Monday, July 16, 2018

Flax 4 Life - Chocolate Brownie + bourbon ice cream, whiskey nibs - July 16, 2018

Chocolate of the Day:

Flax 4 Life
Chocolate Brownie (muffin)
Good ++
Weight: 1.16 oz. (33 g.) / 14 oz. (396 g.) in total container
Calories: 140 calories in 1 muffin
Cost: $4.99 for 1 container
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #7 of Chocolate, Bourbon and Whiskey Theme Week; and Day #1 of Chocolate and Seeds Theme Week.

Today's mini-muffin shaped Chocolate Brownie from Flax 4 Life (Bellingham, WA) was part dessert and part health-food. (The number one dry ingredient was ground flax seeds.)

Sadly, we may have neutralized some of the health benefits by pairing this cute and delicious muffin with a shot of Bourbon Maple Blondie ice cream sprinkled with whiskey-soaked cacao nibs. The nibs helped add flavor depth and texture and helped balance the creamy, caramel sweetness of the ice cream. Cheers.



Sunday, July 15, 2018

Timothy Adams - Bourbon, Scotch and Cognac chocolates - July 15, 2018

Chocolate(s) of the Day: 

Timothy Adams Chocolates
Bourbon, Scotch and Cognac chocolates
Good ++, Good ++ and Good +++
Weight: .39 (11 g.) (estimate) x 3 = 1.17 oz. (33 g.) in 3 pieces
Calories: 175.5 calories (estimate) in 3 pieces
Cost: $7.50 (estimate) for 3 pieces
Purchased from: Timothy Adams, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate, Bourbon and Whiskey Theme Week.

Today's trio of dark chocolate truffles (Bourbon, Scotch and Cognac) were created by Timothy Adams Chocolates (Palo Alto, CA).

Each had a 58% creamy filling infused with the spirit of choice, and was covered in a 72% dark chocolate shell.

All three flavors were worth sampling. And a side-by-side, blind tasting was enjoyable and informative.




Saturday, July 14, 2018

Ben and Jerry's - Urban Bourbon Ice Cream - July 14, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream
Urban Bourbon Ice Cream
Good - Good+
Weight: 1/2 cup (109 g.) / 1 Pint (473 mL) in total container
Calories: 300 calories in 1/2 cup serving
Cost: $2.50 (sale) for 1 container
Purchased from: Safeway, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate, Bourbon and Whiskey Theme Week.

There was a lot going in today's Ben and Jerry's Urban Bourbon Ice Cream. Imagine alternating flashes of toasted caramel, coconut, almonds, chocolate (fudge flakes) and bourbon—all packed into a cold, rich ice cream breakfast.

This ice cream contained enough sugar and spirits to fuel a trip into the urban San Francisco and—at 300 calories for a single (1/2 cup) serving—keep hunger at bay until lunchtime.

Note to gluten free eaters, this Urban Bourbon ice cream is probably not gluten free. In between the cocoa powder and the guar gum in the ingredients list was dry malt extract (barley).


Friday, July 13, 2018

Chocolate Tree - Whisky Nibs 70% bar - July 13, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Chocolate Tree
Whisky Nibs 70% bar
Good+
Weight: 1.4 oz. (40 g.) / 2.8 oz. (80 g.) in total bar
Calories: 196 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $11.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #4 of Chocolate, Bourbon and Whiskey* Theme Week.

Today's Whisky Nibs 70% bar was from Chocolate Tree (Dunbar, Scotland). The presence of spirits was unmistakable in this five-ingredient dark bar (cacao beans, organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter, cacao nibs (10%), whisky (6%)). 

The makers selected cacao nibs from the Maranon Canyon in Peru; and these nibs were soaked in single malt Scotch whisky from Islay, an island known for whisky with peaty flavor notes. These nibs were then blended with cacao from the same origin (Peru) to make 70% cacao dark chocolate—two individually-wrapped bars in today's package.

The nibs provided some texture as well as boozy, authentic whisky flavor and aroma.

*You say whisky, I say whiskey...Which spelling is correct? The spelling differences are largely regional; but they are also tied to pride of origin and specific product classifications as well. E.g., the Scots use "whisky" without an "e" and Scotch whisky (usually made with malted barley) is made in Scotland, whereas the Irish refer to Irish "whiskey" with an "e." You may find both spellings in the U.S. However, Bourbon Whiskey (with an "e") refers to a specific whiskey made in the U.S., generally in Kentucky (from corn).




