Thursday, January 10, 2013

Odwalla - Dark Chocolate Chip Walnut bar - January 10, 2013

Chocolate of the Day: 

Odwalla, Inc.
Dark Chocolate Chip Walnut - Fiber Bar
Weight: 2 oz. (56 g.) in 1 bar
Calories: 220 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $0.99
Purchased from: Miki's Farm Fresh Market, Palo Alto, CA

Today was Day #3 of Chocolate, Seeds and Berries Theme Week. Featured in an all California product line-up today: Dark Chocolate Chip Walnut Fiber Bar from Odwalla, Inc. (Half Moon Bay, CA, with a plant in Dinuba, CA). Also included today as a companion dish: a raspberry yogurt sundae.

The Odwalla fiber bar was "made with fruit and whole cereal grains." The good news for those eating gluten free: no wheat or barley. The bar is made with plenty of oats (rolled oats, oat fiber, organic oat flour); and it contains flaxseed, as well as plum and date purees. I found it to be chewy, without being too dry.

The semisweet chocolate chips took a backseat to the other flavors and textures, which was fine in this case. I enjoyed the fact that the bar was not overly sweet (not too much brown rice syrup). The fiber in the oats left me feeling satisfied.

Thank you to Odwalla for their "No GMO" choice on this bar, and for including organic fruits and grains where possible (36% organic ingredients in this bar).

As a complement to this dark chocolate chip bar, I enjoyed a Straus organic, nonfat Greek yogurt sundae -- topped with organic Seedless Red Raspberry (gluten-free) fruit spread from Santa Cruz Organics and a few organic, fresh red raspberries. Who says healthy food doesn't taste good?

Note: Odwalla also produces a Berries GoMega juice smoothie, with Omega 3 from flaxseed, (and a Berries GoMega bar), that would be berry nice companion(s) to the Dark Chocolate Chip Walnut bar.

Recchiuti - Sesame Nougatine bar - January 9, 2013

Chocolate of the Day:

Recchiuti Confections
Sesame Nougatine bar
Weight: 1.5 oz. (45 g.) / 3 oz. (90 g.) total bar
Calories: 250 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $5.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Paradise Foods, Corte Madera

Today was Day #2 of Chocolate, Seeds and Berries Theme Week.

I'm from California, and am proud to live in the "land of fruit and nuts." I lived elsewhere for a time. However, I was never so happy as when I returned home and had access to fresh produce again, from  trees in yards, nearby markets, or the occasional road stand.

Even better, has been the access to so many items -- such as seeds and berries -- that grow in the Golden State that combine so nicely with chocolate.

Sesame seeds grow in the Middle East, Asia, and elsewhere, and can be used for either sweet or savory foods. They appear in desserts and dishes from many different cultures in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Today I tried a dark milk chocolate, Sesame Nougatine bar, from Recchiuti Confections (San Francisco, CA)*, a variation on Recchiuti's Sesame Nougatine Truffle.

Bursts of toasted sesame seed clusters, cooked with cane sugar and sea salt (fleur de sel), poked out of this bar. The chocolate was fairly smooth -- no strong or acidic notes; however, the initial flavor (bites of chocolate without sesame seeds) was not quite what I expected. It could have been the vanilla extract I was tasting.

I enjoyed the slightly crunchy areas of sesame nougatine. The sweet and salty flavors were subtle and well balanced.

The fresh raspberries and blackberries that I paired with this bar seemed to improve the overall taste of the chocolate.

*Note: Michael Recchiuti and crew operate a "Chocolate Lab" in San Francisco. Watch for a future write-up or on this Lab location and tasting space. 

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