Saturday, September 22, 2018

Celebrating 12 Yrs. of Chocolate - Magnum Milk Chocolate Hazelnut ice cream - Sept. 22, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Unilever
Magnum Milk Chocolate Hazelnut ice cream
Good - Good +
Weight: 1/3 cup (55 g.) / 14.8 fl. oz. (440 mL) in total container
Calories: 185 calories in 1/3 cup
Cost: $4.99 (estimate) for 1 container
Purchased from: Safeway (missing location information)

Welcome to Day #12 of Celebrating 12-Years of Chocolate Series, and Day #2 of Chocolate and Ice Cream Theme Week.

Today's Magnum Milk Chocolate Hazelnut ice cream was from Unilever (Englewood Cliffs, NJ).

The unique feature about this relatively new offering was: "Squeeze to Crack" packaging—a hybrid of a large, chocolate-coated ice cream bar and a container of ice cream.

When you squeeze the plastic container, the chocolate "lining" or coating breaks with a crunch. Then you can enjoy bites of hazelnut ice cream mixed with milk chocolate shards. Fun concept.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Celebrating 12 Yrs. of Chocolate - Magnum Double Chocolate Hazelnut ice cream bars - Sept. 21, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Unilever
Magnum Double Chocolate Hazelnut ice cream bars
Good
Weight: 3.04 oz. (90 g.) / 9.12 oz. (270 mL) in total package of 3 bars
Calories: 280 calories in 1 ice cream bar
Cost: $4.99 (estimate) for 1 package of 3 ice cream bars
Purchased from: Safeway (missing location information)

Welcome to Day #11 of Celebrating 12 Years of Chocolate Series, and Day #1 of Chocolate and Ice Cream Theme Week.

Continuing the chocolate and hazelnut ice cream thread started with yesterday's Turkish Choco Hazelnut ice cream, and in response to a last blast of hot summer weather, today's chocolate came fresh from the freezer: Magnum Double Chocolate Hazelnut ice cream bars from Unilever (Englewood Cliffs, NJ).

Each ice cream bar was composed of chocolate hazelnut ice cream dipped in a "chocolatey coating," hazelnut sauce and milk chocolate.

Constructed with satisfying layers of cool, rich sweetness, ice cream and chocolate, the hazelnut flavor in this bar was very subtle.

*"Magnum cocoa comes from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms." This bar was "made with Belgian chocolate."







Thursday, September 20, 2018

Celebrating 12 Yrs. of Chocolate - Marash Turkish Ice Cream - Choco Hazelnut - Sept. 20, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Marash Ice Cream
Choco Hazelnut - Turkish Ice Cream
Good+ - Good ++
Weight: 4 oz. (96 g.) / 8 fl. oz. (236 mL) in total container
Calories: 220 calories in 1/2 container
Cost: $5.45 for 1 container
Purchased from: Tuts Bakery and Cafe, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #10 of Celebrating 12 Years of Chocolate Series.

I began this month's 12-year celebration line-up with chocolate and hazelnut offerings, and am ending this baker's dozen series with three more, starting with today's ice cream.

Today's Choco Hazelnut (Turkish Ice Cream) from Marash Ice Cream (Santa Ana, CA) had a creamy texture, and natural tasting roasted hazelnut chocolate flavor more commonly found in Europe than in the U.S.

The Turkish-style ice cream was made with sahlep (a substance made from a starchy orchid tuber). I was told this ice cream contained mastic (tree sap), which is found in some Turkish ice creams. But, if this was so, it did not appear on the ingredients list. (This ice cream did contain vegetable gums (locust bean, guar) and carrageenan.)










Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Celebrating 12 Yrs. of Chocolate Series - Chocolate Banquet - Sept. 19, 2018

Chocolate(s) of the Day: 

Seattle Chocolate Company
San Juan Sea Salt Milk Chocolate Truffle Bar
Good+
Weight: 1.25 oz. (35 g.) / 2.5 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 190 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: N/A - gift
Purchased from: N/A - gift

Wild Sweets Chocolate Factory
Black Onyx Truffles
European Black Cream Truffles
Good
Weight: unknown
Calories: 130 calories (estimate) in 2 pieces
Cost: $N/A - gift
Purchased from: N/A - gift

Greetings and Welcome to Day #9 of Chocolate and Celebrating 12 Years of Chocolate Series. Seattle, WA and Portland, OR, are both high chocolate IQ cities.