Thursday, July 12, 2018

Ritual Chocolate - Vanilla Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla 70% bar - July 12, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Ritual Chocolate
Vanilla Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla 70% Cacao bar
Good +++ - Very Good
Weight: 1.06 oz. (30 g.) / 2.12 oz. (60 g.) in total bar
Calories: 159 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $14.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: The Chocolate Garage, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #3 of Chocolate, Bourbon and Whiskey Theme Week.

This Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla 70% Cacao bar "crafted at 7,000 feet" by Ritual Chocolate (Park City, UT) managed to attain an ideal state: a creamy, smooth texture and complex, rich flavor.

To get a creamier texture or mouth-feel, a chocolate maker usually conches or grinds cacao for a longer period of time, achieving a finer particle size. However, in doing so, more volatile flavors can be lost during this process. This chocolate was made using a special (Mid Mountain) house blend of cacao beans from different origins.

Today's complex, well-balanced dark chocolate bar contained flavor notes of cherry and vanilla—but not just flat, dime store vanillin in alcohol. Rather, it was an earthy, faintly smokey, authentic ground vanilla bean vanilla, from Madagascar. High-quality Bourbon* vanilla from Madagascar-grown beans is much prized. 

*The term "Bourbon vanilla" does not involve any whiskey. Instead it refers to vanilla beans (orchid Vanilla planifolia) originally from the Americas, that were (like cacao and other crops) taken to be cultivated in Madagascar and other islands in the Indian Ocean. (One of these colonial islands was once known as Ile Bourbon.) Bourbon vanilla is slightly different than Mexican vanilla and quite a bit different than Tahitian vanilla (which is more aromatically floral).

Ritual Chocolate - Bourbon Barrel Aged 75% bar - July 11, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Ritual Chocolate
Bourbon Barrel Aged 75% Cacao bar
Good +++ - Very Good
Weight: 1.06 oz. (30 g.) / 2.12 oz. (60 g.) in total bar
Calories: 159 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $18.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: The Chocolate Garage, Palo Alto, CA

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

Today's Bourbon Barrel Aged 75% Cacao bar from Ritual Chocolate (Park City, UT) was made from a blend of cacao nibs that were aged in High West Distillery* bourbon whiskey barrels for several months.

This 75% Cacao dark chocolate bar had a dark chocolate and slight bourbon aroma. The vegan,  relatively thin, bar had an even, smooth melt—and a complex, smooth and uniform dark chocolate flavor with notes of coffee, very slightly smokey, bourbon-soaked fruit (mild cherry), light oak and honey, and a slight nuttiness.

The bar came with this evocative tasting suggestion: "Best enjoyed alongside an alpine babbling brook with a flask of your favorite whiskey."

*Based in Park City/Salt Lake City (Utab), the High West Distillery is a "ski-in gastro-distillery." Their Old Town Park City mountain location (approx. 7,000 ft. in elevation) is based at the bottom of "Quittin' Time" ski run near the Town Lift. 





Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Lake Champlain - Filled Bourbon Caramel bar - July 10, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Lake Champlain
Filled Bourbon Caramel bar
Good - Good +
Weight: 3.25 oz. (92 g.) in total bar
Calories: 425 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $3.69 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Piazza's Fine Foods, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #1 of Chocolate, Bourbon and Whiskey Theme Week.

Today's Filled Bourbon Caramel Dark Milk bar was from Lake Champlain Chocolates (Burlington, VT). 

Made with dark milk 43% cocoa dark milk chocolate, this bar was a bit sweet, but over the course of one day and evening, I still managed to eat the whole bar.

Vermont-crafted Mad River Distiller's bourbon added a tasty accent flavor to the soft caramel filling and helped balance the sweetness.






Monday, July 9, 2018

Wella Bar - Hazelnut Cacao Chilled Organic Protein Bar - July 9, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Wella Bar
Hazelnut Cacao Chilled Organic Protein Bar
Good +
Weight: 1.4 oz. (40 g.) / 11.2 oz. (320 g.) in total box of 8 bars
Calories: 190 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $24.00 for 1 box of 8 bars (approx. $3.00 each)
Purchased from: Wella Bar, online order 
Welcome to Day #9 of Chocolate and Honey Theme Week.

Refrigerated protein and energy bars with honey seem to be enjoying a surge in popularity this year. Today's Wella Bar Hazelnut Cacao Chilled Organic Protein Bar was distributed by Lockhart Fine Foods (Lockhart, TX).

The company produces a line of chilled, honey-sweetened, protein bars, including some with chocolate—mixed with nuts/nut butters.

The number one ingredient in this gluten-free bar was organic hazelnut butter (dry roasted hazelnuts, cashew butter, sunflower oil, coconut oil). The number two ingredient was organic honey.

