Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Good Day Chocolate - Chocolate with Calm - Oct. 17, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Good Day Chocolate
Chocolate with Calm
Good
Weight: .99 oz. (28 g.) in 1 container
Calories: 140 calories in 1 container
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: missing information

Welcome to Day #10 of Chocolate and Halloween wEEKs.
Today we're featuring a chocolate for older children and adults.

Chocolate with Calm from Good Day Chocolate (Boulder, CO) offers a line of chocolate dietary supplements, geared for different situations.  

Inside the creatively and cleverly designed small package were a handful disc-shaped, purple* coated pieces that contained milk chocolate and "a blend of amino acids and botanicals**" designed "to help you relax."

They tasted like chocolate candies and had no strong, herbal flavors that were objectionable.

Maybe I'll keep some on hand for the hectic holiday season.

*Natural purple coloring came from red cabbage juice

**Calm blend of amino acids and botanicals: Magnesium Oxide, L-theanine, Chamomile, Flower Extract, Oat Straw Powder





TCHO - Galactic Gelato bar - Oct. 16, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

TCHO
Galactic Gelato bar
Good - Good +
Weight: 1.05 oz. (30 g.) / 2.1 oz. (60 g.) in total bar
Calories: 180 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: missing information

Welcome to Day #9 of Chocolate and Halloween wEEKs, where we're transitioning back to the dark side.

Today's Galactic Gelato bar from TCHO (Berkeley, CA) came with the following description: "Mint astronaut gelato floating in spacy dark chocolate."

One could design a Halloween pageant around that theme. Or, one could just sit back and enjoy this dark chocolate mint bar, made with organic fair trade cocoa beans.

The Galactic Gelato bar was made in partnership with an artisan gelato maker—Gelateria Naia (San Francisco, CA). Influenced by high-end chocolate and gelato, the makers of this dark bar folded in bits of freeze-dried astronaut ice cream, yielding cosmic sparkles of creamy mint flavor.

Spooky. I'd almost forgotten what dark chocolate tasted like this month. Traditional Halloween chocolate bars aren't very high in cacao content. It was good to experience authentic dark flavor again. Certified organic and fair trade cacao beans were the first ingredient listed. Hurray.






Sunday, October 15, 2017

Chuao Chocolatier - Caramel Apple Crush bar - Oct. 15, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Chuao Chocolatier
Caramel Apple Crush bar
Good
Weight: 1.4 oz. (40 g.) / 2.8 oz. (80 g.) in total bar
Calories: 200 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $5.95 (estimate) for 1 bar 
Purchased from: CVS/pharmacy

Welcome to Day #8 of Chocolate and Halloween wEEKs.

Another option for Halloween chocolate is to pick an autumn-themed bar, like this Caramel Apple Crush bar from Chuao Chocolatier (Carlsbad, CA).

The inspiration for this bar came from the tangy green apple and buttery caramel in caramel apples. Tiny bits of dried apple and toffee were encased in 41% milk chocolate. The bar had a pleasant premium milk chocolate aroma, and while it was sweet (like a caramel apple might be), the flavor inclusions were balanced and authentic tasting.

This Caramel Apple bar was made with Fair Trade Certified Cocoa, gluten-free and Non-GMO ingredients, and without artificial preservatives, sweeteners, colors and flavors. The bar was also Kosher Certified.

This bar is also available for trick-or-treaters in mini bar size (along with the company's Baconluxious, Orange-A-Go-Go and Potato Chip bars).


Saturday, October 14, 2017

This Bar Saves Lives - Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Sea Salt bar - Oct. 14, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

The Bar Saves Lives
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter and Sea Salt bar
Good - Good +
Weight: 1.4 oz. (40 g.) in total bar
Calories: 190 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: missing information

Welcome to Day #7 of Chocolate and Halloween wEEKs.

Candy bars and confections still rule Halloween. So this week we've been focusing on a range of traditional, healthy, updated and other versions of traditional chocolate candy bars.