Today was a true Chocolate Banquet day, with a spread of different birthday chocolates from these two Pacific Northwest hot spots (thank you all). Chocolate is always sweeter when shared with others.

The first course was a San Juan Sea Salt Milk Chocolate Truffle Bar with crunchy coffee from Seattle Chocolate Company (Seattle, WA). (Thank you Michelle and Hali!)

The second course involved two dark chocolate creams from Wild Sweets Chocolate Factory (Portland, OR): a Dark Chocolate truffle and a Black Onyx Dark Chocolate bittersweet truffle. Both filled chocolates had smooth, creamy dark chocolate ganache fillings and dark chocolate shells. (Thank you Kaitlin!)

Other chocolates included a 72% Bacon Caramel bar (made with cacao grown in Ecuador) from Xocolatl de David (Portland, OR), and a Salt dark chocolate bar from Woodblock Chocolate (Portland, OR)—made with cacao from Peru and Ecuador.











Celebrating 12 Yrs. of Chocolate - Seattle Chocolate Company - Champagne Dark Chocolate Truffle bars - Sept. 18, 2018

Chocolate of the Day:

Seattle Chocolate Company
"Here's Looking at You" Sparkling Mimosa Dark Chocolate Truffle Bar
Good
Weight: .25 oz. (7 g.) / 2.5 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 38 calories (estimate) in 1 bite
Cost: $3.50 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Pebble Beach Market, Pebble Beach, CA

Seattle Chocolate Company
Here's to You Dark Chocolate Truffle Bar with Popping Champagne
Good
Weight: .25 oz. (7 g.) / 2.5 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 36 calories (estimate) in 1 bite
Cost: $3.50 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Pebble Beach Market, Pebble Beach, CA

Welcome to Day #8 of Celebrating 12 Years of Chocolate Series.

Nothing like a little champagne if you're celebrating an important occasion. Even if the bubbly comes in the form of chocolate embedded with popping candy.

Today's similarly wrapped and designed fizzy, celebratory dark chocolate truffle bars were from Seattle Chocolate Company (Seattle, WA). Cheers.

The "Here's Looking at You" Sparkling Mimosa Dark Chocolate bar had a natural orange aroma and a sweet chocolate flavor, interspersed with tiny bursts of very slight candy fizz.


Monday, September 17, 2018

Celebrating 12 Yrs. of Chocolate - Living Raw - Hippie Hemp Truffles - Sept. 17, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Living Raw
Hippie Hemp Truffles
Good
Weight: 1.59 oz. (45 g.) in total package of 3 truffles
Calories: 180 calories in 1 package of 3 truffles
Cost: $5.59 for 1 package of 3 truffles
Purchased from: Country Sun Natural Foods, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #7 of Celebrating 12 Years of Chocolate Series.

Today's single serving size trio of Hippie Hemp Truffles were from Living Raw (Franklin, TN).

These round truffles had a thick, natural chocolate fudge texture, melt and flavor with a slightly nutty taste and texture (from the hemp seeds they were rolled in).




Sunday, September 16, 2018

Celebrating 12 Yrs. of Chocolate - Kakawa Chocolate House - Chocolate - Sept. 16, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Kakawa Chocolate House
Aztec Warrior (Unsweetened)
Good
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 6 oz. (170 g.) (estimate) in total package
Calories: unknown (estimate: between 150–170 calories per serving)
Cost: $ N/A - gift (Thank you Anne!)
Purchased from: N/A gift

Welcome to Day #6 of Celebrating 12 Years of Chocolate Series

Today's Aztec Warrior chocolate granules were created by Kakawa Chocolate House (Santa Fe, NM). The company specializes in authentic, historic drinking chocolate (elixirs).

The Aztec Warrior dairy-free chocolate blend included: "unsweetened chocolate (cacao solids, cacao butter), organic herbs, flowers, organic nuts, organic spices, chile and vanilla." It had a moderately bitter flavor with subtle star anise flavor note and low chile heat.

After adding hot water, I tried frothing this beverage with a hand-powered molinillo (modified wood chopstick rotated or rolled back and forth between two hands (palms)). My improvised tool wasn't really up to the job, but it was fun to indulge in a bit of imaginary time travel** and re-experience some traditional drinking chocolate and chocolate-making techniques and tools.

