Sunday, July 30, 2017

Frito-Lay - Nut Harvest Dark Chocolate Almond Toffee Bites - July 30, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Frito-Lay, Inc.
Nut Harvest
Dark Chocolate Almond Toffee Bites
Good
Weight: 2.75 oz. (77.9 g.) in total package
Calories: 410 calories in 1 package
Cost: $1.99 for 1 package
Purchased from: CVS/Pharm, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #2 of Chocolate and Almond Theme Week.

Today's Nut Harvest Dark Chocolate Almond Toffee Bites were manufactured for Frito-Lay, Inc. (Plano, TX).

Almond pieces were blended with buttery sweet and crunchy toffee and then chocolate coated.

McIlhenny Co. Tabasco Chocolate; Vanuato Kakaw Almond Milk Choc. bar - July 29, 2017

Chocolate(s) of the Day: 

McIlhenny Co.
Tabasco Chocolate
Good
Weight: 1 oz. (28 g.) in total bar
Calories: 150 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $1.59 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Nob Hill Foods, Mountain View, CA

Welcome to Day #7 of Chocolate and Mexico Theme Week, where we're finishing off the week with not one, but two different chocolates.

Tabasco is a state in Mexico. One of the most popular hot pepper sauces, Tabasco sauce, was (according to family history) created by Edmund McIlhenny in the 1860s in the Southeastern U.S. (Louisiana), after the inventor was given Capsicum frutescens pepper seeds from Mexico or Central America—which he cultivated and enjoyed.*

Peppers and spices have been combined with early cacao beverages in Mexico for centuries. So, it seemed natural that chocolate might eventually be infused with peppers in Tabasco sauce form.

Tabasco chocolates (sold in wedges and bar form) are distributed by The Chocolate Traveler, Inc. (North Hollywood, CA).

Continental Best
Vanuato Kakaw
Almond Milk Chocolate bar
Good
Weight: .706 oz. (20 g.) (2 squares) / 3.52 oz. (100 g.) total bar
Calories: 110 calories in 1/5 bar
Cost: $4.99  for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Stars, USA

Today was not only the last day of Chocolate and Mexico Theme Week, but also the first day of Chocolate and Almond Week. The world is bursting with so many chocolates, it's hard to fit them all into one week.

The second chocolate of the day was a Vanuato Kakaw Almond Milk Chocolate bar made in Mexico City. The 36% cacao milk chocolate was creamy, sweet and had a slight, pleasant nutty flavor and crunchy texture from bits of almonds.

*Tabasco sauce is derived from a pepper mash that is fermented with vinegar in barrels until until the desired characteristics have been achieved.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Vanuato Kakaw - Milk Chocolate bar - July 28, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Continental Best
Vanuato Kakaw
Milk Chocolate bar
Good
Weight: 1.41 oz. (40 g.) / 3.52 oz. (100 g.) in total bar
Calories: 220 calories in 4 squares of bar
Cost: $4.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Stars USA, online order

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate and Mexico Theme Week.

Today's Vanuato Kakaw 36% cacao Milk Chocolate bar was made in Mexico City, Mexico, and imported into the U.S.

It was smooth, chocolatey, creamy, and had a hint of fruit (cherry, plum).

The description on the back of today's milk chocolate bar included information about the historical significance of cacao in Mexico.

"...The Olmec people who lived in Mexico and Mesoamerica cultivated cacao..." (thousands of years ago). "They enjoyed a beverage with ground cacao beans, mixed with water and garnished with spices, peppers and herbs...Cacao was a symbol of abundance and was used in religious ceremonies "dedicated to Quetzacoatl—and Chak Ek Chuah, the Mayan patron god of cacao."

This chocolate was paired with a Cinnamon Churro (Smash Mallow) marshmallow. Both were heated. The roasted marshmallow was dipped into the melted milk chocolate.






Thursday, July 27, 2017

Continental Best - Vanuato Kakaw - Dark Chocolate bar - July 27, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Continental Best
Vanuato Kakaw
Dark Chocolate bar
Good
Weight: 1.41 oz. (4 squares) (40 g.) / 3.52 oz. (100 g.) in total bar
Calories: 220 calories in 4 squares of bar
Cost: $4.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Stars USA, online order

Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate and Mexico Theme Week.

Today's Vanuato Kakaw Dark Chocolate bar (made in Mexico). Cacao has been enjoyed in Mexico since the time of the olmecas (Olmec people) in the years between 5,000-400 B.C.