Another variation is...the chocolate candy bar with a social purpose. Today's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter and Sea Salt bar was from This Bar Saves Lives (Culver City, CA).

It was gluten free, dairy free, non-GMO, and made with Fair Trade Cocoa; and it had a chewy, slightly crunchy satisfying texture and taste.

This bar also, as the name implied, had a social purpose: "Buy a Bar. Feed a Child. Healthy Snacking," read the taglines. The company uses proceeds from their bar sales to make and send food aid packets to children around the world (Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Mexico).


Friday, October 13, 2017

Amy's - Andy's Dandy Candy Dreamy bar - Oct. 13, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Amy's Kitchen Inc.
Andy's Dandy Candy - Dreamy bar
Good
Weight: 1.75 oz. (50 g.) in 1 package of 2 bars
Calories: 200 calories in 1 package
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: missing information

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate and Halloween wEEKs. And happy spooky* Friday the 13th to you.

We've been examining traditional candy bars and healthier alternatives this week. And, healthier means different things to different people.

Today's Andy's** Dandy Candy Dreamy bar was from Amy's Kitchen Inc. (Petaluma, CA). While similar to a traditional candy bar in appearance, it's been substantially improved (and I would say it was healthier too).

The vegan Dreamy bar contained no 1.) high fructose corn syrup, 2.) preservatives or 3.) GMOs. Several companies have made a move away from the first two, not so much with the third.

Also, the bar was made with organic dark chocolate and real cocoa butter. (Much of the chocolate used in traditional candy bars is milk chocolate and often contains vegetable oils in place of cocoa fat/dairy butter, and a very low percent of cocoa solids—barely qualifying as chocolate in some cases. Beware when you see the term "chocolately.")

Amy's updated take on candy bars shows how this market has evolved. Their bars are gluten free, vegan and 98% organic ingredients, and can still satisfy a sweet tooth (via organic cane sugar and tapioca syrup).

It was sweet; but the high sugar contain (found in almost all nougat-centered candy bars) was also balanced by the use of dark chocolate and the addition of soy protein. The two smaller bars in one package made sharing and portion control easier (100 calories in each bar).

There were no dairy, wheat, gluten, or nut ingredients listed; but the packaging did contain the: "May contain traces of tree nuts" statement.

*Scarier than Halloween or Friday the 13th this week are the real life wildfires that are burning around some of the Amy's facilities in Northern California. I called to convey good thoughts, and as of this writing the facilities were fine, although many employees were being affected. 

** The name Andy's Dandy Candy came from Andy and Rachel Berliner. who founded the original company in 1987 and named it after their daughter, Amy. The privately-held, family business has grown over the years and produces a line of frozen foods, entrees, soups, and chocolates that offer consumers organic, gluten free and low-sodium options.


Quest - Nutrition Bar - Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough - Oct. 12, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Quest Nutrition, LLC
Quest Bar - Protein Bar - Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Flavor
Good
Weight: 2.12 oz. (60 g.) in total package
Calories: 190 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: missing information

Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate and Halloween wEEKs. We're exploring health and nutrition bar alternatives these last few days. While the notion of health bars may offend some traditional Halloween candy fans, there are alternatives for all in the U.S.

Typically nutrition and health bars have contained added nutrients, vitamins and minerals, and/or added protein.

Today's (full-size) Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Protein Bar contained 21 grams of protein.* That's a lot of protein

Most popular, full-size chocolate candy bars contain about 4-8 grams of protein and lots of sugar/carbohydrates. This bar boosted the protein and reduced the sugar and fiber.

Despite the sweet-sounding cookie flavor name, the gluten free Quest bar contained only 1 gram of sugar (and 4 grams of net carbs); it was sweetened with Sucralose, Erythritol and Stevia. The bar also contained 14 grams of fiber.

This protein bar had a caramel color and flavor, with a dense/compressed, chewy texture. The embedded chocolate chips were more obvious after taking a bite and they contributed some chocolate flavor.

