Thursday, December 14, 2017

Godiva - Dark Chocolate Blood Orange bar - Dec. 14, 2017

Chocolate of the Day:

Godiva
Dark Chocolate Blood Orange bar
(Chocolat Noir A L'Orange Sanguine) bar
Good
Weight: 1.03 oz. (30 g.) / 3.1 oz. (90 g.) in total bar
Calories: 147 calories in 1/3 bar
Cost: $1.99 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, CA

Welcome to Day #2 of Chocolate, Fruit and Nuts Theme Week.

Some chocolate and fruit combinations seem to beg for the addition of nuts, and vice versa some chocolate and nut blends are great with fruit(s).

I felt compelled to pair today's Dark Chocolate Blood Orange bar from Godiva Chocolatier, Inc. (New York, NY) with a small handful of sliced California almonds.

The 50% cacao bar had a smooth and even sweet dark chocolate flavor.* And tiny bits of Italian blood orange yielded a rich, high-end Creamsicle** aroma and provided a sweet, slightly tangy citrus sparkle in each bite.

The almonds, orange and chocolate were tres good together. The nuts helped balance out the relatively high level of sugar.

*The bar was made with cocoa processed with alkali (which tends to result in a smoother, less acidic chocolate).

**A Creamsicle was a frozen Popsicle-like treat with an orange ice covering over vanilla ice cream. Now owned by Unilever.








Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Sahale Snacks - Banana Pecan with Cocoa Nibs & Cinnamon bar - Dec. 13, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Distributed by Sahale Snacks
Banana Pecan with Cocoa Nibs and Cinnamon Bar
Good - Good +
Weight: 1.4 oz. (40 g.) in 1 bar / 5.6 oz. (160 g.) in box of 4 bars
Calories: 200 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $?.?? for 1 box of 4 bars
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #1 of Chocolate, Fruit and Nuts Theme Week.

Today's box of 4 individually-wrapped Banana Pecan with Cocoa Nibs and Cinnamon Bars were distributed by Sahale Snacks (Seattle, WA).

These bars were natural tasting and well-balanced, with a hint of banana bread and nuts. They had a pleasing chew to them (not too soft or too stiff). They had a rich flavor; the first ingredient listed was cashew butter (dry roasted cashews, date paste, brown rice protein).

Despite the sweet ingredients (bananas, dates) and tapioca syrup, caramelized sugar, they were refreshingly restrained in terms of sweetness. The dark chocolate flavor was supplied by cocoa nibs. Again, not too sweet, but flavorful. Light hints of cinnamon and vanilla gave the bar a slight warmth—a nice touch in the cooler months.

The Banana Pecan snack bar contained 5 grams of protein; and it was a satisfying bar for breakfast and as an any-time-of-day snack.


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Praim Confections - Gelt-y Pleasure Dark Chocolate bar - Dec. 12, 2017

Chocolate of the Day:

The Praim Group/Praim, LLC
Gelt-y Pleasure Dark Chocolate bar
Good
Weight: 1.75 oz. (50 g.) / 3.5 oz. (100 g.) in total bar
Calories: 245 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $4.00 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: missing information

Welcome to Day #8 of Chocolate Snacks Theme Week.

This week we've covered a variety of different snack items: protein bars, granola bars and cookies with chocolate, gluten-free snack mixes with chocolate—even an organic, single-serve chocolate mousse.

But, this week wouldn't be complete without a few holiday-related, novelty chocolate items.

Today's Praim Confections Gelt-y* Pleasure Dark Chocolate kosher bar (from The Praim Group/Praim, LLC, Salem, MA) appeared in a local store just in time for Hanukkah (Dec. 12-20 this year).

The outer wrapper was adorned with the drawing of "The Mensch on a Bench"** and images of chocolate gold foil wrapped "coins."

The inner gold foil wrapper contained a fairly mild (chocolate liquor processed with alkali), sweet dark chocolate bar (that contained cocoa butter, milk fat, soy lecithin and vanilla). The bar had even taste and consistency.

