58 calories (estimate) for 1 piece
Cost: $10.00 for one 8-piece box
Purchased from: Rock Wall Wine Company, in Alameda, CA

I've tried to grow ginger before, as an indoor house plant. If I could grow chocolate and ginger in my backyard, the photo shown (at right) would be what the fruits of this tree might look like.

Today's chocolate from CocoTutti ( was the lower of the pair shown -- a ginger caramel enveloped in chocolate with chopped peanuts and Thai chili. The caramel was perfect, as was the combination of these flavors. (The top chocolate was CocoTutti's "Ginger" chocolate which I will feature later.

Both these pieces were part of a larger assortment box.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

ChocolateBet: May 10, 2012

Chocolate of the Day: 

Lavender Lemon
Very Good
Weight: .39 oz. (11 g.) (estimate) / came in box of 8 pieces
Calories: 59 calories (estimate)
Cost: $10.00 for an 8 pc. box
Purchased from: Rock Wall Wine Company, Alameda, CA

Today's chocolate, from CocoTutti (, packaged up two of my favorite flavors to mix with dark chocolate: lavender and lemon. These two flavors suffused a very creamy and not overly sweet (thank you) ganache. The lemon and lavender, both strong flavors on their own, jockeyed slightly for position for a few seconds, but harmonized quickly.

Unfortunately, some of the other chocolates in this assortment box were hit by a beam of direct sunlight coming from my skylight yesterday afternoon. So, I'll have to go back and get a replacement box to try all the other flavors I missed this time. Not a hardship.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

ChocolateBet: May 9, 2012

Chocolate of the Day: 

L'Amourette Chocolatier
Orange Peel - Chocolat Noir, Zeste D'Orange bar
Good - Good +
Weight: .7 oz. (20 g.) / 3.5 oz. (100 g.) total bar
Calories: 125 calories in 2 squares, or 1/5 bar
Cost: $4.99 total bar
Purchased from: Candy Baron, Pier 39, San Francisco, CA

Today was Day #7 of Chocolate and Orange/Citrus Theme Week.

I enjoyed this gluten-free Dark Chocolate (72% cacao) Orange Peel bar from L'Amourette (San Francisco) two different ways: 1.) plain, glossy dark squares bursting with orange peel, right out of the wrapper, and 2.) grated over gluten-free cinnamon french toast sticks (with cinnamon, and a drizzling of orange flower water, honey and maple syrup).

Both were good.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

ChocolateBet: May 8, 2012

Chocolate(s) of the Day: 

1.) Snake and Butterfly
Belize 67% bar
Good - Good +
Weight: .875 oz. (25 g.) /1.75 oz. (49.5 g.) total bar
Calories: 130 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $5.00 (show price)
Purchased from: Snake and Butterfly table, at Chocolate Salon, in San Francisco, CA

2.) Askinosie Chocolate
White Chocolate Nibby Bar
Good - Good +
Weight: 1.5 oz. (42.5 g.) / 3 oz. (85 g.) total bar
Calories: 250 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $9.00 (estimate) for total bar
Purchased from: The Chocolate Garage, in Palo Alto, CA

Today was Day #6 of Chocolate and Orange/Citrus Theme Week. It's May, the weather is hot, and even though it's not Memorial Day yet, it's OK to wear white -- white chocolate that is, perhaps paired with St. George Spirits Qi White Tea liqueur - flavored with orange with crushed ice.

For a second chocolate and orange iced tea combination, without the alcohol, I brewed up a batch of Good Earth Super Green Tea -- Matcha and Sencha green tea suffused with fragrant orange flavor.

Either version of iced tea is nice for sipping with Snake and Butterfly's dark 67% Belize bar, or Askinosie Chocolate's White Chocolate Nibble Bar - with rich, single origin cocoa butter made using Davao Trinitario cocoa beans from the Philippines.
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