*This bar contained a protein blend: milk protein isolate, whey protein isolate





Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Balance Bar Company - Chocolate Peppermint Patty - Oct. 11, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

The Balance Bar Company
Chocolate Peppermint Patty Nutrition Bar
Good
Weight: .78 oz. (20 g.) (per label) in 1 small bar
Calories: 80 calories in 1 small bar
Cost: $N/A - free sample
Purchased from: N/A - free samples being handed out on street

Welcome to Day #4 of Chocolate and Halloween wEEKs. After exploring some popular candy bar alternatives, we've moved on to some possible nutrition and/or health-bar alternatives for the scariest chocolate day of the year.

Today's Chocolate Peppermint Patty Nutrition Bar was distributed by the Balance Bar Company (Ronkonkoma/Bohemia, NY).

I happen to receive a few sample bars that were being handed out to the public. The sample-sized bar would also be great for trick or treaters looking for nutrition bars.*

This small bar-shaped patty had an intriguing mint and dark chocolate aroma.** The filling was a soft caramel nougat flavored with peppermint oil. (There were also some soft cookie crumbs rolled in - made with rice flour). So the bar had a little more textural heft than most peppermint patties with a cream filling.

As far as the balanced nutrition part...I did feel that the addition of a little protein and inulin fiber slowed down or helped balance the sugar rush a bit. So, take a bite, if you dare!! (Cue the sound of scary ghost laughter and lightning in the background.)

*Note: Balance Bars have some added protein (soy, dairy) to help balance out carbs. This bar did not contain wheat or gluten ingredients, but did contain soy and dairy and was made on shared equipment with peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, wheat and sesame.

** The dark chocolate flavored coating did contain cocoa and unsweetened chocolate; sugar and fractionated palm kernel oil were the first and second ingredients.




Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Balance - Chocolate Caramel Peanut Nougat Nutrition Bar - Oct. 10, 2017

Chocolate of the Day:

The Balance Bar Company
Chocolate Caramel Peanut Nougat Nutrition Bar
Good
Weight: .78 oz. (22 g.) for 1 small bar
Calories: 100 calories in 1 small bar
Cost: N/A - free samples being handed out
Purchased from: N/A - free samples being distributed to passer-bys

Welcome to Day #3 of Chocolate and Halloween wEEKs.

Many people are looking for healthier, more balanced alternatives to traditional Halloween candy. As a child, I remember a dentist handing out sample containers of dental floss instead of candy. Not really appreciated by children at the time. But, times change and balance means different things to different people.

Today's Chocolate Caramel Peanut Nougat Nutrition Bar was from The Balance Bar Company (Bohemia, NY). The company has aimed for a 40-30-30 blend of carbohydrates, protein and fat respectively in their bars. Today's bar looked like a traditional chocolate candy bar, but had added protein.

This Balance bar did have a slight soy protein taste, but overall the flavors were balanced, and the soy wasn't objectionable.






Monday, October 9, 2017

Trader Joe's - Boffo! Bar - Oct. 9, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Trader Joe's
Boffo! Bar
Good
Weight: 1.8 oz. (51 g.) in 1 bar
Calories: 240 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $0.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Trader Joes, Alameda, CA

Welcome to Day #2 of Chocolate and Halloween wEEK.

Adults who grew up in the U.S. in the mid- to late-1900s celebrating Halloween by dressing up in ill-fitting costumes and going door-to-door for treats often ended up with a fat sackful of candy after a run through the neighborhood.

And they often ended up suffering from sugar overload after downing several (sometimes full-size) candy bars and sweets if they managed to avoid adult vigilance. (It was easier to do the latter if you grew up in a large, chaotic family. Parents were busy doing triage and picking their battles.)

Most parents now monitor candy intake more closely, but individually-wrapped chocolate candy bars are still a thing, even in petite form.

This week begins with featuring more traditional candy bars and then veers into possible chocolate alternatives.