**"Mensch on a Bench" is a Registered Trademark of Monkeybar Consulting LLC and is used under license here.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Urban Remedy - Raw Cacao Mousse - Dec. 11, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Urban Remedy
Raw Cacao Mousse
Good ++
Weight: 4.06 oz. (115 g.) in 1 container
Calories: 240 calories in 1 container/package
Cost: $N/A - gift from family member 
Purchaesed from: Draeger's Market, Los Altos, CA

Welcome to Day #7 of Chocolate Snacks Theme Week.

Today's Raw Cacao Mousse from Urban Remedy (Richmond, CA) may be one of the healthier snacks featured this week.

Many popular snack items contain a long list of processed ingredients. Today's mousse, not so much: "Almond milk (filtered water, almond), date syrup, coconut oil, date, cacao powder, vanilla extract, Irish moss, sunflower lecithin, Himalayan pink salt."

For creamy dessert lovers who are unable to eat gluten, dairy or soy and prefer organic foods, Urban Remedy may offer something appealing for you, such as this single serving container* of (refrigerated) organic, creamy and flavorful mousse made with raw cacao and almond milk.

*The container and packaging are made from 100% recycled ingredients. 








Sunday, December 10, 2017

Clif Bar - Luna High Protein Chocolate Walnut Fudge bar - Dec. 10, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Distributed by Clif Bar and Company
Luna High Protein Bar - Chocolate Walnut Fudge
Good
Weight: 1.59 oz. (45 g.) / 9.54 oz. (270 g.) in total box of 6 bars
Calories: 170 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $3.49 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate Snacks Theme Week.

This Luna Chocolate Walnut Fudge bar was Distributed by Clif Bar and Company (Emeryville, CA). The bar was part of the company's High Protein Bar lineup.

The 12 grams of protein in this protein bar was supplied by soy protein isolate, the first ingredient listed (followed by sugar).

The fun flavors of chocolate (cocoa) and nuts (tiny bits of walnut + macadamia nut butter) took a back seat to the soy protein and sugar.  This was a snack bar more serious in its intentions than most. However, protein apparently cut the effects of sugar, as this gluten free bar was also labeled low glycemic.

Spearheaded by Clif Bar and Company co-owner, Kit Crawford, the company launched the Luna product line and initiatives (LunaFest film festival, Luna Chix Pro Team) in 1999. The Luna bar was one of the first nutrition bars marketed to women, and multiple flavors have been created over time.



General Mills - Nature Valley Sweet and Salty Nut bars - Dark Chocolate Peanut and Almond

Chocolate of the Day: 

Distributed by General Mills Sales, Inc.
Nature Valley (Sweet and Salty Nut granola bars)
Dark Chocolate, Peanut and Almond bar
Good +
Weight: 1.24 oz. (35 g.) in 1 bar
Calories: 160 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $N/A - from an event (part of a larger variety box)
Purchased from: N/A - from an event

Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate Snacks Theme Week.

Today's Nature Valley Dark Chocolate, Peanut and Almond bar from General Mills Sales, Inc. (Minneapolis, MN) was surprisingly satisfying, with just the right sweet dark chocolate and nut blend.

It felt lighter and less sweet than a standard chocolate candy bar.

Note: for those who are allergy-prone, this bar (made with partially genetically engineered ingredients) also contained wheat (and barley malt extract) as well as soy, milk and peanut and nut ingredients. At the time of this post, the company also offered at least two bars in their line-up that were gluten-free.


Zemas Madhouse Foods - Mini Ancient Grain Double Chocolate Cookies - Dec. 8, 2017

Chocolate of the Day:

Zemas Madhouse Foods
Mini Ancient Whole Grain Double Chocolate Cookies
Good - Good +
Weight: 1 oz. (28 g.) / 5 oz. (141.75 g.) in total package
Calories: 130 calories in 5 cookies (1 serving)
Cost: $3.99 for 1 package/box
Purchased from: Whole Foods Market, Berkeley, CA

Welcome to Day #4 of Chocolate Snacks Theme Week.