And, speaking of honey, the Wella Bar website included information about bees and the Bee Kind Initiative, and included the reminder that 1 out of 3 bites of our food is linked to the pollination work that bees do for us.

The bar contained 8 grams of protein, and was relatively low in sodium (20 mg).




Sunday, July 8, 2018

Honey Stinger - Vanilla and Chocolate Flavored Waffle - July 8, 2018

Chocolate of the Day:

EN-R-G Foods, LLC dba Honey Stinger
Honey Stinger - Vanilla and Chocolate Flavored Waffle
Good
Weight: 1.06 oz. (30 g.) in total package
Calories: 140 calories in 1 waffle
Cost: $1.75 for 1 package
Purchased from: ZombieRunner, Palo Alto, CA

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

Today's Gluten Free Organic Vanilla and Chocolate Flavored Waffle was from EN-R-G Foods, LLC dba* Honey Stinger (Steamboat Springs, CO).

This ultra-thin, round waffle had a soft crispy-chewy texture and the aroma of a honey-sweetened baked good. The gluten-free, organic waffle had a pleasant vanilla flavor with a hint of chocolate.

And, this securely packaged treat is suitable for fueling a hike, or I'm sure any one of many other activities printed on the waffle packaging: "ski, wrestle, fish, bull ride, climb, lift, surf, split wood, ride"...etc.

*dba stands for "doing business as"






Saturday, July 7, 2018

Heavenly Organics - Peanut Chocolate Honey Patties - July 7, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Heavenly Organics
Peanut Chocolate Honey Patties
Good
Weight: 1.16 oz. (33 g.) in 1 package of 3 patties
Calories: 170 calories in 3 patties
Cost: $1.79 for 1 package of 3 patties
Purchased from: Country Sun

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

Today's Peanut Chocolate Honey Patties from Heavenly Organics were distributed by Fairfield Organics, LLC (Keota, IA).

Made with only 4 ingredients (raw organic white honey, unsweetened organic dark chocolate, organic defatted peanut flour and Himalayan sea salt), these organic patties were gluten, soy and dairy free and made without traditional refined sugar.

The dark chocolate shell is made with 100% cocoa.





Friday, July 6, 2018

Elements Truffles - Ginger Black Pepper bar - July 6, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Elements Truffles
Ginger infused with Black Pepper 70% Cacao bar
Good
Weight: 1 oz. (28 g.) / 2 oz. (56 g.) in total bar
Calories: 130 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $7.95 for 1 bar
Purchased from: ZombieRunner,  Palo Alto, CA

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

Today's Ginger infused with Black Pepper 70% Cacao bar was from Elements Truffles (Kearny, NJ).

This raw, dairy-free bar was sweetened with raw honey and contained no refined sugar. It had very pleasing authentic ginger flavor with a very subtle hint of black pepper.

The cacao used to make this bar was "ethically sourced" from Ecuador. And added cocoa butter helped give this bar a slightly soft bite and buttery texture.





Thursday, July 5, 2018

Heavenly Organics - Pomegranate Chocolate Honey Patties - July 5, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Heavenly Organics
Pomegranate Chocolate Honey Patties
Good
Weight: 1.16 oz. (33 g.) in 1 package of 3 patties
Calories: 160 calories in 1 package of 3 patties
Cost: $1.79 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Country Sun Natural Foods, Palo Alto, CA

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

Today's Pomegranate Chocolate Honey Patties from Heavenly Organics were distributed by Fairfield Organics, LLC (Keota, IA), and contained only three ingredients: raw white honey, 100% (unsweetened) dark chocolate* and pomegranate flavor. (Thank you!)

The company's Honey Patties line includes multiple flavors, including original, mint, double dark, and this week's pomegranate and peanut.

These organic and gluten-, soy- and dairy-free patties provided a distinct contrast in flavors. A taste of very sweet honey filling was followed by a slightly bitter, unsweetened dark chocolate (coating) flavor and finish, followed by a more balanced aftertaste. The pomegranate flavor was very subtle, but may have contributed to the contrast in flavors.

The three small patties in one package were easily shared with others or enjoyed as a satisfying single serving. As with every filled chocolate, be careful they are stored in a cool, dark place and not in a back pocket or somewhere where they might be squished.

*The organic honey and chocolate were both Fair for Life certified.


Lake Champlain Chocolates - It's hot honey bar - July 4, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Lake Champlain Chocolates
It's hot honey bar
Good 
Weight: .65 oz. (18.4 g.) / 3.25 oz. (92 g.) in total bar
Calories: 99 calories (estimate) in 1/5 bar (2 squares)
Cost: $1.50 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Piazza's Fine Foods, Palo Alto, CA
Welcome to Day #4 of Chocolate and Honey Theme Week.

