Thursday, August 16, 2018

Lake Champlain Chocolates - Filled Passion Fruit 80% Dark bar - Aug. 16, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Lake Champlain Chocolates
Filled Passion Fruit 80% Cocoa Dark bar
Good ++
Weight: 1.625 oz. (46 g.) / 3.25 oz. (92 g.) in total bar
Calories: 253.3 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $3.69 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Piazza's Fine Foods, Palo Alto, CA 

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

Today's Filled Passion Fruit 80% Cocoa bar from Lake Champlain Chocolates (Burlington, VT) was an intriguing combination of deep dark chocolate surrounding an creamy inner filling of tropical, tart, passion fruit.

The company has added a barely there touch of lime that also helps cut the sugar level (thank you). 

Normally, a smooth but bold 80% cocoa chocolate might overwhelm more delicate fruit flavors; but the two extremes co-existed rather beautifully and seductively in this bar.


Dove - Real Cherries in Dove Dark Chocolate - Aug. 15, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Dove*
Real Cherries Dipped in Dove Chocolate
Good - Good +
Weight: 3 oz. (~84 g.) / 17 oz. (482 g.) in total package
Calories: 400 calories in 2 servings
Cost: $8.49 for 1 package 
Purchased from: Target Stores, Mountain View, CA

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

These "Real Cherries Dipped in Silky Smooth Dove Dark Chocolate" were a slight departure from traditional Dove chocolate bars and offerings.

The slightly chewy, dried cherry centers had an authentic, slightly tart-sweet cherry flavor with chocolate richness surrounding the core fruit.

Glossy dark chocolate exteriors gave these rounds some shine and durability. Altogether, they were fairly tasty.

*The Dove brand is owned by Mars, Incorporated

Flax4Life - Dark Cherry Brownie flax muffins - Aug. 14, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Flax4Life
Dark Cherry Brownie
Good - Good +
Weight: 1.16 oz. (33 g.) / 14 oz. (396 g.) in total container
Calories: 130 calories in 1 muffin
Cost: $8.99 for 1 container of 12 muffins
Purchased from: Piazza's Fine Foods, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #8 of Chocolate Brownie Theme Week and Day #2 of Chocolate and Fruit Theme Week.

August is a great time for fresh summer fruits, including grapes, melons, figs, peaches and cherries. Today's container of Dark Cherry Brownie flax muffins was from Flax4Life (Bellingham, WA).

These dairy free, gluten free and nut free mini brownie muffins had sweet fudge brownie flavor and texture, with subtle, natural (dried, dark cherry) fruit flavor.







Monday, August 13, 2018

Muffin Revolution - Cha Cha Cha Cherry Chocolate Chia Muffins - Aug. 13, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Muffin Revolution
Cha Cha Cha Cherry Chocolate Chia Muffins
Good 
Weight: 2.25 oz. (65 g.) / 9 oz. (260 g.) in total container or 4 muffins
Calories: 170 calories in 1 muffin
Cost: $5.99 (guess) for 1 container of 4 muffins
Purchased from: Whole Foods Market, Los Altos, CA

Welcome to Day #7 of Chocolate Brownie Week.

Chocolate Cherry Chia Muffins from Muffin Revolution (Richmond, CA) 

This grain-free, paleo-friendly and Non-GMO muffin was satisfying and less sugary sweet than most muffins or brownies (thank you!).  Sweetness was supplied by dates and fruits.

The texture was slightly more coarse—it was made with blanched almond meal/flour—than processed white grain flours. The chocolate flavor was pleasing; and the cherry and chia flavors were so well incorporated they might be missed.

So, while this is technically a muffin and not a brownie, if one were to bake a less-sweet, paleo brownie it might be similar to today's chocolate cherry muffin. 

The Muffin Revolution muffins also contained fruits and vegetables (apples, bananas, blueberries, cherries, zucchini) and eggs.