Today's Mini Double Chocolate Cookies were from Zemas Madhouse Foods (Highland Park, IL). They contained both chocolate and cocoa powder, and were based on a gluten-free flour blend* with a "superseed trio of hemp, chia and flax."

The small cookies were fairly crunchy and satisfying, and bore the following certifications: Certified Gluten Free, Certified Vegan and Non GMO Project Certified. They were also free of the top 8 allergens, and were rice free.

Ingredients:
Dried cane syrup (sugar); chocolate; Zema's flour blend (g-free oat flour, teff flour, organic millet flour, organic quinoa flour); palm oil; water; natural cocoa powder; tapioca starch; hemp seeds; flaxseed meal; chia seeds; pure vanilla extract; chocolate extract






Thursday, December 7, 2017

Kind LLC - Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Popped Snack Bites - Dec. 7, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Kind LLC
Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt - Popped Snack Bites
Good
Weight: 1 cup (60 g.) / 6.5 oz. (184 g.) in total package
Calories: 220 calories in 2 servings
Cost: $2.99 for 1 package
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #3 of Chocolate Snacks Theme Week.

Today's Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt Popped Snack Bites were from Kind LLC (New York, NY).  This was a lighter, more thoughtful snack than most.

Whole grain snacks often have a heavier feel to them. However, the crunchy, whole grain snack morsels (bites) in this mix contained popped corn and sorghum; and other ingredients were applied with an equally deft touch resulting in an airier taste and feel.

The hybrid bites were considerably lighter than other oat-based granola snack mixes, and other coated popcorn snacks—often swimming in sugar and salt.

This whole grain (oats, brown rice, sorghum, amaranth, millet, quinoa and buckwheat + popcorn) blend did contain tapioca syrup and smidges of molasses and brown rice syrup, but didn't taste that sweet. (Thank you.) Similarly, the sodium (sea salt) level was a kindly 55 mg. per serving.

What about the chocolate? Semi-sweet chocolate (sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, vanilla extract) was the fifth ingredient listed, but contributed some rich, flavor depth that helped tie together all those grains.



Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Crazy Monkey Baking - Dark Chocolate Chip Granola Cookie Crunch - Dec. 6, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Crazy Monkey Baking, LLC
Dark Chocolate Chip - Granola Cookie Crunch
Good
Weight: 2/3 cup (60 g.) / 7.5 oz. (213 g.) in total package
Calories: 300 calories in 2 servings
Cost: $5.99 (estimate) for 1 package
Purchased from: The Market, Indianapolis, IN

Welcome to Day #2 of Chocolate Snacks Theme Week.

I'm not opposed to mixing animal characters and clever names with chocolate. So, today's Dark Chocolate Chip Granola Cookie Crunch from Crazy Monkey Baking, LLC (Ashland, OH) seemed like a natural item to feature this week.

The only downside: I keep smiling as I imagine a group of manic monkeys flying around a kitchen baking things.

The company makes a few different flavor versions of their Granola Cookie Crunch, but the Dark Chocolate Chip was the original and is, according to the company's website, still the most popular flavor.

These oat and cornmeal based cookie-granola snacks were made with 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips, and evoked the aroma and flavor of home-baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

This tasty snack was uniformly crunchy and good. Some pieces were intact cookie-shaped rounds; and the rest were smaller, more granola-like chunks.

The PocketMonkey measuring device used for scale (see photo to the right) is about 3 1/8-inches (8 cm) long.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Rex's Outrageous, LLC - Road Crew Crunch Peanut Butter Pass Dark Chocolate Detour - Dec. 5, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Distributed by Rex's Outrageous, LLC
(A Portfolio Company of Halen Brands Inc.)
Road Crew Crunch - Peanut Butter Pass + Dark Chocolate Detour
Good
Weight: 2 oz. (56.6 g.) / 16 oz. (454 g.) in total package
Calories: 280 calories in 2 servings
Cost: $4.99 for 1 package
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Hello and welcome to the first day of Chocolate Snacks Theme Week—an investigation of snack bars, confections, mixes, cookies, etc. that contain chocolate.