Today's "It's hot honey" bar from Lake Champlain Chocolates (Burlington, VT) was a filled, dark chocolate bar with a slight spicy sizzle. Perfect amount for a 4th of July chocolate.

This 57% cocoa, organic and kosher bar was filled with rich caramel infused with Vermont honey and habanero chili pepper.
The 2017 sofi Bronze Award Finalist bar was Fair for Life Certified, and made with 67% Fair Trade ingredients.


Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Wilde Chocolate - Hey Honey! Smooth bar - July 3, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Wilde Chocolate 
Hey Honey! Smooth bar
Good - Good +
Weight: 1 oz. (28 g.) in 1 bar
Calories: 160 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $4.39 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Country Sun Natural Foods, Palo Alto, CA

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

Today's Hey Honey! Smooth bar was from Wilde Chocolate (Santa Cruz, CA).

This thin, smooth, 70% cacao, raw dark chocolate bar with a light honey* sweetness provided satisfying and even dark chocolate flavor that wasn't too heavy or buzzy.

The cacao used to make this chocolate was from Ecuador. The bar was dairy free, soy free, cane sugar free and paleo.

*Ingredients: "Raw organic cacao, raw organic honey, raw organic cacao butter, himalayan sea salt, raw organic vanilla bean"

Monday, July 2, 2018

Base Culture - Almond Butter Brownie - July 2, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Base Culture, LLC
Almond Butter Brownie
Good+++
Weight: 2.2 oz. (62 g.) in 1 package/brownie
Calories: 280 calories in 1 brownie
Cost: $2.19 for 1 package/brownie
Purchased from: Country Sun Natural Foods, Palo Alto, CA

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

This Almond Butter Brownie was created by Base Culture, LLC (Clearwater, FL). And this brownie's number one ingredient was honey.* 

The lovely thing about dense, moist chocolate brownies is that so many gluten-free versions taste great. Today's brownie was very tasty, and was made with the aforementioned honey, cashew butter, coconut oil, unsweetened chocolate, almond butter, cocoa powder, coconut flour, water, baking soda, cream of tartar, sea salt.

While this brownie may not work for those with nut allergies, this paleo-style individually-wrapped brownie was "grain free, gluten free, paleo, Non-GMO, kosher, dairy free, soy free, and preservative free."







Perfect Bar - Almond Coconut bar - July 1, 2018

Chocolate of the Day:

Perfect Bar, LLC
Almond Coconut bar
Good
Weight: 2.3 oz. (65 g.) in total bar
Calories: 290 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $N/A - gift from family
Purchased from: Costco, Mountain View, CA

Welcome to Day #7 of Chocolate and Coconut Theme Week, and Day #1 of Chocolate and Honey Theme Week.

The Almond Coconut refrigerated protein bar from Perfect Bar (San Diego, CA) was satisfying, chewy, and surprisingly sweet (organic dates and cranberries, organic apple juice concentrate and honey). This organic, gluten-free bar had rich coconut and almond flavor with a touch of cocoa.

The 8 grams of protein in the bar were primarily supplied by organic almond butter, organic hemp protein and chia powder, and other vegetable oils and fruit and vegetable powders were also incorporated into the bar.





Saturday, June 30, 2018

Theo - Salted Almond Chocolate Clusters - June 30, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Theo Chocolate
Salted Almond Chocolate Clusters
Good
Weight: 1.4 oz. (40 g.) / 2.8 oz. (80 g.) in total package
Calories: 230 calories in 1/2 package
Cost: $0.99 (sale) for 1 package
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

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

Today's Salted Almond Chocolate Clusters from Theo Chocolate (Seattle, WA) contained dark chocolate, almonds, quinoa, and...drum roll please...coconut. Not a bad flavor combination for a snack, and accented with a shake of pink salt. I could have done without the salt; but most people will like this blend.

These small haystack-like, bite-sized chocolate rounds were certified Organic, Non-GMO verified, and made with fair for life ingredients.







Friday, June 29, 2018

Wilde Chocolate - Coconut Nectar Crunch bar - June 29, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Wilde Chocolate 
Coconut Nectar Crunch bar
Good - Good +
Weight: 1 oz. (28 g.) in total bar
Calories: 170 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $2.99 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: Country Sun Natural Foods, Palo Alto, CA  
Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate and Coconut Theme Week.

The coconut featured in this chocolate is not coconut "meat" or "cream," but rather coconut sugar* used as a sweetener in instead of refined cane sugar.

