Thursday, April 9, 2020

Cafe-Tasse - Lait Noix de Coco 35% mini bars - April 9, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

Cafe-Tasse
Lait Noix de Coco 35% Cacao mini bar
Good +
Weight: .31 oz. (9 g.) in 1 mini bar x 2 bars
Calories: 100 calories (estimate) in 2 mini bars
Cost: $1.90 for 2 mini bars
Purchased from: Chocosphere.com, online order

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

Today's Lait Noix de Coco mini bars were from Cafe-Tasse (Belgium).

These creamy, sweet (35% cacao) milk chocolate confections were perfumed with coconut aroma and flavor. The miniature coconut milk bars provided a few small, sweet bites--just the right dose. A larger size bar this sweet would have been too much.

Flax4Life - Toasted Coconut Brownies - Apr. 8, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

Flax4Life
Toasted Coconut Brownie(s)
Good +
Weight: 2.33 oz. (66 g.) / 14 oz. (396 g.) in total container
Calories: 280 calories in 2 mini muffin brownies (1 serving)
Cost: $5.49 for 1 container of 12 brownies
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

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

Today's mini muffin shaped Toasted Coconut Brownies were from Flax4Life (Bellingham, WA).
Flax4Life offers a line of gluten free flax muffins, granola, buns and brownies.

These moist and flavorful gluten free toasted coconut chocolate brownies were quite good, especially for gluten-free baked goods. They had a soft, loft to them that were lacking in early versions of gluten-free cakes and muffins. Fortunately, brownies don't seem to suffer much from lack of gluten.

And, yes, these Flax4Life brownies did contain flaxseeds...that added fiber, anti-oxidants and alpha linolenic acid (ALA), Omega 3 fatty acids and protein.


Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Sejoyia Foods - Coco-Roons, Chocolate Chip - Apr. 7, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

Sejoyia Foods
Coco-Roons Chewy Cookie Bites
Chocolate Chip
Good
Weight: 3 oz. (85 g.) in 1 package
Calories: 455 calories in 1 package
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 Chocolate Chip Coco-Roons (Chewy Cookie Bites) were from Sejoyia Foods (Louisville, CO).

Certified Gluten-Free, Organic, Paleo, Kosher and Non-GMO Project Verified, these chewy vegan coconut bites were studded with chocolate chips and had a certain freshness and buttery fruitiness about them. The fresh taste was aided by sturdy, sealed (and re-sealable) packaging.

Ground cashews provided a bit of light nuttiness and protein balance to the blend. And small doses of maple syrup, vanilla and sea salt rounded out these bites, making them satisfying and not too sweet (thank you!).

Coconut was the featured flavor (these bites contained coconut, coconut sugar and extra virgin coconut oil); however, the natural coconut flavors were not overwhelming.

Ingredients: Organic Coconut, Organic Cashews, Organic Coconut Sugar, Organic Maple Syrup, Organic Unsweetened Chocolate, Organic Natural Vanilla Flavor, Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, Sea Salt.



Untamed Confections - Dark Chocolate Coconut Cup - Apr. 6, 2020

Chocolate of the Day:

Untamed Confections
Dark Chocolate Coconut Cup
Good
Weight: 1.8 oz. (51 g.) in total cup
Calories: 270 calories (estimate) in 1 cup
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: Untamed Confections (shop), Tubac, AZ

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

This substantial Dark Chocolate Coconut Cup was from Untamed Confections (Tubac, AZ).

The company's gluten-free chocolate confections, including today's chocolate cup, that I purchased were all very lightly sweetened with Sonoran Desert Wildflower Honey.* This made this cup a rare and delightful find: a coconut chocolate that wasn't gooey sweet with sugar and/or corn syrup. Hallelujah.

The thick, smooth dark chocolate cup was rich tasting and bittersweet. A toasted coconut and honey filling, shredded coconut topping and a faint flutter of vanilla provided lots of natural (subtle), balanced authentic coconut flavor.