If you're not feeling your inner warrior and want something more friendly, you might also experiment by adding to this blend corn masa, ground roasted (unsalted) almonds and orange (peel), vanilla and cinnamon, to slightly warm and de-acidify the unsweetened base flavor of this blend. You could also add honey or sugar and milk, but I preferred experimenting with these other inclusions first.

Thank you again to Anne for bringing this blend back from Santa Fe, NM.

*Kakawa was an ancient name for cacao.
** Chocolate beverage making dates back more than 4,000 years in Mesoamerica/South America.




Celebrating 12 Years of Chocolate - Chocolate Hazelnut Trail Truffles - Sept. 15, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Trail Truffles
Chocolate Hazelnut
Good
Weight: 1.26 oz. (36 g.) / 5.1 oz. (144 g.) in total package
Calories: 150 calories in 3 truffles
Cost: $6.59 for 1 package
Purchased from: Country Sun Natural Foods, Palo Alto, CA


Welcome to Day #5 of Celebrating 12 Years of Chocolate Series.

Today's Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles were from Trail Truffles (Draper, UT).

Like most other items that contain dates, these truffles have a moist, naturally slightly acidic fruit sweetness and cohesiveness. However, the hazelnut and chocolate did participate in this blend of  flavors. And their texture was great for a hike outside.

The Trail Truffles were taken up to a park in the hills to enjoy a great view of San Francisco Bay. They had a bit of oily sheen to them.; but they did not melt or fall apart.

I found this added extra virgin coconut oil* very helpful as an active person. (And the founders at Trail Truffles are active trail users from what I read.) A little fat is great for breakfast before a walk or hike—to stave off hunger before lunch.

Ingredients: dates, hazelnuts, organic cacao powder, organic coconut nectar (syrup evaporated), organic extra virgin coconut oil, sea salt





Saturday, September 15, 2018

Jade Chocolates - 7-piece Assortment - Sept. 14, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Jade Chocolates
Assortment box
1.) Masala Chai - Good ++
2.) Bittersweet with Ajwain (think caraway) Seeds - Good
3.) Coconut Honey Meltaway (dairy free) - Good
4.) Olive Oil Cardamom - Good
5.) Lychee Rose Green Tea - Good
6.) Curry Caramel - Good + - Good ++
7.) Ginger Tumeric (sic) Meltaway - Good ++

Weight: 2.7 oz. (76 g.) (estimate) in 7 pieces
Calories: 405 calories (estimate) in 7 pieces
Cost: $21.95 for 1 package of 7 pieces
Purchased from: Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #4 of Celebrating 12 Years of Chocolate Series.

I wanted to enjoy a variety of chocolates this week to celebrate eating a different chocolate every day for 12+ years (4,414 days). And this beautiful 7-piece assortment from Jade Chocolates (San Francisco, CA) with creamy centers and exotic flavors was just the ticket.

Jade Chocolates is a small batch chocolatier specializing in chocolates (blended with
teas, spices and tropical fruits) with Asian and Pacific Islands origin stories.









Thursday, September 13, 2018

Celebrating 12 Yrs. of Chocolate - O Organics Chocolate French Truffles - Sept. 13, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

O Organics
Organic Chocolate French Truffles
Good ++
Weight: 1.13 oz. (32 g.) / 5.3 oz. (150 g.) in total box
Calories: 200 calories in 4 pieces
Cost: $3.99 for 1 box
Purchased from: Safeway, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #3 of Celebrating 12 Years of Chocolate Series.

Many chocolate confections are called truffles; but there's nothing like well-made, traditional truffles (called so because of their resemblance to the treasured, roundish, fungus by the same name)—made from a short list of high-quality ingredients (chocolate, butter, cream, cocoa powder).

Today's O Organics* Chocolate French Truffles were relatively close to this concept in appearance, taste and texture. They were made with chocolate and dusted with cocoa powder. However, coconut oil and cocoa butter were used instead of butter and cream; and soy lecithin was part of the mix.**

These truffles had a cocoa aroma and were soft, creamy and chocolatey. They had a very pleasing mouth-feel and melt that was almost velvety.

