Wednesday, July 17, 2013

NibMor Almond bar - July 17, 2013

Chocolate of the Day:

NibMor Group Inc.
Organic Dark Chocolate with Almonds (bar)
Weight: .366 oz. (10.3 g.) in 1/6 bar / 2.2 oz. (62 g.) in 1 bar
Calories: 43.3 calories in 1/6 bar
Cost: $5.39 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Country Sun Natural Foods, Palo Alto, CA

Nibmor Group Inc. (Huntington, NY) makes organic chocolate bars that are notable for what they contain and what they don't.

Today's NibMor Almond bar contained no refined sugar. It was, instead, sweetened with organic agave nectar. Also absent: "dairy, gluten or GMO." This dark chocolate (65% cacao) bar was vegan and kosher, and was "crafted at low temperatures to minimize the loss of valuable nutrients and flavanols."

The bar's texture and consistency gave it an almost rustic style. When I broke off a piece, the bar's snap was clean, but lacked a hard snap sometimes present in bars with a sophisticated tempering process (that requires heating chocolate to higher temperatures first before cooling). The consistency was smooth (helped by cocoa butter and sunflower lecithin), even though particle size seemed relatively large, again likely due to more minimal and low temperature processing to preserve nutrients.

The bar itself had dark richness, and was not too sweet (thank you). The dark cocoa flavor was interspersed with small almond bits.

Today was Day #6 of Chocolate and Almond Theme Week.

Dark Bar with Almond - July 16, 2013

Chocolate of the Day:

Coco Polo
70% Dark with Almond bar
Good - Good +
Weight: .5 oz. (14.1 g.) (estimate) for 1 small sample bar
Calories: 73 calories (estimate) for 1 small sample bar
Cost: N/A - sample bar
Purchased from: N/A - sample bar from Coco Polo

Earlier this year, while attending a show, I was given some small sample bars from Coco Polo (Highland Park, NJ) to try. I've been enjoying working my way through the different flavored bars. One thing all these bars have in common: they are all sweetened with stevia rather than sugar. And,  they all taste well balanced and much better than other artificially sweetened chocolates I've tasted in the past. No funny aftertaste.

Today's "70% Dark with Almond" sample was just the right level of sweet for me. The dark chocolate was satisfying, and there was a pleasant, almost undetectable, malty or cooked grain taste to the bar. The almonds embedded in the bar were crunchy and fresh.

An Ode to Almonds
Almonds add taste and texture, offer health benefits, and can be a great palette cleanser. Who could ask for more from an edible seed/nut?
  • Taste - I have fond childhood memories of the sweet taste of (Peter Paul) Almond Joy and (Hershey's) Milk Chocolate bars with almonds. Crunchy almonds simply tasted great with chocolate (as do almond products such as almond paste or marzipan, almond liqueur, roasted salted and smoked almonds, and almond butter).
  • Health - Almonds also seem to act as a counterweight to sweet things. Perhaps the almond's protein, fat and fiber content help dampen blood glucose spikes that can accompany eating too many sugary sweets. Fortunately, stevia (in Coco Polo bars) doesn't alter blood glucose in the same way that sugar can, but the almonds taste great anyway in today's bar.
  • Palette Cleanser - I bring a bottle of water and some unsalted almonds to chocolate tasting events -- to act as a palette cleanser between several chocolates. Very effective.
So, a toast to almonds this week!

Today was Day #5 of Chocolate and Almond Theme Week.
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