*Ingredients: "Dark Fair Trade Organic Chocolate, Sonoran Desert Wildflower Honey, Organic Toasted Coconut, Organic Vanilla"

Note: In fairness to the vendor, I'm not showing a photo of this chocolate cup as it was stored for quite awhile in the chocolate vault (wine fridge), and did not look the same as it did when it was newly minted. (Traveling through a hot desert area with chocolates had its challenges.)


Sunday, April 5, 2020

Akbal Chocolate Mexicano - 70% Dark Chocolate with Leche de Coco (bar) - Apr. 5, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

Akbal Chocolate Mexicano
70% Cacao Chocolate with Leche de Coco Sin Azucar (bar)
Good - Good +
Weight: .88 oz. (25 g.) / 1.76 oz. (50 g.) in total bar
Calories: 110 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $ N/A - gift from a friend
Purchased from: N/A - gift from a friend (thank you Julie!)

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

Today's 70% Cacao Chocolate with Leche de Coco Sin Azucar (bar) was from Akbal Chocolate Mexicano aka Akbal Chocolates (Playas de Roasarito, Baja California, Mexico). This dark coconut milk bar was sweetened with xylitol rather than sugar.

The bar had a natural coconut aroma. And the relatively sweet, mild 70% cacao chocolate was suffused with authentic coconut flavor.

This tasted quite sweet, but there was no sugar. Nor was there any "off" flavor from the xylitol used as an alternative sweetener. The chocolate did taste a little sweeter than normal (like some sugarless gums). And I might have preferred a wee bit less xylitol/sweetness. But, it still worked as a chocolate bar.

*Xylitol, an alternative sweetener, is lower in calories and does not cause the increases or spikes in blood sugar that can happen when you eat items with cane or beet sugar. Xylitol was first discovered by French and German chemists in the late 1890s. After further research and development in Turku, Finland, Finnish company Jennki introduced a gum sweetened with xylitol (originally derived from birch trees) in 1975. Xylitol-sweetened gums, toothpastes, mouthwashes--and eventually candies, baked goods and chocolates--followed.

Note: Like chocolate, you should not feed xylitol-sweetened items to dogs. Bath can be toxic.

Dogs, cats and other animals (including ferrets, horses and bears) lack our ability to process theobromine, a naturally-occurring stimulant in cacao/chocolate; and ingestion can cause nausea, vomiting, nervous systems problems--and in rare cases, death. Whereas, most humans, rodents and certain birds are able to break down caffeine, theobromine and other plant alkaloids, more effectively. (From an evolutionary perspective, plants may have developed these bitter-tasting alkaloids, in part, as a defense mechanism to prevent animals and insects from eating them.)

Xylitol can trigger a release of insulin in dogs that cause them to become severely hypoglycemic. While xylitol can trigger milder, digestive side effects in humans, it is generally considered to be safe for us; and it may have certain desirable anti-bacterial properties (thus the inclusion in dental hygiene products). As with many new foods, try eating a small amount initially if you're unsure.



Saturday, April 4, 2020

MIA Chocolate - 65% Almond and Coconut (bar) - Apr. 4, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

MIA Chocolate
65% Almond and Coconut (bar)
Good +
Weight: 2.65 oz. (75 g.) in total bar
Calories: 420 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $6.95 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocosphere.com, online order

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

Today's Almond and Coconut (bar) was from MIA Chocolate (London, UK), a social concern that sources cacao grown in Madagascar and works to produce bean-to-bar chocolate in Africa.

The bar's description read: "flakes of salted almond and crunchy coconut have been sprinkled liberally over 65% dark chocolate..." The dark chocolate base had a slight tart, bright fruit note often associated with cacao grown in Madagascar.

The bits of almond and coconut pressed into the back of the bar were quite small and so did not overwhelm, but rather added subtle flavor and texture. And the sweet and salt balance was very deft. There was not too much of either, allowing the rich chocolate flavor to shine through.