*O Organics is an Albertsons/Safeway brand
** Ingredients: organic cocoa mass, organic coconut oil, organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter, organic cocoa powder, soy lecithin (emulsifier).






Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Celebrating 12 Yrs. of Chocolate - Better Bites Bakery - Mostess Mini-Cupcakes - Sept. 12, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Better Bites Bakery
Mostess Mini-Cupcakes
Good - Good +
Weight: 2 oz. (56.6 g.) / 6 oz. (170 g.) in total container of 6
Calories: 220 calories in 2 cupcakes
Cost: $11.99 for 1 container of 6 cupcakes
Purchased from: Country Sun Natural Foods, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #2 of Celebrating 12 Years of Chocolate Series.

Today's container of 6 Mostess "chocolate mini-cupcakes with coconut cream filling dipped in a chocolate ganache" were from Better Bites Bakery (Austin, TX). This refrigerated, allergen-free* mini-cupcake resembled an upscale version of a popular chocolate cream-filled cupcake with white icing.

Smaller-sized desserts like this sweet chocolate morsel are convenient, allowing one to sample three different miniature treats if desired, instead of one larger item.

*Founder, Leah Lopez developed a line of gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free baked goods based on the needs of her son, Gabriel. These small cupcakes were also free of other 4 other common allergens (peanuts, soy, shellfish, fish).









Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Celebrating 12 Years of Chocolate - Hazelnut bonbons - Sept. 11, 2018

Chocolate(s) of the Day: 

Timothy Adams Chocolate
1.) Hazelnut Praline bonbon - Good - Good +
2..) Dairy Free bonbon (made with hazelnut milk) - Good
Weight: .78 oz. (22 g.) (estimate) in two bonbons
Calories: 117 calories (estimate) in two bonbons
Cost: $5.50 for two chocolate bonbons
Purchased from: Timothy Adams Chocolate, Palo Alto, CA

Oh, happy day. Welcome to a Special Celebration Chocolate Series, featuring a baker's dozen of bonbons, truffles, confections, baked goods, and ice creams over the next 12 days (with a heavy hint of hazelnuts).

What's the occasion? We're celebrating 12 years of chocolate, beginning today with two glossy, hazelnut bonbons made by the creative duo behind the Timothy Adams Chocolates shop in (Palo Alto, CA).

Visit this well-designed chocolate store (accented with hot pink and bright turquoise blue) and your mood will be lifted. The staff are friendly and helpful. The chocolates and beverages are well-made and will satisfy a sweet tooth.

The Hazelnut Praline had a sweet, dark chocolate (72% outer shell) aroma with hazelnut notes. It was topped with a small dollop of hazelnut praline, and had a tasty, creamy 58% middle.

The sweet Dairy Free chocolate also had a 72% dark chocolate shell (couverture) and a 58% ganache. Made with hazelnut milk, this alternative milk chocolate was a more convincing dairy free chocolate than most. It had a milk chocolate aroma, and a dairy-like creaminess to it. The uniform sweetness overshadowed chocolate and hazelnut flavor nuances; however, this Dairy Free bonbon offered a great milk chocolate alternative.

Celebrating 12 Years of Chocolate
Twelve years ago, on September 11, 2006, yours truly committed to eating a different chocolate every day for a year. The adventure began with a cup of Haagen Dazs chocolate ice cream in Amsterdam, Netherlands; and this was the beginning of Chocolate Banquet.

Did I know I'd still be eating a different daily chocolate 12 years later? No. I wouldn't have thought that possible.

Many things have happened in the chocolate world since 2006, even in my home town of Palo Alto. Timothy Adams Chocolates shop was once occupied by Monique's Chocolates. And down the street, a lovely place called The Chocolate Garage closed its doors to the public just a few weeks ago, after several years of supplying excellent craft chocolates to an appreciative following.

Perhaps the biggest trend over the past dozen years: the growth in the number of new artisan and bean-to-bar chocolate makers. (Long may they thrive. Like many passion-driven craft industries, profits can be hard-earned.) And customers have learned to appreciate higher-quality chocolates, now that they are more available.

How long will I continue to eat a different daily chocolate? If you believe one has to do something 10,000 times to be an expert, I'll need to eat a new daily chocolate for another 15.4 years.

