Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Alter Eco - Dark Chocolate Coconut Clusters, seeds and salt - Feb. 20, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Alter Eco
Organic Dark Chocolate Coconut Clusters - seeds and salt
Good
Weight: 1.02 oz. (29 g.) / 3.2 oz. (91 g.) in total package
Calories: 160 calories in 1/4 cup
Cost: $1.99 for 1 package
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

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

Today's package of Dark Chocolate Coconut Clusters (with) seeds and salt was distributed by Alter Eco (San Francisco, CA).

These organic, 70% cocoa dark chocolate pieces were topped with a pleasant, authentic tasting layer of coconut. Flavors and textures were well balanced. They were not too sweet (thank you). Pumpkin and sunflower seeds added a soft crunch. And sea salt provided a hint of savory sparkle.


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Luna - Rica Chocolate Coconut Almond bar - Feb. 19, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Clif Bar and Company
Luna - Rica - Chocolate Coconut Almond bar
Good
Weight: 1.41 oz. (40 g.) / 16.92 oz. (480 g.) in total box of 12 bars
Calories: 170 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $6.99 for 1 box of 12 bars
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #10 of Chocolate and Dates Theme Week, and Day #3 of Chocolate and Coconut Theme Week.

Today's Luna Rica Chocolate Coconut Almond bar was from Clif Bar and Company (Emeryville, CA). The Luna Rica filled bars are relatively new. ("Rica" means rich and delicious in Spanish.)

This almond butter filled fruit and nut bar was quite sweet. Organic date paste was the first ingredient listed on the label, followed by Organic almond butter and Organic unsweetened chocolate. It also contained dried cane syrup. Further down the ingredient list was organic coconut.

The segmented bar was, as promised, rich in flavor. (I would have preferred a less sweet bar with no sea salt myself, but others will like this.)

For those who are concerned about allergens, this organic bar was gluten free, but contained soy, peanuts, almonds, cashews and coconut.



Monday, February 18, 2019

Larabar - Coconut Kale Cacao bar - Feb. 18, 2019

Chocolate of the Day:

Larabar
Organic with Superfoods - Coconut Kale Cacao bar
Good
Weight: 1.6 oz. (45 g.) in total bar
Calories: 190 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $1.50 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Whole Foods Market, Los Altos, CA

Welcome to Day #9 of Chocolate and Dates Theme Week, and Day #2 of Chocolate and Coconut Theme Week.

Today's Larabar Organic Coconut Kale Cacao bar was distributed by Small Planet Foods, Inc. (Minneapolis, MN).

This organic bar had an easy chew with rich date, chocolate and coconut flavor. Cacao nibs gave this bar a slightly crunchy texture and authentic cacao flavor. (For those with a fear of greens, the kale was well incorporated and did not impart any obvious flavor.)

*Ingredients: Organic Dates, Organic Almonds, Organic Coconut, Organic Cacao Nibs, Organic Kale and Organic Cocoa Powder.



Sunday, February 17, 2019

Siren Snacks - Dark Chocolate Brownie Protein Bites - Feb. 17, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Siren Snacks Inc.
Dark Chocolate Brownie Protein Bites
Weight: .85 oz. (24 g.) / 1.7 oz. (48 g.) in total package
Calories: 100 calories in 1/2 package
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: missing information

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

Today's Dark Chocolate Brownie Protein Bites were from Siren Snacks Inc. (San Francisco, CA).

These snackable bites had the texture of a firm but soft-baked cookie, and were dairy, gluten, grain, soy and GMO free. The protein came from pea protein (#1 ingredient listed). Dates and coconut sugar provided some sweetness.

While not as chocolatey rich as actual brownies, the chocolate flavor in these small, cube-shaped protein bites was supplied by organic chocolate chips, Dutch cocoa and "Natural Chocolate Flavor."

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Siren Snacks - Cookie Dough Protein Bites - Feb. 16, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Siren Snacks Inc.
Cookie Dough Protein Bites
Weight: .85 oz. (24 g.) / 1.7 oz. (48 g.) in total package
Calories: 100 calories in 1/2 package
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: missing information

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

Today's Cookie Dough Protein Bites were from Siren Snacks Inc. (San Francisco, CA).

