Thursday, January 15, 2015

SunRidge Farms - Wild Ginger Harvest mix - Jan. 16, 2015

Chocolate of the Day: 

SunRidge Farms
Wild Ginger Harvest mix
Good - Good +
Weight: 1.06 oz. (30 g.) / 8 oz. (227 g.) in total package
Calories: 120 calories in 1 serving (per packaging)
Cost: $5.99 for 1 package
Purchased from: Piazza's Fine Foods, Palo Alto, CA

Trail mixes are great for hikes, trips or snacks on the go. I often load mine up with nuts (some toasted, some raw), seeds, chocolate, fruits, a pinch of savory salt and/or a hint of cinnamon.

Today's Wild Ginger Harvest Mix from SunRidge Farms (Santa Cruz, CA) seemed like a good choice, as I contemplated a drive down the rugged Pacific coast dotted with small farms and wild birds.

The mix was full of flavorful, natural-tasting (no preservatives, sulphur dioxide, artificial colors or preservatives) ingredients: chocolate chips, candied ginger, tamari* almonds, cranberries, papaya, roasted cashews, and an occasional sparkle of pineapple and apricot.

This blend delivered lots of satisfying chewy, sweet dried fruit texture and flavor, and some crunchy, nut taste. Generous chunks of ginger provided zingy bursts of sweet heat. The ingredients all meshed well together. While chocolate chips were listed as the first ingredients, the concentrated flavor of the dried fruit and ginger dominated the mix.

In my homemade version of this mix, I generally opt for a little less dried fruit and a few more nuts (walnuts in this case), to give the nuts and chocolate more of a chance to shine, and to cut the sweetness a little. But, that's the beauty of any good trail mix -- it's easier to customize or tweak to one's liking than a finished chocolate bar or confection. And a trail mix doesn't melt as fast as pure chocolate if left in the sun.

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

*Note: there may be very small amount of wheat in the tamari sauce.

Sulpice Chocolat - Ginger and Lemon bar - Jan. 15, 2015

Chocolate of the Day: 

Sulpice Chocolat
Ginger and Lemon bar
Good - Good +
Weight: .92 oz. (26 g. )/ 2.3 oz. (65 g.)
Calories: 135 calories (estimate) in 2/5 bar
Cost: $4.49 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Draegers, San Mateo, CA

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

Ginger is one of my favorite spices to blend with chocolate. And ginger, lemon and chocolate are wonderfully universally on their own --- they can work in either sweet or savory dishes.

So, today's Non-GMO and Gluten-Free, Ginger and Lemon Dark Chocolate bar from Sulpice Chocolat (Barrington, IL) felt like a natural choice of blended flavors.

This attractively hand-painted bar had a very faint chocolate and ginger aroma and broke with a hard snap (a sign of a good temper). It was very smooth in both flavor and texture.

Chocolate ginger and lemon flavors were uniformly melded together; and the bar had an almost creamy texture perhaps due to some additional cocoa butter and soy lecithin, an emulsifier. (Fortunately, not so much of the latter -- which can sometimes result in a gummy-creamy mouthfeel I find.)

The company name -- Sulpice Chocolat -- is named after Sulpice Debauve, an influential Frenchman who opened a chocolate shop in 1800, and became the official purveyor of chocolate to the Royal Court of France.

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