We'll see. There are many other tempting personal research projects to pursue.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Hu Kitchen - Hazelnut Butter Dark Chocolate bar - Sept. 10, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Hu Kitchen / Hu Chocolate
Hazelnut Butter Dark 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: $5.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Piazza's Fine Foods, Palo Alto, CA


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

Today's Hazelnut Butter Dark Chocolate bar was from Hu Kitchen (New York, NY).

Hu Kitchen is a paleo-oriented restaurant in New York City. The founders and their team also make and sell their own chocolate bars and coffee.

This filled dark bar had a smooth, fairly creamy texture and melt. And the paleo vegan chocolate (made with organic house-ground cacao) had aroma and flavor notes of true dark chocolate, roasted hazelnuts, and very faint roasted coffee.











Sunday, September 9, 2018

Tony's Chocolonely - Milk Chocolate Hazelnut 32% bar - Sept. 9, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Tony's Chocolonely
Milk Chocolate Hazelnut 32% bar 
Good ++
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 6 oz. (170 g.) in total bar
Calories: 160 calories in 1/6 bar
Cost: $4.89 for 1 bar
Purchased from: New Leaf Market, Half Moon Bay, CA

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

Today's generously-sized, Milk Chocolate Hazelnut 32% bar was distributed by Tony's Chocolonely Inc. (Amsterdam, Netherlands; and Portland, OR).

The company's mission is to make slave-free chocolate the norm.* This is a big, worthy goal. I can't speak to the results they might be achieving. (They've sold more than 28 million bars and helped raise money and awareness. And they talk more about results on their website.) However, I did sample their chocolate and enjoyed it.

The bar had a warm milk chocolate and hazelnut aroma and flavor. Bits of hazelnut added light crunchy texture to the smooth chocolate, that had uniformly pleasing taste from start to finish. (European chocolate companies know how to produce great chocolate and hazelnut offerings.)

*Journalist, Teun van de Keuken, after finding out that child slavery still existed on cocoa farms, publicly declared himself a chocolate criminal, and decided to continue doing more research, which eventually led to the founding of Tony's Chocolonely and the selling of slave-free chocolate.










Saturday, September 8, 2018

Primal Kitchen - Chocolate Hazelnut bar - Sept. 8, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Primal Kitchen 
Chocolate Hazelnut Bar with Grass-Fed Collagen
Good - Good +
Weight: 1.7 oz. (48 g.) in total bar
Calories: 230 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $3.79 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Country Sun Natural Foods, Palo Alto, CA
Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate and Hazelnut Theme Week.

Today's Chocolate Hazelnut Bar with Grass-Fed Collagen was created by Primal Kitchen (Oxnard, CA), and is part of the company's line of Collagen Nut and Seed bars developed by founder Mark Sisson.

In this refreshingly un-sugared* (thank you!) bar, unsweetened chocolate and organic fair-trade cacao powder were paired with a generous helping of pumpkin seeds, toasted hazelnuts and almonds, along with the aforementioned grass-fed collagen.

Why collagen? Collagen is an important protein in our body. It seems our ability to produce collagen diminishes with age; and there is evidence that ingesting collagen may help skin, hair and nails. (I can remember people drinking gelatin many years ago, hoping to achieve similar results.) Today's chocolate hazelnut nutrition bar seems like a tastier way to get your collagen.

*This Chocolate Hazelnut bar contained 3 grams of sugars (honey was #7 on the ingredient list); and total carbohydrate count was 13 grams (includes Cassava Root fiber).

Friday, September 7, 2018

Trader Joe's - Nothing but Fruit and Nuts: Date - Hazelnut - Cacao - Sept. 7, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Trader Joe's
Nothing but Fruit and Nuts - Date - Hazelnut - Cacao
Good
Weight: .88 oz. (25 g.) / 7.04 oz. (200 g.) in package
Calories: 80 calories in 1 piece
Cost: $3.99 for 1 package of 8 pieces
Purchased from: Trader Joe's, Mountain View, CA

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

Today's package of individually-wrapped "Nothing but Fruit and Nuts: Hazelnut - Date - Cacao" pieces were from Trader Joe's (Monrovia, CA).

Dates tend to impart a distinctive fruity sweetness and moist, dense texture. The cacao and hazelnuts took a back seat to the dates.

These flavorful snack rounds were "nothing but" three ingredients: dates (date paste), hazelnuts and cacao. Refreshing (and unusual for packaged foods).