These small, cube-shaped protein bites were dairy, gluten, grain, soy and GMO free. The texture was compressed, but relatively soft, and slightly crumbly. The protein was supplied by pea protein (#1 ingredient listed, followed by dates).

Organic chocolate chips and Dutch cocoa (#7 and #9 on ingredients list, respectively) provided subtle chocolate flavor.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Epic - Almond Butter Chocolate Performance Bar - Feb. 15, 2019

Chocolate of the Day:

Epic Provisions
Almond Butter Chocolate Performance Bar
Good
Weight: 1.87 oz. (53 g.) in 1 bar
Calories: 210 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $2.49 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Whole Foods Market, Los Altos, CA

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

Today's Almond Butter Chocolate Performance Bar from Epic Provisions (Austin, TX)* had a firm, chewy texture with date fruit flavor balanced by nuts** (ground almonds). 

Egg whites added some heft and protein. And unsweetened chocolate, sea salt and vanilla extract added very subtle flavor accents.

*Epic Provisions was purchased by General Mills.

**Some people feel the flavor of dates is too acidic. Almonds are relatively alkaline and help balance out this concentrated fruit acidity in dates and other dried fruits.





Thursday, February 14, 2019

Epic - Peanut Butter Chocolate Performance Bar - Feb. 14, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Epic
Peanut Butter Chocolate Performance Bar
Good
Weight: 1.87 oz. (53 g.) in 1 bar
Calories: 210 calories in 1 bar
Purchased from: Whole Foods Market, Los Altos, CA

Happy Valentines Day! And, welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate and Dates Theme Week.

Today's Peanut Butter Chocolate Performance Bar was from Epic Provisions (Austin, TX).*

This chewy, substantial bar was made from dates, peanuts, cage-free egg whites, chocolate, peanut oil and sea salt, with no added sugar (thank you!).

Here's hoping that you're having an epic Valentines Day. And that you're enjoying your dates connecting with the outdoors (even if you're just eating this bar in front of an epic screen-saver). 

Rather than pictures of red hearts, we're focused on green today. The storms and rain this winter in California have resulted in green hills and grass in our dry Golden State. We're enjoying the cleaner, rain-washed air, and occasional patches of bright blue sky and sun.

*Epic is known for their 100 percent grass-fed animal protein bars. This bar contained egg, but no meat. General Mills bought Epic in 2014 for $820 million; and Epic operates under California-based Annie's Homegrown, the organic and natural food maker (also owned by General Mills).

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Sun & Swell foods - Cacao Fruit and Nut Bites - Feb. 13, 2019

Chocolate of the Day:

Sun and Swell foods
Cacao Fruit and Nut Bites
Good - Good +
Weight: 1.06 oz. (30 g.) / 1.6 oz. (45 g. ) in total package*
Calories: 133 calories in 2 bites (per label)*
Cost: $3.49 for 1 package
Purchased from: Piazza's Fine Foods, Palo Alto, CA
Welcome to Day #4 of Chocolate and Dates Theme Week.

Today's Cacao Fruit and Nut Bites were distributed by Sun and Swell foods (Santa Barbara, CA). 

These round bites with an appealing soft crunch (cacao nibs?) were made from just five ingredients: organic cashews, organic dates, organic raisins, organic cacao and organic cinnamon. They were not too sweet (thank you); and the cinnamon gave them a subtle spice kick.

Although not nut-free, these soy-free, dairy-free and gluten-free bites would be a great snack for those avoiding common allergens. 

*The label read: one 3-piece package (one serving) weighed 1.6 oz. (45 g.), and contained 200 calories. The package I purchased actually contained four pieces. I calculated weights and calories, for two pieces, based on 2/3 of one package, per label.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Mush Foods LLC - Overnight Oats with Dark Cacao - Feb. 12, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Mush Foods LLC
Overnight Oats - Dark Cacao
Good
Weight: 3 oz. (85 g.) / 6 oz. (170 g.) in total container
Calories: 105 calories in 1 container
Cost: $4.29 for 1 container
Purchased from: The Market at Edgewood, Palo Alto, CA

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

Today's Dark Cacao Overnight Oats were from Mush Foods LLC (National City, CA).