The 60% Cacao dark chocolate was relatively smooth and sweet with a light vanilla* and spice note. (There was vanilla added to this bar, but the light "spice" note was from the cacao.)

A few squares of this bar could be enjoyed as an a la carte snack, or melted to make a traditional corn and chocolate beverage, or even a Mexican-inspired fondue base.

However, today, flecks of this bar were mixed in with some ice cream with vanilla, coffee and spices, including allspice.**

*The original inhabitants of Mexico enjoyed cacao with spices, flowers, maize and other items in beverages and dishes with stone ground cacao. Vanilla orchids/beans would also have been available to early Mexican peoples as well as cacao.

**Allspice is native to southern Mexico and Central America and is a spice still used by Maya people when making cacao beverages and confections.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Continental Best - Vanuato Kakaw - Moka Chocolate bar - July 26, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Continental Best
Vanuato Kakaw
Moka Chocolate
Good
Weight: .706 oz. 2 squares (20 g.) / 3.52 oz. (100 g.) in total bar
Calories: 100 calories in 2 squares of bar
Cost: $4.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Stars USA, online order

Welcome to Day #4 of Chocolate and Mexico Theme Week.

Today's Vanuato Kakaw Moka Chocolate was a milk chocolate bar with roasted coffee bean pieces, made in Mexico.

The relatively smooth, sweet 36% cacao milk chocolate base was complemented by the robust, crunchy bits of roasted coffee beans, helping to reduce the sweetness a bit (a good thing for most milk chocolates).

A generous helping of coffee also gave the bar a robust coffee flavor and finish.

Vanuato Kakaw bars also include design and packaging elements tied to Mexican heritage. While difficult to see in the small images shown (right), a likeness of Ek Chuah, the cacao god, is appears on this bar (and other Vanuato Kakaw bars), along a cacao pod (fruit that contained the cacao seeds or beans that are used to make chocolate). 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Continental Best - Vanuato Kakaw - Amaranth Chocolate - July 25, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Continental Best
Vanuato Kakaw
Amaranth Chocolate
Good
Weight: 2 squares (17 g.) / 2.99 oz. (85 g.) in total bar
Calories: 105 calories in 2 squares of bar
Cost: $4.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Stars USA, online order

Welcome to Day #3 of Chocolate and Mexico Theme Week.

Today's Vanuato Kakaw Amaranth Chocolate "100% Milk Chocolate" (36% cacao) bar was made in Mexico and contained approximately 7% (hundreds of small pieces) of amaranth.

Amaranth
What is amaranth? The information on the packaging provided this description:

"Known to the Aztec in Mexico as 'huauhtli,' amaranth cereal was important in the preparation of ritual drinks and various foods before the Spanish conquest. Today it maintains great importance as a symbol of the indigenous culture. Amaranth is gluten-free and has higher nutrient content than most cereals.

It's a great source of an amino acid "lysine," found in limited quantities in other grains or plant sources. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, amaranth packs more protein than any other plant on earth. Because of its multiple properties, NASA selected Amaranth as part of its astronauts' diets."

The milk chocolate bar was sweet and uniform in flavor. And the amaranth provided a very mild, soft crunchy texture.





Monday, July 24, 2017

Continential Best - Vanuato Kakaw - Dark Kakaw Chocolate bar - July 24, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Continental Best
Vanuato Kakaw
Dark Kakaw Chocolate bar
Good
Weight: .706 oz. (20 g.) / 3.52 oz. (100 g.) in total bar
Calories: 110 calories in 1/5 bar
Cost: $4.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Stars USA, online order

Welcome to Day #2 of Chocolate and Mexico Week. This week includes several bars from Mexico.

Today's Continential Best Vanuato Kakaw Dark Kakaw Chocolate 62% cacao bar contained pieces of cacao (nibs).

The bar was made of sweet, smooth dark chocolate with a very subtle, well-balanced hint of smokiness and earth from the crunchy bits of cacao (nibs).

This reasonably priced, single origin Mexican chocolate made in Cuidad de Mexico (Mexico City), Mexico, was imported into the US by Chocolate Stars USA (Moonachie, NJ). The company has been making chocolate since 1964 and celebrates the heritage of cacao in Mexico and Central America, dating back 3,000+ years ago to the time of the Olmec people.