Sjaak's Organic Chocolates - Golden Gate Bridge Dark Chocolate (bar) - April 3, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

Sjaak's Organic Chocolates
Golden Gate San Francisco Organic Dark Chocolate (bar with) Almonds
Good +
Weight: 2 oz. (56 g.) in total bar
Calories: 280 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: SweetE Organic, Mill Valley, CA

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

Today's Golden Gate San Francisco Organic Dark Chocolate (bar with) Almonds was from Sjaak's Organic Chocolates (Petaluma, CA).

The packaging bore the image of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, located about 39 miles from Sjaak's.

This bar had a nice, smooth texture, slightly slow melt and creamy mouthfeel. The dark chocolate flavor was smooth without being boring, with a fleeting hint of upbeat spice (cinnamon) and vanilla.* Almond bits added some nutty texture.

*Note: This bar contained vanilla, but no cinnamon.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

MIA Chocolate - Cranberry and Hazelnut Dark Chocolate (bar) - Apr. 2, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

MIA Chocolate
Cranberry and Hazelnut Dark Chocolate (bar)
Good +
Weight: 1.325 oz. (37.5 g.) / 2.65 oz. (75 g.) in total bar
Calories: 400 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $6.95 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocosphere.com, online order

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

Today's Cranberry and Hazelnut Dark Chocolate (bar) was from MIA Chocolate (London, UK), and was "Made in Africa (MIA)" in Madagascar using cacao grown in Madagascar.

This 65% cacao smooth, rich and flavorful dark chocolate contained a balanced tart red fruit and nut flavor and texture blend, with dried, ruby red cranberries and roasted hazelnut bits. The sweetness level seemed just right; and a hint of cinnamon added a bit of sweet warmth.

Tasting notes for this bar read: "...its flavour (sic) roams between sweet and sour with a nutty crunch and notes of woodsy spice."



Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Baraboo Candy Company, LLC - Peanut Butter Cow Pie! - April 1, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

Baraboo Candy Company, LLC
Peanut Butter Cow Pie!
Good
Weight: 1.4 oz. (39.5 g.) / 2.8 oz. (79 g.) in total package
Calories: 95 calories in 1/2 package
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: Bed Bath and Beyond, Mountain View, CA

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

Happy April Fools Day! We're taking a break from fancy single origin, artisan chocolate bars to enjoy a sweet bite of fun from America's Heartland. Today's milk chocolate, candy bar-like "Peanut Butter Cow Pie!" was from Baraboo Candy Company, LLC (Baraboo, WI).

Baraboo has been making bovine-themed chocolate confections since 1981. Their offerings include: The Original Cow Pie! (with pecans instead of peanuts), a dark chocolate cow pie, mini cow pies and other cow-themed candies and chocolate confections.

The company's red building with white trim in Wisconsin appears on their website, with a friendly human dressed in a cow suit out front. If Baraboo Candy were not located approximately 2,129.6 miles away from where I live, I would have happily paid them a visit. Udderfingers anyone?

How did today's cow pie taste?

This cow pie was a successful blend of sweet, creamy (it contained real butter), penut-ty, crunchy and chocolatey flavors and textures. All the right ingredients to satisfy a sweet tooth.







Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Taza Chocolate - Paleo Dark Chocolate Slab with Almonds - Mar. 31, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

Taza Chocolate
Paleo Dark Chocolate Slab with Almonds
Good +
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 15 oz. (424.5? g.) in total bar
Calories: 150 calories (estimate) in 1 oz. (28.3 g.) of bar
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

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

Today's paleo dark bar with almonds was from Taza Chocolate (Somerville, MA).
This generous slab of 65% dark stoneground chocolate, sweetened only with coconut sugar (no cane sugar), contained un-roasted organic almonds, and was made with cacao grown in the Dominican Republic.

The bar had a dark chocolate aroma with balanced wood/green banana and dried fruit and raw nut notes. Un-roasted almonds added some authentic nut texture and flavor.

This chocolate was certified USDA Organic, Direct Trade, Gluten Free and Kosher Pareve, and Non-GMO Project Verified. It was also dairy free, soy free and vegan.