Made with almond mylk, oats, dates, cacao powder, and a tiny bit of sea salt, this oat meal was satisfying and not too sweet (thank you).


Gracie Jones Gluten Free Bake Shop - Peanut Butter Cups - Feb. 11, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Gracie Jones Gluten Free Bake Shop
Peanut Butter Cups
Good - Good +
Weight: unlabeled item - no information
Calories: information not available
Cost: $7.00 (estimate) for 1 package of 6 pieces
Purchased from: Gracie Jones Gluten Free Bake Shop, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #8 of Chocolate and Peanuts Theme Week, and Day #2 of Chocolate and Dates Theme Week.

Today's layered peanut butter cups were from Gracie Jones Gluten Free Bake Shop (Palo Alto, CA). This Bake Shop is a little island of Gluten Free heaven, where customers don't have to point at every item and ask if it's gluten free or not. This bakery has a small, but impressive fresh supply of sweet baked goods—and savory items as well. (Banh Mi sandwiches on fresh baked bread. Thank you!)

These cups had authentic chocolate and peanut butter flavor, and a smooth, rich melt, with a very slight coconut oil flavor note and texture.

I paired these with a whole organic date. One small date is so full of natural concentrated fruit sweetness, it can stop a sweet craving in its tracks. That and two peanut butter cups.





Sunday, February 10, 2019

Clif Bar and Company - LUNA Rica Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar - Feb. 10, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Clif Bar and Company
LUNA - Rica Chocolate Peanut Butter bar
Good
Weight: 1.41 oz. (40 g.) for 1 bar / 16.92 oz. (480 g.) in total box
Calories: 160 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $6.99 for 1 box of 12 bars
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #7 of Chocolate and Peanuts Theme Week, and Day #1 of Chocolate and Dates Theme Week.

Today's Luna - Rica Chocolate Peanut Butter bar from Clif Bar and Company (Emeryville, CA) was a "Peanut Butter filled Fruit and Nut Bar."

Dates (the first ingredient listed) helped give this bar a soft, chewy texture and dried fruit-flavor sweetness.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Five Star Organics - Ocho Peanut Butter milk chocolate bars - Feb. 9, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Five Star Organics LLC
Ocho Peanut Butter milk chocolate bars
Good
Weight: 1.3 oz. (38 g.) / 3.52 oz. (100 g.) in total package
Calories: 210 calories in 3 pieces
Cost: $ missing information for 1 package of 8 mini bars
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

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

Today's individually-wrapped Ocho Peanut Butter - peanut butter in milk chocolate small bars were from Five Star Organics LLC (Oakland, CA).

These organic, peanutty, miniature candy bars were covered in smooth, creamy milk chocolate and would be easy to share with others. Ocho is the Spanish word for eight. And there were eight little bars in this package.

Friday, February 8, 2019

JoJo's - Peanut Butter Delight bars - Feb. 8, 2019

Chocolate of the Day:

JoJo's Chocolate LLC
Peanut Butter Delight bars
Good - Good +
Weight: 1.2 oz. (34 g.) / 8.4 oz. (238 g.) in total package
Calories: 160 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $10.99 for 1 package of 7 bars
Purchased from: Sprouts Farmers Market, Mountain View, CA 
Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate and Peanuts Theme Week.

Today's package of Peanut Butter Delight bars were from JoJo's Chocolate LLC (Orem, UT).

These satisfying* bark-style, rectangular bars, with just the right amount of crunch, were made of 70 percent dark chocolate, peanuts, hemp protein, peanut flour, sea salt, and "organic peanut butter flavoring oil."

While not individually wrapped, these bars would be great on a hike. Wrap them in some dry greens, or tuck them into a tiffin or bento box or baggie. They'll fit right in with almost any snack choices, and as long as they're protected from heat and, as with any chocolate, the possibility of melting in your pocket.

