Thursday, January 26, 2017

Hu Products - Salty Chocolate Bar - Jan. 26, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

Hu Products LLC
Salty Chocolate Bar
Good + - Good ++
Weight: 1.05 oz. (30 g.) / 2.1 oz. (60 g.) in total bar
Calories: 170 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $ N/A - sample
Purchased from: N/A - sample bar from vendor

Greetings all and welcome to Day #11 of Chocolate and Alternative Sweetener Theme Week.

I'm fascinated by what it takes to be a successful small business. At the heart of every small business are people who are working to be successful humans and to have their efforts radiate/translate outwards via their products they create.

The opportunity to enjoy today's Salty Chocolate Bar from Hu Products, LLC (New York, NY) gave me a chance to learn about another small business, and the Hu (as in humans) at its center, who are interested in the best that pre-industrial food has to offer. I met some of the team last week at the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco.

The humans at Hu also happen to be very pragmatic. They run restaurants/kitchens, that demand consistent quality and output...great training for any entrepreneur. Their philosophy involves getting back to unprocessed foods. (Think paleo and vegan.)

Today's thick, Hu Salty Chocolate Bar had a rich aroma and a constellation of tiny salt crystals sprinkled on the back of the bar that will more than satisfy that secret salt craving we all occasionally have. And the 72% stone-ground cacao (liquor-to-bar) smooth, dark chocolate was very satisfying.

However, the highlight may have been Hu's choice of sweetener—unrefined organic coconut sugar rather than refined/cane sugar—for this 4-ingredient* bar, that gave the chocolate a back-to-the-land, rich, deep brown sugar-molasses sweetness. I liked this authentic, hearty, unrefined flavor.

Sweet Choices
Cane sugar is often viewed as a "blank" canvas (that doesn't interfere with certain cacao flavor notes) that may even heighten the cacao tasting experience. But, not getting a sugar buzz is also enjoyable and can make for a more enjoyable tasting experience.

I'm delighted we live in a chocolate golden era with so many choices. Sweeteners are raw materials, and blending different gluten-free** ingredients with cacao is at the heart of what I write about.

Thank you to all chocolate makers who continue to experiment with different sweeteners or quantities of same. Artists choose different pigment types and colors, different media, to produce great works of art. Caring about and fussing with materials, edible or otherwise, is part of being a successful, creative human.

*The four ingredients were: organic, fair trade cacao, unrefined organic coconut sugar, organic fair trade cocoa butter, sea salt.
** This bar contained no gluten; dairy; refined sugar, cane sugar or sugar alcohols; GMOs; emulsifiers/soy lecithin. 

HealthSmart ChocoRite Sugar Free Dark Chocolate Bar - Jan. 25, 2017

Chocolate of the Day: 

HealthSmart Foods, Inc.
Sugar Free, Dark Chocolate Bar
Weight: 1 oz. (28 g.) / 5 oz. (141 g.) in total box of 5 bars
Calories: 110 calories per bar
Cost: $ N/A - sample from vendor
Purchased from: N/A - sample from vendor

Welcome to Day #10 of Chocolate and Alternative Sweetener Theme Week.

I've found many more sugar-free and sugar-alternative chocolates than I first planned for, so this will be another deluxe/extended "week."

I met the folks behind ChocoRite Dark Chocolate Bars (HealthSmart Foods, Inc., Evansville, IN) at the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco last weekend. Thank you to this group who shared product samples and told me a little bit about their product line.

This company specializes in sugar-free chocolate items. Today's Dark Chocolate Bar was sweetened with stevia.* I liked their packaging (boxes containing smaller 1 oz. (28 g.) individually wrapped bars), as I frequently share chocolate with others and/or take along chocolate for snacks during the day, at work, or while on a hike.

The stevia sweetener blend* (with erythritol and inulin) tasted fairly natural and didn't completely overwhelm the chocolate; and there was no adverse after-taste. It's nice to have sugar free and gluten free chocolate options.

Ten years ago, if I'd run a theme week like this, the sugar-free alternatives would have been more limited, and likely would have contained more artificial ingredients and sweeteners.

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