Larabar - Chocolate Hazelnut Bites - Sept. 6, 2018

Chocolate of the Day:

Distributed by Small Planet Foods, Inc.
Larabar Bites - Chocolate Hazelnut
Good
Weight: 1.06 oz. (30 g.) / 5.3 oz. (150 g.) in total package
Calories: 130 calories in 1 serving (4 pieces)
Cost: $8.99 for 1 package
Purchased from: Country Sun Natural Foods, Palo Alto, CA

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

Today's Larabar Chocolate Hazelnut Bites were distributed by Small Planet Foods, Inc. (Minneapolis, MN).

These soft, flavorful Bites had a distinct date* flavor and subtle chocolate and nut notes. They were gluten free, non-dairy, vegan and Non-GMO Project Verified.

*Ingredients: Dates, Almonds, Semisweet Chocolate Chips (unsweetened chocolate, sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla extract), hazelnuts, coconut flour, cocoa powder, vanilla extract. 



Trader Joe's - Nothing but Fruit and Nuts: Date, Hazelnut, Cacao - Sept. 7, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Trader Joe's
Nothing but Fruit and Nuts - Date - Hazelnut - Cacao
Good
Weight: .88 oz. (25 g.) / 7.04 oz. (200 g.) in package
Calories: 80 calories in 1 piece
Cost: $3.99 for 1 package of 8 pieces
Purchased from: Trader Joe's, Mountain View, CA

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

Today's package of individually-wrapped "Nothing but Fruit and Nuts: Hazelnut - Date - Cacao" pieces were from Trader Joe's (Monrovia, CA).

Dates tend to impart a distinctive fruity sweetness and moist, dense texture. The cacao and hazelnuts took a back seat to the dates.

These flavorful snack rounds were "nothing but" three ingredients: dates (date paste), hazelnuts and cacao. Refreshing (and unusual for packaged foods).







Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Loving Earth - Berry Crunch Hazelnut Mylk bar - Sept. 5, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Loving Earth Inc.
Organic Bean to Bar - Berry Crunch Hazelnut Mylk bar
Good
Weight: 1.25 oz. (35 g.) / 2.5 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 190 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $2.99 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #2 of Chocolate and Hazelnut Theme Week,

Today's Berry Crunch Hazelnut Mylk Chocolate 30% cacao bar was from Loving Earth Inc. (Upper St. Clair, PA).* The company specializes in raw, Organic chocolate.

This vegan bean-to-bar, "mylk" chocolate had a different melt and mouthfeel than traditional dairy milk chocolate. The "fat" was provided by organic cocoa butter and raw creamed hazelnuts. These two combined with other ingredients gave the bar a quicker melt and and slightly more granular texture.

Two other things influenced the texture: sugar and temperature. The bar was made with coconut sugar (no cane sugar) and it was relatively cold (about 65 degrees F.) when I ate it.

The raw cacao used to make the bar was sourced from the Ashaninka community in the Amazon; and the relatively low percentage (30% cacao solids) made the cacao flavor relatively faint. There was also no identifiable hazelnut flavor from the raw, creamed hazelnuts. (Hazelnuts often pick up a lot of their characteristic flavor when roasted.)

Berry Crunch was the right name for this bar. The emphasis was more on the berries and sprouted buckwheat. The tart-sweet (apple juice sweetened) cranberries provided an occasional spike of pleasing dried fruit sweetness. And the buckwheat provided some soft crunchiness in the background.

*The bar was made in Melbourne, Australia.








Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Lindt - Bugs and Bees - Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Crisp novelties - Sept. 4, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Lindt
Bugs and Bees - Milk Chocolate with Hazelnut and Crisp Filling
Good
Weight: .68 oz. (10 g.) / 1.7 oz. (50 g.) in total package
Calories: 105 calories in 2 pieces
Cost: $4.49 for 1 package of five pieces
Purchased from: CVS/pharmacy, Palo Alto, CA 

Welcome to Day #1 of Chocolate and Hazelnut Theme Week.

Today's individually-wrapped bees and beetles were composed of smooth, sweet milk chocolate with slight crispy texture and a touch of hazelnut flavor.

These Milk Chocolate Bugs and Bees with Hazelnut and Crisp Filling were distributed by Lindt USA (Stratham, NH).

