Sunday, March 17, 2013

Vanilla Espresso Caramels - March 17, 2013

Chocolate of the Day:

Her Coconess Confections
Vanilla Espresso Caramels
Good - Good +
Weight: .375 oz. (10.6 g.) in 1 piece / 1.5 oz. (42.45 g.) total package of 4
Calories: 56 calories (estimate) in 1 piece
Cost: $not available
Purchased from: Serendipity, San Carlos, CA

There was a lot going on today, Sunday, March 17th. It was a sunny, St. Patrick's Day* with green grass and flowers on display. This beautiful day caused me to immediately postpone all other activities, in favor of taking a hike and searching for wildflowers.

A good hike starts with a good breakfast. Along with protein, fruit and vegetables, I included a (gluten free) Vanilla Espresso Caramel from Her Coconess Confections (Belmont, CA), to help kick-start the day.

This fairly intense vanilla bean salt caramel with just a hint of butter, was infused with Italian espresso and covered in 72% cacao dark chocolate. Each piece was topped with a mix of Australian pink flake salt crystals and caramelized cacao nibs. When bitten into, the caramel had just the right "gooey" factor.

Just like today, this caramel had a lot going on. You'd be forgiven if you missed the vanilla, but it did seem to help blend together this group of strong flavors. Sweet, mellow, tropical vanilla, ever the diplomat.

Today was Day #5 of Chocolate and Vanilla Theme Week, and Day #1 of Chocolate and Espresso Theme Week. Vanilla, chocolate and coffee seem to play well together, although the vanilla is often relegated to a supporting role when these three are combined.

*St. Patrick's Day and Chocolate
Saint Patrick's Day is not one of the top chocolate holidays in the U.S. The holy chocolate trinity of Halloween, Easter and Valentines Day all rank ahead of this Irish- and emerald green-themed holiday in chocolate sales and consumption, as do Christmas holidays.

However, chocsimiles (chocolate facsimiles) of four-leafed clovers, pots-of-gold, and leprechauns do exist if you hunt for them -- along with St. Patrick's Day staples such as green beer and  corned beef, cabbage and potatoes.

Chobani bite, vanilla yogurt - March 16, 2013

Chocolate of the Day: 

Chobani, Inc.
"bite" coffee yogurt with dark chocolate chips
Weight: 3.5 oz. (100 g.) in 1 serving / 14 oz. (400 g.) in total 4-pack
Calories: 100 calories for 1 serving
Cost: $3.79 for 4-pack
Purchased from: Safeway, Palo Alto, CA

Today was Day #4 of Chocolate and Vanilla Theme Week.

Everything seemed diminutive about today's coffee yogurt with chocolate chips from Chobani, Inc. (New Berlin, NY). The small size was convenient for a 100-calorie snack on the go, or a lunchbox dessert. (I ate mine for breakfast.) I was happy to see a relatively small list of natural ingredients. The coffee flavor was relatively mild, and the dark chocolate chips were small -- making it easier for me to taste the non-fat, gluten free yogurt at the heart of this product.

I mixed this Chobani "bite" sized coffee and chocolate chip Greek yogurt with a slightly larger (6 oz., 170 g.) container of Chobani Vanilla Non-fat yogurt. In the future, I might sprinkle these yogurts with a pinch of cocoa powder and/or cacao nibs, if I'm in the mood for a little more chocolate flavor.

A Pie Sundae

Greek yogurt is a favorite of mine; but it's hard to compete with ice cream. Later today I was enjoying dinner at a little place known for its pies, when I was offered a special, off-menu, ice cream sundae: made with homemade, fresh ollalieberry pie filling, layered with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. Thank you to Duarte's Tavern and restaurant for this custom-made, gluten-free pie sundae with just the right amount of chocolate and vanilla, and berry pie guts. 
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