Thursday, March 23, 2017

Unilever - Magnum Dark Chocolate ice cream bars - Mar. 22, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Magnum Dark ice cream bars
Weight: 3.38 fl. oz. (100 mL) / 10.14 fl. oz. (300 mL) in total box of 3 bars
Calories: 240 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $3.99 (estimate) for 1 box of 3 bars
Purchased from: Safeway, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #4 of Chocolate and Ice Cream Bar theme week.

This week the focus is on ice cream bars from larger companies. (Smaller production run ice cream bars and paletas from local artisans will have their own week later this year.)

Large or small, companies need to make bars that won't fall apart, and that also taste good. The chocolate coating on an ice cream bar needs to be not too hard or stiff, but not too soft either. Ice cream needs to stay creamy and flavorful and not become granular if temperatures fluctuate.

Unilever (Englewood Cliffs, NJ) now owns several large ice cream brands (including Magnum) in the U.S., and has experience with these challenges. Today's Magnum Dark Chocolate bar was one of the original member of an expanding family of Magnum ice cream bars.

One can almost see and taste the evolution of this line of ice cream bars. For example, at some point several years ago, someone must have been asking: How do you take a plain, standard vanilla ice cream bar vanilla bean ice cream dipped in chocolate and make it more appealing to higher-end consumers?

Today's bar, enveloped in a golden wrapper, uses quality vanilla and chocolate: 60% cacao Belgian Chocolate, and Rainforest Certified cocoa and vanilla—not something you'd see with less expensive bars. The chocolate tasted a bit better than most chocolatey coatings  out there and the vanilla ice cream did as well.

Natural flavors and coloring agents have improved. Now, if there was a way to magically get rid of some of the additives* that seem to be in most ice cream bars, that would be a true leap forward.

*Additives include mono and diglycerides, locust bean gum, guar gum, carrageenan, and PGPR (emulsifiers).

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