Today's Road Crew Crunch snack mix was a merge(r) of two different snack flavors: Peanut Butter Pass and Dark Chocolate Detour. Together, you had your choice of dark chocolate and/or milk chocolate covered, crunchy hunks containing peanuts, rice puffs and (gluten free) pretzels.

The snack market in the U.S. covers a wide variety of packaged items, including healthy and "indulgent" snacks. Annual total snack sales run in the billions of U.S. dollars.

While not all chocolates are considered "snacks," the total chocolate market in the U.S. is estimated to reach $24 billion or so in sales in 2017. (Sales of salty snacks reached an estimated $27.7 billion in the U.S. this year (April 2017).*)

If each different chocolate item in the world had a different bar code, and the total number of bar codes were printed on a truck (one per semi-truck), the resulting line of connected transport vehicles would stretch 142 miles from the Earth (allowing the trucks to reach into space and back to Earth again with a few miles to spare).** Granted, road construction in space is difficult; but you get the gist.

It's starting to rain and snow here in the Golden State, which means more road repairs ahead. We love our cars in California and have thousands of miles of road (394,608*** lane miles in 2013) to maintain. Today's Road Crew Crunch mix distributed by Rex's Outrageous, LLC (A Portfolio Company of Halen Brands Inc., Fairfield, NJ) might be a good, hearty snack for anyone outdoors doing road construction or other work.

*Source: www.statista.com
***Source: cubit planning blog (http://blog.cubitplanning.com/2010/02/road-miles-by-state/)
**Calculation for chocolate trucks to reach from the Earth to space and back:
75 ft. semi-truck + trailer x 10,000 (bar codes) = 750,000 feet, or 142 miles (228 km).
(It's roughly 238,900 miles from the Earth to the Moon, but "only" 62 miles from the Earth to the beginning of "space.").

The short film "142 Miles from Monday" might be a better, more metaphorical analogy for Chocolate Banquet and Walking-the-Bay research projects.
***Source: cubit planning blog (http://blog.cubitplanning.com/2010/02/road-miles-by-state/)

Chuao Chocolatier - Bright and Sunny Honey dark chocolate bar - Dec. 4, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Chuao Chocolatier
Bright and Sunny Honey dark chocolate bar
Good - Good +
Weight: 1.4 oz. (40 g.) / 2.8 oz. (80 g.) in total bar
Calories: 220 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $2.49 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, CA

Welcome to Day #8 of Chocolate and California Dreaming Theme Week.

This Bright and Sunny Honey dark chocolate, California Collective* bar was from Chuao Chocolatier (Carlsbad, CA). Good name for this bar. It really was, as far as dark chocolate goes, bright and sunny, thanks to the incorporation of tiny bits of honey toffee and roasted almonds.

Happy winter sunshine and blue skies, to all those who have access to them today. And if you're trapped inside, this bar will bring a bit of Southern California sunshine indoors.

*Chuao Chocolatier's Master Chocolatier and Chef, Michael Antonorsi, is living the California dream; and his recent California Collective collection of bars inspired by California living and flavors includes three bars featured in this week's theme week, and a few others.


Chuao Chocolatier - Sun Kissed Coconut milk chocolate bar - Dec. 3, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Chuao Chocolatier
Sun Kissed Coconut milk chocolate bar
Good - Good +
Weight: 1.4 oz. (40 g.) / 2.8 oz. (80 g.) in total bar
Calories: 220 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $2.49 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, CA

Welcome to Day #7 of Chocolate and California Dreaming Theme Week.

Today's Sun Kissed Coconut milk chocolate bar from Chuao Chocolatier (Carlsbad, CA) was one of a series of California Collective bars from the company.

The company's headquarters (Carlsbad) in Southern California (north of San Diego) is located in a lovely coastal area, near beaches, palm trees and southern California pastimes like surfing, paddle-boarding and swimming. Sounds like a California city that lives up to the dream.

