Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Hands Off My Chocolate - Milk Meets Dark - Nov. 6, 2019

Chocolate of the Day: 

Hands Off My Chocolate
Milk Meets Dark
Good +
Weight: 1.75 oz. (50 g.) / 3.5 oz. (100 g.) in total bar
Calories: 277 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $6.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Missing information 

Welcome to Day #12 of Chocolate and Africa Theme Week.

Today's Milk Meets Dark chocolate was from Hands Off My Chocolate (Laren, North Holland, The Netherlands). Founders Kitty and Thomas set out in 2013 to make the best fairly traded Belgian chocolate possible.

The humorous "Hands Off My Chocolate" name for their company (recalling situations that many chocolate lovers have experienced) surfaced for the founders early on during initial trials and tastings.

Where do you hide your chocolate so that others can't find it? their website queries on one page. (Their website contains graphics that include a list of places people might choose to hide their chocolate.)

And, last but not least, each round piece that comprises the company's aggregate "bars" is printed with the word "Mine." Clever!

A blend of milk and dark chocolate resulted in a chocolate with a minimum of 39% cocoa solids, consisting of several round, bite-sized pieces fused together to make an aggregate "bar."

These thick, round pieces were fairly easy to break apart and eat. And the unique shapes created a fun tasting experience. The chocolate had a dark milk chocolate smooth texture and uniform sweet dark milk chocolate flavor with a hint of malt and vanilla.*

Belgian Chocolate - History
For many years Belgian chocolate was almost synonymous with African cacao. After all, West and Central African cacao-growing countries have been, geographically, the closest source of cacao for most European chocolate makers.

A European colonial history led to the growth of tea, coffee, cacao and other crops in many African nations in the 1800s and 1900s. For example, the former Gold Coast (now Ghana) used to be a British colony until 1959. Ivory Coast was a French colony until 1960. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) used to be the Belgian Congo (1908 - 1960), as recently as 59 years ago.

Times have changed. Today's European chocolate makers, such as Hands Off My Chocolate and many others (including some featured this week) are committed to better, more equitable relationships with farmers. Today's chocolate was made using "Fair Belgian chocolate," alluding to fair trade practices** that generally result in higher prices being paid to farmers for their crops in developing nations.

*Ingredients: Sugar, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, emulsifier (soy lecithin), natural vanilla flavoring.

**Built in to most fair trade organizations are also goals such as better working conditions and sustainable agricultural practices.


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