*Each dark chocolate bar contained only 6 grams of sugar (and no other sweeteners). And the 6 grams of protein helped fulfill the company's tagline "kick the craving." 





Thursday, February 7, 2019

DZA Brands, LLC - Peanut Butter Chocolate Gelato - Feb. 7, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

DZA Brands, LLC
taste of inspirations - Peanut Butter Chocolate Naturally Flavored Gelato
Good
Weight: 1/3 cup (53 g.) / 16 fl. oz. (1 Pint) ( 473 mL) in total container
Calories: 135 calories in 1/3 cup
Cost: $2.99 (estimate) for 1 container
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

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

This morning's "taste of inspirations" Peanut Butter Chocolate Naturally Flavored Gelato was from DZA Brands, LLC (Salisbury, NC).

It offered subtle chocolate and peanut butter flavor and a relatively creamy, uniform texture with a very slightly granular mouthfeel.







Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Justin's - Mini Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, Organic - Feb. 6, 2019

Chocolate of the Day:

Justin's
Organic Mini Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
Good +++
Weight: 1.4 oz. (40 g.) / 4.7 oz. (133 g.) in total package
Calories: 210 calories in one (3-piece) serving
Cost: $5.19 for 1 package
Purchased from: The Market at Edgewood, Palo Alto, CA 

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

True confession: I had a childhood love affair with chocolate peanut butter cups. And I still like them a lot. However, making my own became more appealing as I grew older, and as I started reading ingredient labels. Fortunately, there were others who felt the same way.

Today's Organic Mini Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups from Justin's (Boulder, CO) were a yummy, adult version of a childhood milk chocolate classic.

Each individually-wrapped little dark chocolate cup was filled with authentic tasting peanut butter; and the packaging and size made them a bit more shareable and transportable than their full-sized counterparts. (Justin's also makes full-sized dark and milk chocolate peanut butter cups—and full-sized almond butter and cashew butter cups as well.)

And, yes, there really is a "Justin" behind Justin's. Founder Justin Gold got his start by developing his own nut butters, and then started to sell these at the Boulder Farmers' Market. Nut butters led to nut butter cups...And the rest, as they say, is history. Justin's products can now be found far and wide in the U.S.

These gluten free peanut butter cups contained peanuts and soy.



Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Theo Chocolate - peanut butter and jelly chocolate clusters - Feb. 5, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Theo Chocolate 
peanut butter and jelly chocolate clusters
Good +
Weight: 1.4 oz. (40 g.) / 2.8 oz. (80 g.) in total package
Calories: 220 calories in 1 serving (5 pieces)
Cost: $3.93 for 1 package
Purchased from: REI, Mountain View, CA 

Welcome to Day #7 of Chocolate and Raspberry Theme Week, and Day #2 of Chocolate and Peanuts Theme Week.

Today's peanut butter and jelly chocolate clusters were distributed by Theo Chocolate (Seattle, WA).

These gluten-free* clusters contained a jumble of ingredients besides elements of the aforementioned peanut butter (peanuts and peanut flour) and jelly (freeze-dried raspberries), including coconut, dates and sweet potatoes. (Yes, sweet potatoes.)

These Organic, mini hay-stack shaped chocolate clusters had a chocolate and coconut aroma. They provided a hearty and sweet blend of coconut, nutty and berry-fruit textures and flavors, with an occasional tiny sparkle of pink salt.

Marketed as an "Excellent source of iron" with 200 mg** of cocoa flavanols per serving, these Non GMO and Kosher Dairy snacks would transport reasonably well during a hike or adventure. Just keep them away from direct sun and high temperatures, as you would any chocolate.

*For those watching allergens, these chocolate clusters did contain peanuts and coconut. They were free of ingredients containing soy, wheat or gluten, but were manufactured on shared equipment with products containing soy, milk, eggs, wheat and other tree nuts.

**Flavanols are phytonutrients found in cocoa beans. And flavanol levels in chocolate can vary due to many factors. According to USDA database figures, unsweetened baking chocolate has about 206 milligrams (mg) of flavanols per 100 grams of chocolate. As sugar is added and cacao percentages drop, the flavanol levels tend to drop as well. Some dark chocolates may contain only half this 206 mg amount. Commercial milk chocolate may contain less than 20 mg of flavanols per 100 grams of chocolate. 