Today's Boffo! Bar from Trader Joe's (Monrovia, CA) possessed all the traits and flavors of a classic candy bar. At its core, it contained white, fluffy nougat, covered by a layer of caramel and peanuts. And it was coated in milk chocolate. I do love the name "Boffo!"* It makes me wonder why this name hadn't been used before.

*And speaking of the 1900s, Boffo is a term linked with a successful production (movie, play, event) and/or satisfying, deep laughter. Make sure to work this term into your comings and goings this week. People may look puzzled, but you'll all be the better for it.

Note: In my haste, I missed that this bar does contain malted barley, and possible traces of wheat. So, gluten-freers should probably avoid this bar.







Sunday, October 8, 2017

Hershey's Snack Bites; Mars Crisper bar - Oct. 8, 2017

Chocolate(s) of the Day: 

Mars Chocolate North America, LLC
Snickers Crisper bar
Good
Weight: 1.41 oz. (40 g.) in 1 bar
Calories: 190 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $2.00 for 2 bars
Purchased from: Walgreens, Palo Alto, CA

Hershey's
Snack Bites
Good
Weight: 2.5 oz. (70 g.) in total package of 6 pieces
Calories: 370 calories in 1 package
Cost: $1.99 for 1 package of 6 pieces
Purchased from: Walgreens, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #1 of Chocolate and Halloween wEEK.

Halloween is a big chocolate holiday in the U.S.; and two of the largest chocolate suppliers of Halloween chocolate treats have been Mars Chocolate (Hackettstown, NJ) and The Hershey Company (Hershey, PA)—corporations that continue to dominate the market with brands like Snickers and Reese's, respectively.

And just when you think you've tried every variation on a Snickers bar or a Reese's chocolate and peanut butter offering, new ones materialize on store shelves.

Today's twist on the traditional Snickers bar (called the Crisper bar) contained puffed rice, caramel peanuts and chocolate. The rice added some crispy crunchy texture and bulk to the bar, and it was well balanced and integrated.

Hershey's Snack Bites
Today's chocolate Snack Bites treat from Hershey's consisted of "Snackable Milk Chocolate and Almond Clusters." These roundish, chocolate bites, contained embedded pieces of toasted almond.

These packages were a bit larger than the average snack-sized Halloween bar; but if you want to upsize, there are plenty of traditional treats like this available.


Saturday, October 7, 2017

Cadbury - Halloween Screme Eggs - Oct. 7, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Mondelez
Cadbury
Screme Eggs (Halloween)
Good - Good +
Weight: 2.4 oz. (67.9 g.) (estimate) for 2 eggs
Calories: 360 calories (estimate) in 2 eggs
Cost: $2.98 (estimate) for 2 eggs
Purchased from: Safeway, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #7 of Cadbury Chocolate Theme Week.

The first Cadbury chocolate eggs debuted in 1875. They were Easter Eggs. Today's cream-filled milk chocolate eggs looked like Easter eggs. However, these "Screme" eggs were designed for another big chocolate holiday: Halloween.

The hollow chocolate eggs were swaddled in black, purple and green foil, and contained sweet, scary green-colored creme filling. Eeeek. Good fun and tasty sweetness.

*According to the Cadbury website: "The first Cadbury Easter egg was made in 1875. The earliest eggs were made with dark chocolate, and had a smooth, plain surface. They were filled with sugar-coated chocolate drops known as 'dragees'. Later Easter eggs were decorated and had their plain shells enhanced with chocolate piping and marzipan flowers."

Cadbury - Royal Dark Creamy Mint - Oct. 6, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Mondelez
Cadbury Royal Dark Creamy Mint
Good - Good +
Weight: 1.52 oz. (43 g.) / 5.5 oz. (155 g.) in total package
Calories: 220 calories in 1 serving (3 pieces)
Cost: $3.50 for 1 package (2 for $7.00)
Purchased from: Safeway, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #6 of Cadbury Chocolate Theme Week.