This deluxe bar could feed a large family. Since large social gatherings are curtailed this month due to flu concerns, I can't share with friends. Instead, I will enjoy this bar over time.

Ingredients: organic cacao beans, organic coconut sugar, organic almonds, organic cacao butter




Monday, March 30, 2020

Akbal Chocolate Mexicano - Oscuro 72% Higo Almendra bar - Mar. 30, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

Akbal Chocolate Mexicano
Oscuro 72% Higo Almendra Ahumada Sal de Mar (Edicion Especial)
Dark 72% Fig, Smoked Almond, Sea Salt (Special Edition) (bar)
Good +
Weight: 1.94 oz. (55 g.) (estimate, no weight listed on label) in total bar
Calories: 296 calories (estimate) in 1 bar
Cost: N/A - gift from a friend
Purchased from: N/A - gift from a friend (thank you Julie!)

Welcome to Day #7 of Chocolate and Mexico Theme Week, and Day #2 of Chocolate and Nuts Theme Week.

Today's Oscuro 72% Higo Almendra Ahumada Sal de Mar chocolate was from Akbal Chocolate Mexicano aka Akbal Chocolates (Playas de Rosarito Beach, Baja California, Mexico). This attractively packaged* 72% cacao dark chocolate fig almond and sea salt special edition bar was made from bean-to-bar in Mexico.

Dried fig and nuts naturally complement dark chocolate very nicely. Add a balanced hint of sea salt and a trace of smoke, and I'm sold.** The dark chocolate was relatively uniform and smooth and not too sweet (thank you!).

*Art on packaging was from Ronaldo Glaubitz

**Ingredients: Cacao, azucar (sugar), higo (fig), almendra ahumada (smoked almond(s)), sal de mar (sea salt).

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Akbal Chocolate Mexicano - Chocolate Oscuro Almendras (bar) - Mar. 29, 2020

Chocolate of the Day:

Akbal Chocolate Mexicano
100% Cacao - Chocolate Oscuro Almendras (bar)
Good - Good +
Weight: .97 oz. (27.5 g.) / 1.94 oz. (55 g.) in total bar
Calories: 110 calories (per label) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $ unknown - gift from a friend 
Purchased from: N/A - gift from a friend (thank you Julie!)

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate and Mexico Theme Week, and Day #1 of Chocolate and Nuts Theme Week.

Today's Chocolate Oscuro (Dark) Almendras (Almonds) (bar) was from Akbal Chocolate Mexicano (aka Akbal Chocolates) located in Playas de Rosarito, Baja California, in Mexico.

The smell of a 100% cacao bar can be very different from the taste one's brain is expecting. Most of this difference can be explained by the lack of sugar or sweeteners.

However, there was no schism or shocking split between aroma and expected flavor with today's ultra-dark chocolate that was made from bean-to-bar in Mexico.

The aroma of this 100% cacao bar was fairly light, with roasted notes. And the flavor was also relatively mild, with a balanced, roasted bitterness. Whole almonds added crunchy, nutty texture and flavor and a welcome, relative sweetness that mellowed the bitterness.

*The three ingredients listed for this bar were: pasta y manteca de cacao, almendras (cacao paste, cacao butter, almonds)




Mexican Chocolate Avocado Mousse - Mar. 28, 2020

Chocolate of the Day:

Mexican Chocolate Avocado Mousse
Good +
Weight: 3 oz. (85 g.) (estimate) in 1 serving
Calories: unknown 
Cost: $ N/A - multiple ingredients (some old, some new)
Purchased from: N/A - multiple sources

Bienvenidos a (welcome to) Chocolate Banquet. Today we celebrated Day #5 of Chocolate and Mexico Theme Week with a Mexican-themed chocolate mousse,* made with a blend of ingredients native to Mexico, including: cacao, avocado, vanilla, honey, allspice, and a touch of chili powder.