Sunday, August 12, 2018

Picky Bars - Ah, Fudge Nuts! Cacao-Abunga Brownie bar - Aug. 12, 2018

Chocolate of the Day:

Picky Bars
Ah, Fudge Nuts! Cacao-Abunga Brownie
Good
Weight: 1.6 oz. (45 g.) in 1 bar
Calories: 200 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $2.50 for 1 bar
Purchased from: REI, Mountain View, CA

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate Brownie Theme Week.

Today's Ah, Fudge Nuts! Cacao-Abunga Brownie bar was from Picky Bars (Bend, OR).

This energy bar with the long name was thoughtfully constructed with a short list of ingredients by three professional athletes Lauren Fleshman, Jesse Thomas and Steph Bruce.

The gluten-free bar had a brownie and nut aroma, and a pleasant slightly fudgey chocolate chew. It contained 7 grams of protein, and had a clean finish—with no artificial after-taste that occasionally accompany some protein and energy bars.






Larabar - Double Chocolate Brownie Bites - Aug. 11, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Small Planet Foods, Inc. (distributed by)
Larabar - Double Chocolate Brownie Bites
Good
Weight: 1.06 oz. (30 g.) / 5.3 oz. (150 g.) in total package
Calories: 130 calories in 1 serving
Cost: $5.99 for 1 package
Purchased from: Whole Foods Market, Los Altos, CA

Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate Brownie Theme Week.

These Larabar Double Chocolate Brownie Bites were distributed by Small Planet Foods, Inc. (Minneapolis, MN).

They had a soft chew and a light, brownie-like look and texture inside. They were also Gluten Free, Non-GMO, Vegan and Dairy Free. And they contained a relatively short list of ingredients: dates, almonds, semi-sweet chocolate chips, cocoa powder, coconut flour and sea salt. The dates gave them a dried fruit sweetness and moistness.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Westminster - Lucy's Brownie Crisp Triple Chocolate gluten-free crisps - Aug. 9, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Westminster Cracker Company, Inc.
Lucy's Brownie Crisp Triple Chocolate gluten-free crisps
Good +
Weight: 1 oz. (28 g.) / 4.5 oz. (127 g.) in total package
Calories: 100 calories in 1 serving (3 pieces)
Cost: $4.29 for 1 package
Purchased from: Sprouts Farmers Market, Mountain View, CA

Welcome to Day #3 of Chocolate Brownie Theme Week.

Today's Lucy's Brownie Crisp Triple Chocolate Gluten Free Crisps were from Westminster Cracker Company, Inc. (Rutland, VT).

These Brownie Crisps had an aroma and flavor that were part brownie and part chocolate cookie. They were made with 72% chocolate chunks, 46% chocolate chips, sugar and a gluten-free flour blend, and they were, as advertised, light and crunchy.

In addition to being gluten-free, these brownie crisps were certified vegan and kosher; and contained no peanuts, tree nuts, milk or eggs; however, they did contain soy, oats and fava.* They were also Non-GMO Certified.

*Ingredients: Organic Cane Sugar, Flour Blend (Gluten-Free Oat, Garbanzo/Chickpea, Sorghum, Tapioca and Fava Flours), Vegan Chocolate Chips and Chunks (Sugar, Unsweetened Chocolate, Dextrose, Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin, Natural Vanilla Extract), (Organic) Soy Milk (Contains Carageenan, Cocoa, Expeller Pressed Canola Oil, Potato Starch, Leavening (Calcium Lactate, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Bitartrate), Cellulose Gum, Modified Cellulose), (Organic)Vanilla Extract, Baking Soda, Xanthan Gum, Salt.




Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Aloha - Chocolate Fudge Brownie bar - Aug. 8, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Aloha
Chocolate Fudge Brownie Organic Protein Bar
Good 
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 1.9 oz. (56 g.) in 1 bar
Calories: 117 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $2.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Cunha's Country Store, Half Moon Bay, CA
Welcome to Day #2 of Chocolate Brownie Theme Week.

Today's Chocolate Fudge Brownie Organic Protein Bar was made for Aloha (New York, NY).

The plant-based bar's protein was primarily derived from a pumpkin seed and brown rice protein blend and cashew butter.  

This organic protein bar's slightly chewy fudge brownie texture and flavor was almost enough to conceal a faint protein bar flavor.





Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Enjoy Life - soft baked Chewy Bars cocoa loco - Aug. 7, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Enjoy Life Natural Brands, LLC
soft baked Chewy Bars cocoa loco 
Good
Weight: 1.15 oz. (33 g.) / 5.75 oz. (165 g.) in box of 5 bars
Calories: 140 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $4.99 for 1 box of 5 bars
Purchased from: Sprouts Farmers Market, Mountain View, CA

Welcome to Day #1 of Chocolate Brownie Theme Week.

Today's individually-wrapped, cocoa loco, soft baked Chewy Bars from Enjoy Life Natural Brands, LLC (Chicago, IL) were a nice, small size.

These snack bars were, as advertised, soft and chewy, and had a "brownie texture." They were, perhaps most significantly, allergy friendly—made in a dedicated facility and free of a dozen or more common allergens, including gluten, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, soy, egg, sesame and more.

If you have a sweet tooth, you're in luck. These cocoa loco bars were quite sweet. (They were made with an alternative flour blend and sweetened with tapioca syrup, organic cane sugar, chocolate chips and date paste.)



Kind - Pressed by Kind Dark Chocolate Banana bar - Aug. 6, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Kind
Pressed by Kind Dark Chocolate Banana bar
Good - Good +
Weight: 1.34 oz. (38 g.) in 1 bar
Calories: 130 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $1.67 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Safeway, Danville, CA

Welcome to Day #7 of Chocolate and Costa Rica Theme Week.

The biggest agricultural exports in Costa Rica have been bananas and pineapples. So, today, we're honoring one of these fruits, the banana, two different ways. 

The first item was a Pressed by Kind Dark Chocolate Banana bar. It was rich and chewy, with concentrated dried banana moistness and sweetness, drizzled and backed with dark chocolate.

The second item was a blend of several left-over, single origin Costa Rican chocolate bars, melted into a fondue and eaten with banana chips (from Bare Snacks). Yum.





Sibu Chocolate - Costa Rica 45% Cardamom & Coffee bar - Aug. 5, 2018

Chocolate of the Day:

Sibu Chocolate
Costa Rica 45% Cacao Cardamom and Coffee Milk Chocolate bar
Good +++ - Very Good
Weight: .88 oz. (25 g.) / 1.76 oz. (50 g.) in total bar
Calories: 105 calories (per label) in 1/2 bar 
Cost: $10.00 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: The Chocolate Garage, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate and Costa Rica Theme Week.

If you like cardamom, today's Costa Rica 45% Cacao Cardamom and Coffee Milk Chocolate bar from Sibu Chocolate (San Isidro, Heredia,  Costa Rica) will be a flavorful and delicious find.

The cacao used to make this bar was sourced from a single estate in Guacimo, Limon, Costa Rica, from a Rainforest Alliance Certified Cacao farm. 

This single origin milk chocolate bar had notes of upbeat cardamom (slight tropical punch, bubble gum note) anchored by a lovely coffee-milk (think high-end, coffee ice cream) flavor. The single origin chocolate provided a rich backdrop for these two flavor inclusions.

*Ingredients: chocolate (organic cacao beans, organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter, milk powder), coffee, cardamom

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Sibu Chocolate - Costa Rica 70% Cacao Dark Chocolate bar - Aug. 4, 2018

Chocolate of the Day:

Sibu Chocolate
Costa Rica 70% Cacao (Negro) Dark Chocolate bar
Good + - Good ++
Weight: .88 oz. (25 g.) / 1.76 oz. (50 g.) in total bar
Calories: 70 calories (per label) in 1/2 bar 
Cost: $10.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: The Chocolate Garage, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate and Costa Rica Theme Week.
Today's Costa Rica 70% Cacao Dark Chocolate (Negro) bar was from Sibu Chocolate (San Isidro, Heredia, Costa Rica).

The cacao used to make this three-ingredient* bar was sourced from a single estate in Guacimo, Limon, Costa Rica, from a Rainforest Alliance Certified Cacao farm.

This 70% dark bar was relatively smooth and sweet and had balanced red and dried fruit notes.