Sunday, July 23, 2017

Continental Best - Vanuato Kakaw - Cinnamon Dark Chocolate bar - July 23, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Continental Best
Vanuato Kakaw
Cinnamon Dark Chocolate bar
OK+++ - Good
Weight: .88 oz. (25 g.) / 3.53 oz. (100 g.) in total bar
Calories: 140 calories (estimate) in 1/4 bar
Cost: $4.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Stars USA, online order

Hola and bienvenidos a (hello and welcome to) Day #1 of Chocolate and Mexico Theme Week.

Today's Vanuato Kakow Cinnamon Dark Chocolate bar was made in Mexico with sweet 60% cacao chocolate and tiny embedded bits of cinnamon. Despite the micro-spice shreds, the cinnamon flavor was quite subtle.




3 Drinking Chocolates with Spices Trio - July 22, 2017

Chocolate(s) of the Day: 

Welcome to the last day (Day #10) of Chocolate and Spices Theme Week. Today's trio of spiced chocolate beverages included drinking chocolates and a chocolate tea.

Holy Chocolate
European - Dark Chocolate with Cinnamon and Spices
Good+
Weight: .83 oz. (23.5 g.) / 1.66 oz. (47 g.)  in total packet
Calories: 94.5 calories in 1/2 packet serving
Cost: $missing information
Purchased from: Piazza's Fine Foods, Palo Alto, CA


This mix contained "real milk, real cocoa and cane sugar" (and a Psalm from the Bible) and had very smooth almost creamy hot chocolate flavor with a warm but light spice accent. All round; no sharp edges; it was a crowd pleaser.

Numi Organic Tea
Chocolate Spice Tea
Good - Good +
Calories: < 5 calories in 3/4 cup
Cost: $3.00 (estimate) for 1 box
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

This spiced tea with cocoa powder and carob had a beautiful, fragrant aroma. Some may prefer to add milk and sugar to this tea. By itself it's good, but had a very slight bitter finish. I may have had this (or a similar) tea several years ago in a Numi Tea retail space in Oakland, CA.

Cacoco, Inc.
Global Warrior Herbal Dark Chocolate Blend
Good
Weight: 4 TB (21 g.) / 7.11 oz. (202 g.) in total package
Calories: 120 calories in 1 (4 TB) serving
Cost: $12.99 (estimate) missing information
Purchased from: Piazza's Fine Foods, Palo Alto, CA

This offering from Cacoco, Inc. (Santa Cruz, CA) could be used for drinking chocolate or as a mix-in for ice cream, desserts and blended smoothies.

Described as an "energizing chocolate blend of superfood herbs and spices," this mix was made with "ethically sourced, unroasted Arriba Nacional Ecuadorian cacao...and maca, turmeric and shilajit (an herbal blend).

This was the most robust of the three cocoa and spice beverages today. The flavor was rich, dark and interesting, with a slight vegetable note. This bold dark chocolate mix was dairy free, so there was no (powdered) milk to soften the flavors like the European blend above.


Friday, July 21, 2017

Trader Joe's - Golden Spiced Milk Chocolate Bar - July 21, 2017

Chocolate of the Day:

Trader Joe's
Golden Spiced Milk Chocolate Bar
Good
Weight: .65 oz. (19 g.) / 2 oz. (57 g.) in total bar
Calories: 110 calories in 1/3 bar
Cost: $2.99 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: Trader Joe's, Carlsbad, CA

Welcome to Day #9 of Chocolate and Spices Theme Week.

Trader Joe's (Monrovia, CA) has sourced a variety of chocolates for their label that are accessible in terms of price and availability throughout their chain of retail stores in the U.S.

Most of their dark chocolates have been quite good. Great milk chocolates are harder to find in general, not just at Trader Joe's. Today's Golden Spiced Milk Chocolate Bar had its strong points, but was not one of my favorites.

The texture was smooth with a slightly creamy melt. And crisped quinoa provided some nice texture. The list of spices was impressive and included curry powder, ginger, powder, turmeric, cardamom, nutmeg and black pepper.

The resulting blend was fairly balanced; i.e., it was not too strong or weak; however it was not completely harmonious; and there was a slight artificial flavor. The bar also contained "natural coconut flavor" and vanilla extract. That's a lot of flavor components to juggle.