This Sun Kissed Coconut bar was made with tiny pieces of roasted almonds and flecks of toasted coconut. Its sweet, smooth milk chocolate coconut flavor and texture put it closer on the chocolate spectrum to a high-end confection than bar, but it was still enjoyable.




Saturday, December 2, 2017

Chuao Chocolatier - Sea Salt Surf dark bar - Dec. 2, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Chuao Chocolatier
Sea Salt Surf dark chocolate sea salt bar
Good - Good +
Weight: .93 oz. (26.6 g.) / 2.8 oz. (80 g.) in total bar
Calories: 147 calories in 1/3 bar
Cost: $2.49 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, CA

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate and California Dreaming Theme Week.

The Sea Salt Surf dark chocolate sea salt bar from Chuao Chocolatier (Carlsbad, CA) was made with Fair Trade Certified cacao and gluten free* ingredients. It was also Kosher Certified.

"Chew, wow, chuao**, giggle, sweet and desire." Those were the six words etched into six squares (1/3 bar). There was one word per square, so you could pick a few and create your own expressions.

The chocolate had a relatively complex, but balanced flavor profile, with subtle green, salty leather, sweet dark chocolate and nutty aroma and flavor notes.

The bar broke into pieces with a good snap, mostly along the scored lines; and the chocolate had a creamy even melt and a relatively mellow finish with a light trace of salt.

Chuao Master Chocolatier and Chef Michael Antonorsi is living the California dream. Originally from Venezuela, he fell in love with California in college and, after culinary school in Paris, returned to the state and made it his home. "From paddle boarding with my daughters to enjoying the sunset and a glass of wine with my wife, the spirit of the golden state is all around me," he notes.

*There were no gluten free ingredients in this bar; however, the chocolate was manufactured in a facility "that uses milk, soy, tree nuts and wheat on shared equipment."

**The town of Chuao is located near the northern coast of Venezuela. Chocolate lovers will recognize it as an area that is famous for its fine flavored cacao. If you meld the two English words "chew + wow" together, the result is close to the Spanish pronunciation of the word "chuao."


Friday, December 1, 2017

Chocolino - Double Dark Chocolate 55% bar - Dec. 1, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

"Artfully Crafted for Chocolino"
Double Dark Chocolate 55% Cacao bar
Good - Good+
Weight: 2.14 oz. (60 g.) in total bar
Calories: 330 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $2.15 for 1 bar
Purchased from: CVS Pharmacy, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate and California Dreaming Theme Week.

Today we head south to the Central Valley (Fresno, CA) where today's Chocolino* La Dolce Vita Double Dark Chocolate 55% Cacao bar had its origins.

While not mentioned on the packaging (and despite the somewhat confusing "Artfully Crafted for Chocolino" tagline), I believe G. Debbas Chocolatier, a private label manufacturer with a shop in Fresno, produced this bar.

California's Central Valley is a tremendous source of agricultural food exports for the Golden State. Beautiful fruit posters drew immigrants with dreams of the good life in the past. Food is grown on a massive scale in the Valley. Not cacao perhaps. But, it is a region where food and beverages are appreciated.

The "Double Chocolate" designation refers to a blend of two dark chocolates, one perhaps a bit more flavorful. There was a trace of green (the relatively light, forest-like blend of green tea, green stalks and green floral) notes—and lots of popular, sweet dark chocolate flavor.

The overall aroma and flavor was consistent and a small step above most bulk, commercial chocolates. The chocolate broke with a snap, and had an even melt. The incorporation of whole milk powder made it slightly smoother.

The bar contained a standard disclaimer** that often appears on packaging for chocolates produced in a larger/shared facility with multiple-ingredient product lines.

*Chocolino showed up as a registered wordmark of SSI G. Debbas Chocolatier, LLC (Fresno, CA) (or at least the application showed up to be one in a google search -- filing date was March 2016)
Business was listed as chocolates, confections, chocolate bars, etc.

A Chocolino Facebook page for them showed a phone number with an 818 area code. 