Years ago I featured a Chocolate and Insects Theme Week. These "bugs" were much cuter and tastier than some of the real chocolate covered insects I tried that week.*

*Some of these chocolates in this theme week were insect-shaped and not true insects; the real insects were chocolate covered, or eaten as part of a dish with chocolate or cacao. A few of the insects were awful-tasting; but some were just fine. All in the name of research.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Wild Harvest - Almond Brazilian Coast Sea Salt Belgian Milk bar - Sept. 3, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Wild Harvest
(Supervalu Inc.)
Almond Brazilian Coast Sea Salt Belgian Milk Chocolate bar
Good 
Weight: 1.5 oz. (42.5 g.) / 3 oz. (85 g.) in total bar
Calories: 230 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $2.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: New Leaf Community Market, Half Moon Bay, CA 

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

Today's Almond Brazilian Coast Sea Salt Belgian Milk Chocolate bar was from Wild Harvest* (brand owned by Supervalu Inc., Minneapolis area, MN). (This offering was a good example of an international supply chain(s) coming together to create a chocolate bar.)

The company is a supplier of organic, gluten-free and other foodstuffs to large grocery chain stores in the U.S. Their website extolled the virtues of their foods that are: "Full of Good; Free from Bad."

This chocolate was a bit on the salty side, but the almond and milk chocolate helped balance the salt, and nut, salt and chocolate flavors are nicely complementary.

Today was a good food day. Sticking with the Brazil theme, later I sampled some Brazilian cheese bread—oven-baked savory ball-shaped pieces. Good!






Sunday, September 2, 2018

SOMA Chocolatemaker - Fazenda Boa Vista Milk Chocolate bar - Sept. 2, 2018

Chocolate of the Day:

SOMA Chocolatemaker
Fazenda Boa Vista Milk Chocolate (bar)
Good +++ - Very Good
Weight: 1.145 oz. (32.5 g.) / 2.29 oz. (65 g.) in total bar
Calories: 172 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $16.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: The Chocolate Garage, Palo Alto, CA 

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

Today's Fazenda Boa Vista Milk Chocolate bar was from SOMA Chocolatemaker (Toronto, ON, Canada).

This Academy of Chocolate Silver Winner 2017, 55% milk chocolate bar was made from Brazilian cacao.* It had an aroma with balanced notes of dried fruit, fresh cream, light nut, and very faint mint/herb.

The chocolate had a very pleasing dark milk chocolate flavor. (SOMA tasting notes printed on the package read: "Malt, cashews, fresh cream.") And a very, very faint, fleeting, slightly herby aftertaste.

*Fazenda Boa Vista (cocoa farm) is located "on the top of the mountains of Cafundos, a...sanctuary for ancient (120-year old) Amelonado type cacao known as Parazinho."




Saturday, September 1, 2018

Dick Taylor - Brazil Fazenda Camboa 75% bar - Sept. 1, 2018

Chocolate of the Day: 

Dick Taylor
Brazil Fazenda Camboa 75% Dark Chocolate bar
Good ++
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 2 oz. (57 g.) in total bar
Calories: 160 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $ missing information for 1 bar
Purchased from: missing information

Bem-vindo a (Welcome to) Day #5 of Chocolate and Brazil Theme Week.

The Fazenda Camboa 75% Dark Chocolate bar was made by Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate (Eureka, CA). This single origin bar made with Brazilian cacao contained two ingredients: organic cacao and organic cane sugar.

With just two ingredients, there are no other ingredients to help "fix" flaws in flavor or texture. Don't try this at home kids. Unless you start with excellent cacao beans (seeds) and you don't mess up any of the 20 or so steps necessary to create finished chocolate.

Adam Dick and Justin Taylor (Dick Taylor) happen to be excellent craftsmen. You can see this in their chocolate and their design, packaging and printing. And, most important, their single origin (and inclusion) bars are reliably top tier.

Today's Fazenda Camboa* - Single Estate had a lovely complex aroma. I could smell the high-quality, almost-brownie chocolate and light, fresh wine grape notes. (Maker's Tasting Notes: Honeysuckle, Fresh Grape, Walnut). There was also a fleeting tart fruit (citrus-like) note in the flavor.

*Fazenda Camboa, is a large organic cocoa farm in the state of Bahia, Brazil. 









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