The bar was fairly sweet, as most milk chocolates are.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Le Chocolats de Pauline - Dark Ginger - July 20, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Le Chocolats de Pauline
Dark Ginger - Candied Ginger
Good +
Weight: .615 oz. (17.5 g.) / 2.47 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 95 calories in 1/4 bar
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: Chocolate Stars USA, online order

Welcome to Day #8 of Chocolate and Spices Theme Week.

Today's Dark Ginger was from Les Chocolats de Pauline (France), inported to the U.S. by Chocolate Stars USA.

This rich tasting dark bar with finely ground flecks of candied ginger was 100% Organic and Certified Gluten Free. Just a few squares (each adorned with an attractive cacao pod pattern) proved to be very satisfying.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Pacari - Organic Chocolate with Ginger and Chia bar - July 19, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Pacari
Organic Chocolate with Ginger and Chia bar
Good+
Weight: .88 oz. (25 g.) / 1.76 oz. (50 g.) in total bar
Calories: 150 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $7.95 for 1 bar
Purchased from: missing information

Hola (Hello) and Welcome to Day #7 of Chocolate and Spices Theme Week.

Today's Organic Chocolate with Ginger and Chia bar from Pacari* (Quito, Ecuador) was made from "tree to bar" in Ecuador, where cacao has been grown for centuries. Chia seeds also are from South America.

The chocolate had a buttery melt and a delicious and subtle natural ginger flavor; and the chia provided a hint of texture.

Labeled as organic, soy free, gluten free and vegan, this bar was made with arriba nacional cacao--a type of fine flavored cacao grown in South America.

*Pacari works with Kiwa BCS Oko-Garantie GmbH on organic certification.



Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Xocolate Bar - Cardamom Crunch bar - July 18, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

The Xocolate Bar
Cardamom Crunch 70% Cacao bar
Good +++
Weight: 1.1 oz. (31.13 g.) / 2.2 oz. (62.26 g.) in total bar
Calories: 155 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $6.50 for 1 bar
Purchased from: SweetE Organic, Mill Valley, CA

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate and Spices Theme Week.

Today's Cardamom Crunch bar from The Xocolate Bar (Berkeley, CA) delivered one of the tastiest chocolate and spice renditions to date.

This organic dark chocolate bar with caramelized cardamom seeds was composed of a flavorful, smooth, not too sweet 70% cacao chocolate base with fudge brownie flavor notes.

The caramelized seeds provided tiny bursts of crunchy texture and wonderfully authentic sweet cardamom spice flavor.

This bar was organic and vegan.

Monday, July 17, 2017

World Market - Milk Chocolate Chai Spice Filled bar - July 17, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Cost Plus, Inc. World Market
Milk Chocolate with Chai Spice Filling bar
Good
Weight: 1.16 oz. (33 g.) / 3.5 oz. (99.2 g.) in total bar
Calories: 153.3 calories in 1/3 bar
Cost: $4.00 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: World Market/Cost Plus, Mountain View, CA

Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate and Spices Theme Week.

This Milk Chocolate with Chai Spice Filling bar from Cost Plus, Inc. (Oakland, CA) was packaged in a colorful and fun wrapper. (A monkey holding an umbrella was riding on a festively decorated elephant.)

This thick, sweet bar filled with a caramel-like center had a relatively soft and smooth texture and melt. The chai spices were so light that they were undetectable. Might be a good bar if you have a sweet tooth.

For those watching ingredients: This bar did contain milk, soy, carrageenan and polysorbate. It also carried the notice: "may contain wheat, peanuts, tree nuts."








The Oakland Chocolate Co. - Walnut Turmeric Chocolate Spread - July 16, 2017

Chocolate(s) of the Day: 

The Oakland Chocolate Company

Walnut Turmeric Chocolate Spread
Good
Weight: .5 oz. (14.1 g.)/7 oz. (198 g.) in total jar
Calories: 55 calories (estimate) in 1 TB serving
Cost: $6.50 for 1 jar
Purchased from: The Oakland Chocolate Company, Oakland, CA

Licorice Tea Truffle
Good++
Weight: .4 oz. (11.32 g.) (estimate) in 1 piece
Calories: 60 calories (estimate) in 1 piece
Purchased from: The Oakland Chocolate Company, Oakland, CA

Welcome to Day 4 of Chocolate and Spices Theme Week.

Nancy Nadel, chief chocolatemaker at The Oakland Chocolate Company (Oakland, CA) has created an impressive array of confections and bars from Jamaican cacao. She makes her chocolate from scratch, from bean to bar in Oakland, CA, where she's also been an active member of the community (and served as a former city council member) for many years.