*Ingredients: organic cacao beans, organic cane sugar, organic cacao butter

Friday, August 3, 2018

Sibu Chocolate - Costa Rica 45% Coffee Toffee Milk Chocolate bar - Aug. 3, 2018

Chocolate of the Day:

Sibu Chocolate
Costa Rica 45% Cacao Coffee Toffee Milk Chocolate bar
Good ++
Weight: .88 oz. (25 g.) / 1.76 oz. (50 g.) in total bar
Calories: 70 calories (per label) in 1/2 bar 
Cost: $10.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: The Chocolate Garage, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #4 of Chocolate and Costa Rica Theme Week.

Today's Costa Rica 45% Cacao Coffee Toffee Milk Chocolate bar from Sibu Chocolate (San Isidro, Heredia,  Costa Rica) was made in Costa Rica with Rainforest Alliance Certified Cacao grown on a single estate in Limon Province. It was the second of four Sibu single origin bars that will be featured this week.

Lighter in color, this 45% cacao bar contained a pleasingly complex blend of aroma and flavor notes: sweet, slightly fermented cacao and milk, and very light coffee and caramel. Buttery, crunchy toffee bits were interspersed throughout the bar. 

*Ingredients: Chocolate (organic cocoa mass, organic sugar, organic cocoa butter, milk powder), sugar, butter, coffee, sea salt

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Sibu Chocolate - Costa Rica 82% Cacao Extra Dark bar - Aug. 2, 2018

Chocolate of the Day:

Sibu Chocolate
Costa Rica 82% Cacao Extra Dark (ORO) Chocolate bar
Good + - Good ++
Weight: .88 oz. (25 g.) / 1.76 oz. (50 g.) in total bar
Calories: 70 calories (per label) in 1/2 bar 
Cost: $10.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: The Chocolate Garage, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #3 of Chocolate and Costa Rica Theme Week.

True, the largest exports from Costa Rica are bananas, pineapple and coffee, but Costa Rica also has all the right conditions for growing cacao, including temperate rainforests and proximity to the Equator (9-10 degrees North).*

Today's Costa Rica 82% Cacao Extra Dark Chocolate (ORO) bar was from Sibu Chocolate (San Isidro, Heredia,  Costa Rica).  This was the first of four Sibu bars to be sampled this week.

This three-ingredient** bar had a pleasing dark chocolate aroma with quiet, but lush, green notes. The flavor was very smooth and slightly sweet for an extra dark bar, with a very slight fermented milk note and a hint of balanced coffee in the aftertaste. Great flavor for little sugar.

The cacao used to make this bar was sourced from a Rainforest Alliance Certified Cacao farm and single estate in Guacimo, Limon (located on the Atlantic/East coast side of) Costa Rica.

*Cacao grows in a band 20 degrees north and south of the Equator. In the U.S., Hawaii, is sometimes referred to as the north pole of cacao growth—located between 20-22 degrees north of the Equator. It is the only U.S. state where you're likely to see cacao grown commercially.

**Ingredients: organic cocoa mass, organic cocoa butter, organic sugar




Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Potomac Chocolate - Upala Costa Rica 85% bar - Aug. 1, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Potomac Chocolate
Upala Costa Rica 85% bar 
Good ++
Weight: .88 oz. (25 g.) / 1.76 oz. (50 g.) in total bar
Calories: 132 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $11.00 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: The Chocolate Garage, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #2 of Chocolate and Costa Rica Theme Week.

Today's Upala Costa Rica 85% bar was crafted from bean-to-bar in Potomac Chocolate (Woodbridge, VA). The company offers a line of single origin bars and some with carefully-selected inclusions.*

This single origin, ultra-dark bar had dark chocolate, green, caramel, fruit (cherry plum, nectarine, grapefruit) and coffee aroma and flavor notes. It had a hint of bitterness one might expect with a very high percentage (85% cacao) bar, but was also surprisingly sweet.

The cacao used to make this bar was grown by Finca La Amistad, a small farm in northern Costa Rica.

The maker's description read: "...rich and earthy with notes of coffee, nut and red fruit."

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