**May contain peanuts, tree nuts, wheat.




Thursday, November 30, 2017

Dick Taylor - 70% Lanquin Guatemala bar - Nov. 30, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate
70% Lanquin, Guatemala bar
Good ++
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 2 oz. (57 g.) in total bar
Calories: 150 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $9.00 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: missing information

Welcome to Day #4 of Chocolate and California Dreaming Theme Week.

There are dozens of chocolate makers and hundreds of chocolatiers in the Golden State. So, it's unlikely we can do a California-themed chocolate week justice in just eight* days.

However, before heading south from the San Francisco Bay Area, we're heading north, to the less crowded half of California, where artisans labor over high-quality foods, furniture and boats, and bean-to-bar chocolate, and where most locals don't mind the relative lack of traffic and crowds.

If you're Adam Dick and Justin Taylor, your dreams come true might involve crafts mentioned above. The duo behind Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate (Eureka, CA) started out as boat-makers and seem to be serial craftsmen.

Producing great, award-winning chocolate bars from scratch may be their latest endeavor, but likely not their last.

The cacao used to make this two-ingredient dark bar (cacao and organic cane sugar) was grown in Guatemala (Origin: "Single Estate - Lanquin A.V.") in the Alta Verapaz region, an area with a rich cacao history.

This 70% dark bar had roasted coffee/espresso and fruit/berry notes. Dick Taylor tasting notes (aroma/flavor/finish): "plumeria (tropical flower), blackberry peach cobbler, espresso"

*Chocolate weeks are often longer than conventional calendar weeks on Chocolate Banquet.com. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Bridge Brands Chocolate - Save Me, San Francisco bar - Nov. 29, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Bridge Brands Chocolate
Save Me, San Francisco Chocolate bar
Good +
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 3 oz. (85 g.) in total bar
Calories: 153.3 calories in 1/3 bar
Cost: $1.99 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, CA

Welcome to Day #3 of Chocolate and California Dreaming Theme Week, where we're featuring several chocolates that reflect what (some imagine) life is like in various California hot spots.

San Francisco is a popular stop on this tour. Chocolate makers like Ghirardelli and Guittard have San Francisco roots dating back to the 1800s. And there are many, newer smaller craft chocolate makers (and many more chocolatiers) in the Bay Area. That includes those producing novelty chocolate items, like today's "Save Me, San Francisco" bar.

If you recognized this title as a song/album from Train, the American pop rock band from San Francisco, you'd be correct. The song included lyrics like: "I've been rock and roll and disco, won't you save me San Francisco..."

Yes, San Francisco is a great place, filled with great chocolate; and even if the place doesn't save you, you'll enjoy a good ride and meal or two in this favorite city by the Bay.

Today's bar may not have been high-end craft, single origin chocolate. But the wrapper and sentiment was worth the purchase. The dark bar had a complex and pleasant aroma, and had reasonable depth in flavor. (It wasn't all sugar and rich cocoa.) It included some faint fruit (cherry jam), earth, malt, spice and tropical date and coconut/brown sugar notes.








Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The San Francisco Chocolate Factory - Chocolate by Numbers 38% Milk - Nov. 28, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

The San Francisco Chocolate Factory
Chocolate By Numbers
38% Milk Chocolate "dreamy chocolate"
Good
Weight: .125 oz. (3.54 g.) / 1 oz. (28.35 g.) total box of 16 pieces
Calories: 19.5 calories for 2 pieces
Cost: $1.49 (estimate) for 1 box of 16 pieces
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #2 of Chocolate and California Dreaming Theme Week.

Today's small box of 38% Chocolate By Numbers Milk Chocolate was from The San Francisco Chocolate Factory (San Francisco, CA).

The company's "Chocolate by Numbers," themed boxes and tins of button- or disc-shaped round chocolate pieces are available in different percentages of cacao solids: 31%, 38%, 55%, 72%, etc.

Round, thin discs offer several benefits: they feel good on the tongue and offer more immediate/better access to creamy texture and chocolate flavors than a thick bar. The pieces (16 in this small box) also can be easily shared by a group of tasters.