I suspected she might have some interesting chocolates with spices that I might not have tried, and was delighted to find this was the case when I visited her at the Old Oakland Farmers' Market recently.

I enjoyed her creamy dark Licorice Tea truffle and unique chocolate turmeric spread with ground walnuts packed with anti-inflammatory potential that wasn't too sweet (thank you!).





Saturday, July 15, 2017

Good Day Chocolate - Chocolate with Turmeric - July 15, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Good Day Chocolate
Chocolate with Turmeric
Good
Weight: .99 oz. (28 g.) in total package
Calories: 120 calories in 1 package
Cost: $2.99 (estimate) for 1 package of 8 pieces
Purchased from: Country Sun Natural Foods, Palo Alto, CA


Welcome to Day #3 of Chocolate and Spices Theme Week, which includes chocolates blended with turmeric, ginger, licorice and other plant-based spice flavors.

Today's Chocolate with Turmeric from Good Day Chocolate (Boulder, CO) was part of the company's "chocolate with benefits" line, that are also labeled as dietary supplements. In this case most of the benefits were provided by dark chocolate and turmeric.

What's the big deal about turmeric? This golden spice (included in most curry powder blends) is related to ginger. An active substance called curcumin found in turmeric has been found to have beneficial anti-inflammatory properties.

Today's chocolate packed a lot of goodness into one small, cleverly designed box. Made with fair trade chocolate, the package contained eight generously sized, naturally colored, roundish yellow pieces. Each piece had a turmeric-colored center surrounded by chocolate and covered with a candy shell.

Theo Chocolate - Coconut Turmeric Chocolate Clusters - July 14, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Theo Chocolate
Coconut Turmeric Chocolate Clusters
Good +
Weight: 2.8 oz. (80 g.) in total package
Calories: 460 calories in 10 pieces (1 package)
Cost: $6.00 (estimate) for 1 package
Purchased from: REI, Mountain View, CA

Welcome to Day #2 of Chocolate and Spices Theme Week.

Today's crunchy Coconut Turmeric Chocolate Clusters were from Theo Chocolate (Seattle, WA).

The package of haystack-shaped Coconut Turmeric pieces were part of a "snacking cluster" line of relatively new offerings from the company* advertising the benefits of cocoa flavonals.**

The crispy crunchy texture (similar to crisped rice, but with more heft) was provided by sorghum flakes and crisped quinoa, and provided a nice contrast with the chocolate.

These "snack smarter" pieces were, refreshingly, not too sweet but long on well-balanced flavor. While a bit pricey, they'd make a great snack for a hike, bike, ride or lunch.

While this Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, Kosher Dairy and Soy Free snack was not marked gluten-free, the ingredients list did not include any wheat-containing ingredients. (Manufactured on shared equipment with products containing soy, milk, eggs, wheat, peanuts, and other tree nuts.)

*Other Theo Chocolate snacking cluster flavors include Salted Almond and Lemon Hemp.
** Flavanols are phytonutrients found in cocoa beans and other plants. Each 5-piece serving (1/2 package) of this product "provides 50 mg of (cocoa) flavanols." 
***Turmeric has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. And one of the benefits of dark chocolate containing flavanols may be to support healthy blood flow and circulation.







Thursday, July 13, 2017

Vosges - Turmeric Ginger bar - July 13, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Vosges
Turmeric Ginger bar
Good
Weight: .375 oz. (10.6 g.) / 3 oz. (85 g) in total bar
Calories: 57.5 calories in 1 square, 1/8 bar
Cost: $8.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Vosges kiosk, O'Hare Chicago Airport, Chicago, IL

Welcome to the first day (Day #1) of Chocolate and Spices Theme Week.

Today's beautifully packaged Turmeric Ginger bar from Vosges (Chicago, IL) was a unique blend of Asian/Indian flavors: turmeric, ginger, coconut, sweet curry powder and black pepper in 45% dark milk chocolate.

Bold spice blends dominate yet complement and enhance mild foods like chicken, vegetables and/or rice.

However, getting all today's spices to harmonize with a bold acidic flavor like chocolate in this (or other chocolate) bar may have been too much to ask. The complex flavor blend would be fine in a "golden milk" coconut milk-based turmeric and spice beverage without chocolate, but maybe not with cacao.

The result was interesting, but some flavors seemed to be fighting each other a bit.