Today's individually-wrapped Cadbury Royal Dark Creamy Mint chocolates were the best ones I've tasted so far this week.

Fudgey dark chocolate with a creamy texture and melt surrounded a layer of mint in the middle. The combination worked well.


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Cadbury - Royal Dark Salted Caramel - Oct. 5, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Mondelez
Cadbury Royal Dark Salted Caramel
Good - Good +
Weight: 1.52 oz. (43 g.) / 5.5 oz. (155 g.) in total package
Calories: 200 calories in 1 serving (3 pieces)
Cost: $3.50 for 1 package (2 for $7.00)
Purchased from: Safeway, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #5 of Cadbury Chocolate Theme Week.

Today's Cadbury Royal Dark Salted Caramel, individually-wrapped 2-bite sized, chocolates from Mondelez were distributed in the U.S. by The Hershey Company (Hershey, PA).

These Royal Dark small 2-square, rectangular chocolates smelled like sweet, dark chocolate. They also contained milk.* A silken, smooth melt and texture was due, in part, to the inclusion of both cocoa butter and milk fat.

A tasty salted caramel filling oozed out with every bite.

*The chocolates were made with semi-sweet chocolate (sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, milk fat, natural and artificial flavors, lecithin (soy), milk).




Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Cadbury - Dairy Milk English Toffee - Oct. 4, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Mondelez
Cadbury Dairy Milk English Toffee
Good
Weight: 1.27 oz. (36 g.) / 5.4 oz. (153 g.) in total package
Calories: 190 calories in 1 serving (3 pieces)
Cost: $3.50 for 1 package (2 for $7.00)
Purchased from: Safeway, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #4 of Cadbury Chocolate Theme Week.

Today's Cadbury chocolates were individually-wrapped Dairy Milk English Toffee miniature "bars" (from Mondelez International/U.K.), distributed by The Hershey Company (Hershey, PA).

These two-square rectangles of milk chocolate, packaged for portability and convenience, contained a relatively low percent of cocoa solids. However, the bits of English toffee (with almonds and salt) embedded in the chocolate were rich enough to lift the tasting experience.




Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Cadbury - Fruit and Nut small bars - Oct. 3, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Mondelez U.K.
Cadbury Dairy Milk Fruit and Nut bar
Good
Weight: 1.27 oz. (36 g.) / 5.5 oz. (153 g.) in total package of 12
Calories: 180 calories in 1 serving (3 packets)
Cost: $3.50 for 1 package (2 for $7.00)
Purchased from: Safeway, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #3 of Cadbury Chocolate Theme Week.

Today's package contained individually-wrapped small Cadbury Fruit and Nut milk chocolates (from Mondelez International/U.K.*).

The small 2-square, segmented rectangular pieces, stamped with the Cadbury logo, contained bits of raisins and almonds. (Early recipes apparently also contained Brasil nuts.)

These chocolates were a variation on the classic Fruit and Nut milk chocolate bar that was first introduced in the 1926 as Cadbury's Fruit and Nut bar. (In 2003 the company added the "Dairy Milk" designation.)

It's hard to write about long-lived, large companies like Cadbury without delving into history. Like many purveyors of cocoa in the early 1800s, John Cadbury and his brother started with tea, coffee and drinking chocolate.

Chocolate bars came later. And today's milk chocolate bar as we know it was not perfected yet; although the Swiss, French, British and others (including, later, Milton S. Hershey in the U.S.) were all vying for the a milk chocolate formula that would result in a viable milk chocolate bar.

Cadbury announced their first milk chocolate bar in 1897 (one of the first in the U.K.) and the Dairy Milk chocolate brand followed in 1905.)

Interestingly, today's product was distributed in the U.S. by The Hershey Company (Hershey, PA), under license from Cadbury UK Ltd. Hershey founder, Milton S. Hershey, traveled to Europe and the U.K. and would have seen what the Cadburys were doing. Hershey's development of a "model town", and boys school in Hershey, PA was likely modeled, at least in part, after Cadbury worker housing and other community projects for less well-to-do citizens.