These small rounds could be used for a side-by-side chocolate % comparison tasting, for those wanting to know more about cacao. Or they could be used as pairing chocolates with different foods and beverages.

The San Francisco Chocolate Factory also has a wholesale business and is involved in private/custom labeling and brand partnerships.









Monday, November 27, 2017

Ghirardelli - Milk Chocolate Jewel City bar - Nov. 27, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Ghirardelli Chocolate Company
Milk Chocolate bar
(Jewel City - Art from Panama Pacific International Exposition)
Good 
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 4 oz. (113.5 g.) in total bar
Calories: 137.5 calories (per label) in 1/4 bar (2 squares)
Cost: $2.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to the first day of Chocolate and California Dreaming Theme Week. First a bit of chocolate history about the Golden State, since we'll be virtually visiting here for the next several days.

The Gold Rush and the promise of new opportunities and dreams, drew many people to San Francisco in 1849. One individual, who arrived via South America, was Domenico (Domingo) Ghirardelli.

Ghirardelli first offered chocolate to miners in the Stockton, CA, area, and later opened a second shop in San Francisco. The Ghirardelli Chocolate Company was incorporated in 1852, making it one of the oldest chocolate companies operating in the U.S. 

Later, Ghirardelli's three sons managed the growing operation in a new San Francisco location. And, after successfully weathering the 1906 earthquake, participated in the Panama Pacific International Exposition*, which attracted visitors from around the globe. (Source of stamp shown: Pinterest.)

Ghirardelli California headquarters may now be across the Bay in San Leandro, and they're owned by a Swiss company (Lindt); but their heart and history is still in San Francisco.

The chocolate was sweet, and uniformly even in flavor. The texture was creamy smooth.

*The cover of today's "Jewel City" milk chocolate bar was adorned with an image from an Arthur Mathews oil painting, titled "The Victory of Culture over Force (Victorious Spirit), 1914. This bar (and art) were part of a centennial celebration and art exhibit in San Francisco that commemorated the 1915 Exposition in 2015-2016. One of the major attractions at the historic expo was a Tower of Jewels that was illuminated at night—thus the nick-name Jewel City.



Sunday, November 26, 2017

Lonohana Estate - Hapalua with Candied Nibs, Dark Milk bar - Nov. 26, 2017

Chocolate of the Day:

Lonohana Estate Chocolate, LLC
Hapalua with Candied Nibs Dark Milk bar
Very Good
Weight: 1.15 oz. (32.5 g.) / 2.3 oz. (65 g.) in total bar
Calories: 173 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $15.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: The Chocolate Garage, Palo Alto, CA

The Hapalau* with Candied Nibs Dark Milk chocolate bar from Lonohana Estate Chocolate, LLC  (Honolulu, Oahu, HI) had a lovely sweet, slightly floral green, chocolate aroma with light caramel notes—and an addictive flavor and texture combination.

I first tasted (Batch No. 1) of this especially nice dark milk Hapalua bar shortly after its debut in early 2016, while on a chocolate trip to Nicaragua. The chocolatemaker, Seneca Klassen, also happened to be on this trip and provided samples. (See Chocolate Banquet entry, Mar. 18, 2016.)

Why was this milk chocolate bar especially nice? I can think of at least three reasons.

First, this was a Hawaiian bar. The cacao and nibs (Haleiwa, Oahu), and the cane sugar from Maui, were "planted, grown and harvested in Hawaii." Lonohana Estate is unique, a vertically integrated, operation, producing farm to table chocolate in the U.S. (Hawaii is the only U.S. state where cacao is grown commercially.)

Second, the bar was masterfully made, with well balanced flavor and texture. It had a caramel flavor from the candied nibs/milk chocolate, and a texture that was both buttery smooth and crunchy. There was not one off note.

Last, but not least, the deep milk chocolate (% not listed, but likely around 50% cacao) offered more chocolate flavor than other lower percentage milk chocolate bars. And the nibs put the cocoa flavor over the top.