This Vosges bar was labeled as free of gluten and GMO ingredients.












Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Tillamook - Dark Chocolate Mint Ice Cream - July 12, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Tillamook
Dark Chocolate Mint - Extra Creamy Ice Cream
Good - Good +
Weight: 1/2 cup (98 g.) / 15.5 fl. oz. (458 mL) in total container
Calories: 270 calories in 1/2 cup serving
Cost: $3.99 (estimate) for 1 container
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to a bonus day, Day #8, of Chocolate and Mint Theme Week.

Today's Dark Chocolate Mint ice cream was from Tillamook County Creamery Association (Tillamook, OR).

This dark chocolate Oregon peppermint ice cream—with subtle swirls of ground, peppermint candy bits—was full of rich flavors that harmonized well.

It was flavored with "natural peppermint oil," made from cream and milk with "no artificial growth hormones," and appeared to have no artificial flavors.

It did have vegetable stabilizers (locust bean and guar gums); and while it did not explicitly include ingredients containing wheat or gluten, it was not labeled gluten free.*

*Made in a facility that processes other ingredients; may contain wheat.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Baskin-Robbins - Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream - July 11, 2017

Chocolate of the Day:

Baskin-Robbins
Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream
Good
Weight: 1/4 cup (44 g.) / 14 fl. oz. (414 mL) in total container
Calories: 105 calories in 1/4 cup serving
Cost: $3.99 (estimate) for 1 container
Purchased from: Safeway, Palo Alto, CA

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

Fond childhood summer memories often include trips to an ice cream store, such as Baskin-Robbins (founded in Southern California, now based in Canton, MA).

Baskin-Robbins Mint Chocolate Chip is one of the company's top selling flavors.* Mint ice cream with semi-sweet chocolate chips is a great summer (or anytime) flavor.

Cream was the #1 ingredient. The rest of the ingredients were more predictable for traditional mass-produced ice creams: sugar, corn syrup, semi-sweet chocolate chips, natural flavor, cellulose gum, mono and diglycerides...guar gum, carrageenan, polysorbate 80, and artificial colors (blue 1, yellow 5).

*The company website listed Mint Chocolate Chip, after Vanilla and Chocolate, as the first three in a short list of top selling flavors.



Monday, July 10, 2017

Seely - Mint Patty - July 10, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Seely Family Farm, Inc.
Mint Patty
Good - Good +
Weight: 1 oz. (28 g.) in total patty
Calories: 112 calories (estimate) in 1 patty
Cost: $2.65 for 1 patty
Purchased from: Draeger's Market, San Mateo, CA

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate and Mint Theme Week.

This dark chocolate covered Mint Patty from Seely Family Farm, Inc. (Clatskanie, OR) was "hand-crafted with Seely Heirloom Peppermint Oil," and was pure peppermint heaven.


Sunday, July 9, 2017

Rick's Rather Rich Ice Cream - Chocolate Chip ice cream + mint - July 9, 2017

Chocolate of the Day:

Rick's Rather Rich Ice Cream
Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Good - Good+
Weight: 1/2 cup / 1 Quart container
Calories: 250 calories (guesstimate) in 1/2 serving
Cost: $9.00 for 1 Quart container
Purchased from: Rick's Rather Rich Ice Cream, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate and Mint Theme Week.

Today's Chocolate Chip ice cream from Rick's Rather Rich Ice Cream (Palo Alto, CA) didn't have any mint in it.

However, this satisfying, light and creamy ice cream with flecks of dark chocolate was whirled in a blender with fresh mint leaves and a splash of mint tea and transformed into a tiny, refreshing mint milkshake.

The subtle hint of mint (from the backyard) worked very nicely in the blender—resulting in a home-grown version of mint chocolate chip ice cream that was less sweet than most (a good thing).












Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Oakland Chocolate Co. - Mint Crisp Bar - July 8, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

The Oakland Chocolate Company
Mint Crisp Bar - Jamaican Origin 70% Cacao
Good - Good +
Weight: 1 oz. (28.35 g.) in total bar
Calories: 155 calories (estimate) in 1 bar
Cost: $2.50 for 1 bar
Purchased from: The Oakland Chocolate Company, Oakland, CA

Welcome to Day #4 of Chocolate and Mint Theme Week.