Today's 70% Cacao Coconut Nectar Crunch bar was made with raw organic cacao and cocoa butter (giving the chocolate a relatively mild, dark flavor); organic coconut sugar and raw vanilla bean (yielding a pleasant crunchy texture with natural sweetness); and a touch of sea salt.

This dairy free, soy free, vegan and paleo bar was made by Wilde Chocolate (Santa Cruz, CA).

*Coconut palm sugar (produced from coconut palm flower bud/stem sap) generally scores lower on the glycemic index and in a less refined form imparts a bit of natural sugar flavor. It does not generally yield a strong coconut flavor.


Thursday, June 28, 2018

Chuao Chocolatier - Organic Dark Chocolate Moon Bar - Coconut Almond Radiance

Chocolate of the Day: 

Chuao Chocolatier
Coconut Almond Radiance - Organic Dark Chocolate Moon Bark 
Good
Weight: 1.4 oz. (40 g.) in total package
Calories: 200 calories in 1 package  
Purchased from: missing information

Welcome to Day #4 of Chocolate and Coconut Theme Week.
Today's Coconut Almond Radiance Organic Dark Chocolate Moon Bark was from Chuao Chocolatier (Carlsbad, CA).

This disc- or moon-shaped chocolate had a slightly crunchy texture. The base 72% (fair trade) dark chocolate was decorated, mendiant*-style, with toasted coconut, dates and salted caramelized almonds.
On the flip side (not pictured in this post), the disc was scored into quarters, the following words appeared: "Moon Vibes Only." Coincidentally we were out last night admiring our wondrous summer moon; it was shining between branches in the backyard. What a treat.

*A mendiant is a French-style chocolate confection, usually round and flat, with nuts and fruits pressed into or dropped/placed onto a cooling chocolate disc. Each inclusion was said to represent one of the monastic orders in France, and possibly to represent the colors of monks" robes.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Ben and Jerry's - Coconuts for Caramel Core Ice Cream - June 27, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Ben and Jerry's
Coconuts for Caramel Core Ice Cream
Good
Weight: 1/2 cup (106 g.) / 1 Pint (473 mL) in total container
Calories: 270 calories in 1 serving (1/2 cup)
Cost: $2.50 (sale) in 1 container
Purchased from: missing information

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

Today's Coconuts for Caramel Core Ice Cream was from Ben and Jerry's* Ice Cream (South Burlington, VT). 

Caramel ice cream and coconut ice cream—flecked with chocolate pieces ("fudge flakes")—surrounded a central well of golden brown caramel. The combination created a built-in ice cream sundae.

No flavors were particularly strong in this blend; and, in fact, the coconut flavor was fairly mild.

*The Ben and Jerry's brand is owned by Unilever.






Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Sun-Rype - Good Bites Chocolate Macaroon(s) - June 26, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Sun-Rype Products
Good Bites - Chocolate Macaroon(s)
Good
Weight: 1.06 oz. (30 g.) / 5.3 oz. (150 g.) in total package
Calories: 130 calories in 1 serving (3 pieces)
Cost: $4.99 for 1 package
Purchased from: Safeway, Dublin, CA
Welcome to Day #2 of Chocolate and Coconut Theme Week.

These featured Chocolate Macaroon Good Bites were from Sun-Rype Products Ltd. (Kelowna, BC, Canada). The company's roots date back to 1946, when Sun-Rype got its start in the fresh fruit and beverage (juice) market.

Today's Chocolate Macaroon Good Bites contained dates, seeds (sunflower, flax, pumpkin, chia), coconut and chocolate and cocoa powder, with a touch of apple juice concentrate and sea salt.

The chewy bites had balanced fruity chocolate and coconut flavor, and the softened seeds added a bit of texture.











Monday, June 25, 2018

Larabar - Larabar Bites Cherry Chocolate Chip - June 25, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Larabar
Larabar Bites - Cherry Chocolate Chip
Good
Weight: 1.06 oz. (30 g.) / 5.3 oz. (150 g.) in total package
Calories: 130 calories in 1 serving
Cost: $1.99 for 1 package
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA 

Welcome to Day #8 of Chocolate, Cherry and Berry Theme Week, and Day #1 of Chocolate and Coconut Theme Week.

Today's Cherry Chocolate Chip Larabar Bites were distributed by Small Planet Foods, Inc. (Denver, CO). 

These soft, slightly chewy, balls of rich, fruity, chocolate and cherry flavor were gluten free, Non-GMO, vegan and dairy free.

Made with a short, well-balanced list of ingredients (dates, almonds, semisweet chocolate chips, dried cherries, coconut flour, sea salt), these were naturally sweet and satisfying.






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