By this standard, the 200 milligram number for a single 40 gram serving of today's chocolate clusters is fairly high. And it's not clear why this dark chocolate might have been higher than average. Cacao origin, processing and other factors can play a role. (The 200 mg number is also tied to European Union (EU) threshold requirements about advertising around what constitutes"healthy chocolate" and claims of circulatory and heart benefits. To make these claims a chocolate must contain at least 200 mg. of flavanols.)

Monday, February 4, 2019

Whole Foods - Raspberry Beret trail mix - February 4, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

365 Everyday Value (Whole Foods Market brand)
Raspberry Beret Trail Mix
Good ++
Weight: 1/4 cup (28 g.) / 14 oz. (397 g.) in total package
Calories: 150 calories in 1/4 cup serving
Cost: $6.99 for 1 package
Purchased from: Whole Foods Market, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate and Raspberry Theme Week, and Day #1 of Chocolate and Peanuts Theme Week.

Today's Raspberry Beret Trail Mix was made in Canada and distributed by Whole Foods Market (Austin, TX). This sweet and salty snack/trail mix was full of crunchy roasted, salted peanuts and roasted almonds.

Organic dark chocolate chips—and raspberries (raspberries, sugar, rice flour, ascorbic acid)—provided a sweeter, darker, and softer taste and texture component, with the raspberries adding an occasional micro-burst of tart-sweet, natural berry flavor.

For those with allergies, this mix contained peanuts, almonds, soy and milk. It did not contain gluten-containing ingredients but was made in a shared facility.





Sunday, February 3, 2019

le Preziose - fruit jellies with raspberry covered in milk chocolate - Feb. 3, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

le Preziose
"fruit jellies with raspberry covered in milk Chocolate"
Good
Weight: 1.625 oz. (46 g.) / 5.3 oz. (150 g.) in total package of 15 pieces
Calories: 190 calories in 1 serving (4 pieces)
Cost: $6.49 in 1 package
Purchased from: The Market at Edgewood, Palo Alto, CA

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

Today's le Preziose "fruit jellies with raspberry covered in milk Chocolate" were made in Italy, and produced by Silagum s.r.l. (Lamezia Terme, Italy).

These individually-wrapped milk chocolates were candy-level sweet.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Trader Jacques - Chocolate Fondue - Feb. 2, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Trader Jacques
Fondue au Chocolat - Chocolate Fondue Made with 54% Cocoa
Good
Weight: 2 TB (30 g.) / 7 oz. (198 g.) in total container
Calories: 170 calories in one (2 TB) serving
Cost: $ missing information for 1 container
Purchased from: Trader Joe's, missing city, CA

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

Today's Chocolate Fondue made with 54% Cocoa from Trader Jacques (Trader Joe's) distributed and sold through Trader Joe's (Monrovia, CA).

Heated slowly over a pot on the stove, this fondue was easy to prepare, and within 10 minutes it was ready for raspberry dipping.




Friday, February 1, 2019

Chuao Chocolatier - Dark Chocolate Organic Raspberry Rose 72% bar - Feb. 1, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Chuao Chocolatier
Dark Chocolate Organic Raspberry Rose 72% cacao bar
Good ++
Weight: 1.05 oz. (30 g.) / 2.1 oz. (60 g.) in total bar
Calories: 143 calories (estimate per label) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $2.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

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

Today's Dark Chocolate Organic Raspberry Rose 72% cacao bar from Chuao Chocolatier (Carlsbad, CA) was part of the company's "Enamored Collection," which is apt, as Valentines Day is coming up soon.

The organic chocolate had a rich dark chocolate aroma and flavor, interspersed with natural red raspberry fruit flavor (and one or two tiny seeds), coupled with faint rose (organic rose petal) floral notes.

In case it's difficult to read in the photo, the words inscribed on this bar read: "let's leave a, little sparkle, wherever, we go, chuao..."





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