*Mondelez International (formerly known as Kraft/Kraft Foods) has owned the British confectionery company since 2010. 

Cadbury - Picnic bar - Oct. 2, 2017

Chocolate of the Day:

Mondelez U.K.
Cadbury Picnic bar
Good
Weight: 1.71 oz. (48.4 g.) in total bar
Calories: 232 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $2.29 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Rocket Fizz, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #2 of Cadbury Chocolate Theme Week.

This Cadbury Picnic candy bar/chocolate bar (from Mondelez International) was stuffed with peanuts, a sort of chewy, crunchy, caramely nougat with raisins somewhere in the mix; and it was covered with milk chocolate.

It was a handy bar to bring along on a hike near San Francisco bay and a climb up a mountain to see a great view after, you guessed it, a short picnic lunch.

The Cadbury Picnic bar was launched in the U.K. in 1958, and decades later (around 2000) was marketed as being "Deliciously ugly." Today's tagline read: "Shake it up with Picnic." How about "Enjoy a great view with Picnic?"


Cadbury - Dairy Milk Whole Nut bar - Oct. 1, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Mondelez UK
Cadbury Dairy Milk Whole Nut bar
Good
Weight: 1.59 oz. (45 g.) in 1 bar
Calories: 246 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $2.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Rocket Fizz, Palo Alto, CA

Happy October to you all, and welcome to Day #1 of Chocolate and Cadbury Theme Week.

The Cadbury chocolate brand is owned by a large corporation (Mondelez International, fomerly Kraft). However, it was founded in the 1800s by members of the Cadbury family, who made some substantial contributions to chocolate. I've chosen to feature Cadbury items this week because of their history* as well as their market reach.

The Cadbury Dairy Milk product line has been a chocolate bar staple for many years in many countries. Today I sampled the Cadbury Milk Whole Nut bar, a sweet, segmented milk chocolate bar studded with whole hazelnuts.

It also had a long list of ingredients (including emulsifiers, chemicals and flavors) that made me a little uncomfortable, even if they weren't identifiable when tasting this chocolate. I doubt most of these were around in the 1800s or even when some of the original candy/chocolate bar formulas were created. Things do evolve over 100+ years.

Companies in the 19th century were using cereal fillers and other substances in their chocolate (some less palatable than those listed in today's bar); but the early Cadbury founders often felt that their recipes for their chocolate were purer than others.

*For anyone wanting to know more about Cadbury history, check out the book Chocolate Wars by author Deborah Cadbury. (And yes, Deborah happens to be related to the famous family, but she's also an author of many interesting non-chocolate, non-fiction books.)

In Chocolate Wars, the author chronicles the origins of the chocolate industry in the 1800s, particularly in England, at a time when the race was on to find formulas for dark and milk chocolate, and Cadbury company practices were swayed by both by Quaker traditions and corporate imperatives. The discussions about wanting to create better labor conditions for workers and farmers echo conversations still going on today.




Saturday, September 30, 2017

August Storck - Merci Hazelnut Creme bar - Sept. 30, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

August Storck
Merci Assortment - European chocolates
Hazelnut Creme (small chocolate bar)
Good
Weight: .447 oz. (12.6 g.) / 7 oz. (200 g.) in total package of 16 bars
Calories: 70 calories in 1 small bar
Cost: $N/A - gift
Purchased from: N/A - gift (Thank you Yazz!)

Welcome to Day #7 of Chocolate and Hazelnuts Theme Week.

Today's August Storck Merci assortment package of European chocolates (made in Germany) contained 16 individually-wrapped small rectangular, 2-square bars. (There were 2 each of 8 different flavors.)

I enjoyed one of the Hazelnut Creme bars today—smooth, creamy and sweet milk chocolate with hazelnut cream flavor and very faint fruit and cereal notes.

Note: These may contain traces of wheat, gluten, peanuts, other tree nuts.


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