Sadly, this bar may be hard to obtain. Most Lonohana Estate bars are made in small batches, and are available through a tasting club or limited venues. Occasionally they have a few bars left for sale on their website.

Ingredients: "Estate cacao, organic cocoa butter, organic whole milk powder, Maui cane sugar and candied estate nibs"

*Hapalua means "half" in the Hawaiian language. Half the bar (one side) was covered with a thick field of nibs. And on the "smooth" side, was a map of the Hawaiian islands.

IKEA - Choklad Ljus Milk Chocolate bar - Nov. 25, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

IKEA
Choklad Ljus (Milk Chocolate) bar
Good
Weight: .875 oz. (25 g.) / 3.5 oz. (100 g.) in total bar
Calories: 130 calories in 1/4 bar
Cost: $0.99 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: IKEA, East Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #6 of Milk Chocolate Theme Week.

IKEA offers a variety of household and food items with Swedish names.

Today's Choklad Ljus ("light chocolate") or Milk Chocolate bar was a generously sized, sweet milk chocolate bar made with UTZ Certified cocoa.* There was no cacao % information on the wrapper, but an IKEA webpage listed this bar as containing 30% cacao.

For the price this was certainly a good value and the bar, although quite sweet, tasted better than most bars containing less than 35% cacao.

*UTZ certified cacao helps "ensure sustainable farming standards and good conditions for workers." Consumers could/can trace the origin of the cacao used by going to a website, www.utzcertified.org/IKEA, to receive origin information. The source for this bar was listed as the Cote d'Ivoire or Ivory Coast, in western Africa.




Friday, November 24, 2017

Baron Chocolatier - Premium Milk Chocolate bar - Nov. 24, 2017

Chocolate of the Day:


Baron Chocolatier
Premium Milk Chocolate bar
Good - Good +
Weight: .875 oz. (25 g.) / 3.5 oz. (100 g.) in total bar
Calories: 131 calories in 1/4 bar
Cost: $1.49 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #5 of Milk Chocolate Theme Week.

Today's Baron Chocolatier Premium Milk Chocolate bar was made in Poland* and imported by European Chocolate, Ltd., a division of Milano Group (Vernon Hills, IL).

This 35%** cacao milk chocolate bar had a sweet creamy flavor and texture, with a hint of caramel and tiny sparkle of fruit.

*Baron Chocolatier originated 30 years ago in Poland.
** The percentage did not appear on the package or website, but thankfully an email query yielded a quick answer: 35% cacao for the milk chocolate bar. This chocolate had a bit more flavor than I'd expect for a less than 40% bar. It would make a nice 45% cacao bar I think.



Thursday, November 23, 2017

Praim - Bosco milk chocolate bar - Nov. 23, 2017

Chocolate of the Day:

Praim Group
Bosco milk chocolate bar
Good
Weight: .7 oz. (20 g.) / 3.5 oz. (100 g.) in total bar
Calories: 108 calories in 1/5 bar
Cost: $3.99 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: Orchard Supply Hardware, Mountain View, CA

Welcome to Day #4 of Milk Chocolate Theme Week.

Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate this holiday today in the U.S. and beyond.

Today's Bosco* milk chocolate bar was distributed by Praim Group (Salem, MA). Praim offers a variety of branded chocolates, through agreements with brand owners.

This sweet bar contained a relatively short list of ingredients: sugar was #1 ingredient followed by whole milk, cocoa butter and cocoa liquor, soy lecithin and vanilla. The bar had an aroma of classic milk chocolate—not that far off from a glass of milk with Bosco Chocolate Syrup (the bar's namesake).

Bosco syrup was introduced in 1928 and is still available from the New Jersey-based company, Bosco Products Inc.

Praim also offered a Bosco "holiday" bar, but it looked to be (from the description online) the same milk chocolate bar as today's, only with a touch of red and green design elements on the wrapper.

*Bosco is a trademark of Bosco Products Inc., "used under license by Praim LLC."




Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...