Today's 70% Cacao Mint Crisp Bar was from The Oakland Chocolate Company (Oakland, CA). Chief chocolate maker, Nancy Nadel, makes bean-to-bar chocolates from scratch with cacao beans from Jamaica.

The company's chocolates can be ordered online, or purchased at some local haunts and farmers markets.

Summer is great fun, but not always for chocolate vendors. It's a challenge to sell or transport chocolate outdoors in hot summer weather.

But, Nancy Nadel at The Oakland Chocolate Company manages. She sells her chocolates on Fridays at the Old Oakland Farmers' Market in downtown Oakland, and was keeping her bars and confections in a cooler in the shade yesterday. I scurried back to an air-conditioned car with her chocolates after buying them as fast as possible.

The Mint Crunch Bar was a thick creamy bar with a slow melt, filled with earthy dark cacao bean flavor. A light sprinkling of candied cacao nibs (pieces of bean) supplied extra cacao flavor and crunchy texture. And peppermint oil provided a subtle hint of mint. Last, but not least, this bar wasn't overly sweet (a plus).







Divine Chocolate - 70% Dark Chocolate with Mint bar - July 7, 2017

Chocolate of the Day:

Divine Chocolate
70% Dark Chocolate with Mint bar
Good
Weight: 1.16 oz. (33.3 g.) / 3.5 oz. (100 g.) in total bar
Calories: 200 calories (per label) in 1/3 bar
Cost: $missing information
Purchased from: missing information

Welcome to Day #3 of Chocolate and Mint Theme Week. And, Happy World Chocolate Day in Europe/UK.

Today's Divine Chocolate 70% Dark Chocolate with Mint bar was made in Germany with Fairtrade cacao beans from the Kuapa Kokoo Farmers co-operative in Ghana (West Africa), and distributed by Divine Chocolate Inc. (Washington, D.C.). This was a true international bar.

The chocolate had a smooth, almost creamy texture, likely from a bit of added cocoa butter. The taste of tiny natural peppermint crisp pieces was authentic, pleasing, flavorful and even throughout the bar. An earthy dark chocolate flavor kept poking through the natural mint; otherwise the base chocolate was smooth in flavor as well.

Like other Divine Chocolate offerings, this dark mint bar was attractively packaged. The inside of the outer packaging, printed with colorful Adinkra (West African)-inspired symbols* contained educational information about the people/farmers behind the beans. Inside this outer wrapper the bar was covered in gold foil.

*Adrinka symbols often appear on West African cloth and hand-made crafts; and each symbol has its own meaning. (The only one I could decipher here meant "strength.")






Friday, July 7, 2017

Laraber Bites - Mint Chocolate Truffle - July 6, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Larabar Bites
Mint Chocolate Truffle
Good
Weight: 1.06 oz. (30 g.) / 5.3 oz. (150 g.) in total package
Calories: 130 calories in 1 serving (4 pieces)
Cost: $2.99 for 1 package
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #2 of Chocolate and Mint Theme Week.

Today's Mint Chocolate Truffle Larabar Bites were created by Larabar (Minneapolis, MN) and distributed by Small Planet Foods, Inc. (a division of General Mills).

These Bites came in bite-sized round ball shapes; and the most powerful flavors came from the mint, coconut and dried fruit/dates. Chocolate was more of a background flavor and texture.

The straight-forward ingredients list included just six items: dates, almonds, fair trade chocolate chips, cocoa powder, peppermint oil and coconut flour.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Casper's Ice Cream - Jolly Llama Mint Chocolate Chip Coconut Cream Pops - July 5, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Casper's Ice Cream
Jolly Llama
Mint Chocolate Chip - Coconut Cream Pops
Good - Good +
Weight: 3 fl. oz. (68 g.) / 12 fl. oz. (350 mL) in total box of 4
Calories: 160 calories in 1 pop
Cost: $missing price information for 1 box of 4 squeeze-up pops
Purchased from: missing information

Welcome to the last day (Day #7) of Chocolate and Coconut Theme Week, and Day #1 of Chocolate and Mint Theme Week.

The refreshing taste of mint never fails to disappoint on a hot summer day. Today's (cleverly named) Jolly Llama Mint Chocolate Chip Coconut Cream Pop from Casper's Ice Cream (Richmond, UT) was a satisfying, gluten and dairy free, Non GMO alternative to a traditional ice cream dessert.

Each creamy mint chocolate chip pop came in its own "push-up" tube wrapper that worked well and prevented drips and/or spills.















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