Melted 81% dark chocolate and cocoa powder provided rich chocolate flavor, and vanilla extract and ground allspice brightened up the deep dark flavor a bit. Ripe avocados added creamy texture; and a few spoonfuls of milk of one's choice, or even ice cream, can enhance this further.

These ingredients were blended together to make a creamy, flavorful, honey-sweetened mousse. (The Maya and Aztec peoples may have used honey from stingless bees as a sweetener or dessert. I couldn't find any stingless bee (Melipolini/Melipona) honey. I used organic honey from honeybees.

Nuts and seeds (peanuts, pecans, pinon nuts and squash seeds) from Mexico would also be suitable, authentic garnishes for this dessert.

*A pudding is generally cooked, whereas a mousse is not. Several recipes call for using a piping bag to apply a mousse like this to a plate or a bowl, as it does make it much more attractive looking. (While it sounded unnecessary, it really does make this dessert look much more appetizing.)

Friday, March 27, 2020

Original Beans - Zoque 88% "Spirited" Dark Chocolate (bar) - Mar. 27, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

Original Beans B.V. 
Zoque 88% "Spirited" Dark Chocolate (bar)
Good + - Good ++
Weight: 1.23 oz. (35 g.) / 2.46 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 205 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $7.95 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocosphere.com, online order

Hola y bienvenidos (Hello and welcome) to Day #4 of Chocolate and Mexico Theme Week.

Today's Zoque 88% "Spirited" Selva Zoque, Mexico, Dark, Organic, Vegan (bar) was from Original Beans B.V. (Amsterdam, The Netherlands). This chocolate had bold earthy, dried fruit (dried fig, dried banana), and slightly bitter flavor and finish. I enjoyed the lack of sugar; although some might like a pinch more cane sugar to brighten this up. Tasting notes on the package read: tropical lychee and coconut.

The ultra-dark chocolate was made using Tabasqueño cacao, and supports local Zoque and Tzotzil tribes--who live largely in the states of Tabasco and Chiapas in Mexico, and who have had some relationship with cacao for approximately 4,000 years.



Thursday, March 26, 2020

Michel Cluizel - Plantation Mokaya Organic 66% Mexico (bar) - Mar. 26, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

Michel Cluizel
Plantation Mokaya Bio/Organic Chocolat Noir 66% (bar)
Good ++
Weight: 1.23 oz. (35 g.) / 2.46 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 200.5 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $7.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocosphere.com, online order

Welcome to Day #3 of Chocolate and Mexico Theme Week--and the third French chocolate bar made from Mexican-grown cacao.

Today's single origin (Mexico) Plantation Mokaya Organic 66% Dark Chocolate (bar) was made by Michel Cluizel (Damville, France).

This bar had an aroma with chocolate fudge brownie, dried fruit (prune), clean green and very faint pleasant/aromatic vanilla tobacco notes. The melt was even and smooth and the texture was slightly silky and buttery.

The flavor was relatively sweet (but not overpoweringly so) 66% cacao chocolate with balanced earth, true chocolate and mellow dried fruit flavor and finish.

The bar contained three ingredients: "Fine cocoa from the Mokaya Plantation" (located in the Province of Chiapas, in SW Mexico); "Pure cocoa butter;" and "Bourbon vanilla pod."






Bonnat - Selva Maya 75% cacao (bar) - Mar. 25, 2020

Chocolate of the Day:

Chocolat Bonnat 
Selva Maya 75% cacao (bar)
Good ++
Weight: 1.76 oz. (50 g.) / 3.5 oz. (100 g.) in total bar
Calories: 300 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $18.50 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocosphere.com, online order

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

Today's Selva Maya* 75% cacao (bar) had a light spice, fruit and very faint, fleeting green, aroma; and it was light and fruity and tasted sweeter than expected for a 75% cacao dark bar. It had a gentle complexity to it with very slight earthiness and cocoa flavor in the finish. 

The description on the packaging described the chocolate as "very balanced, fruity" and "intense but delicate." The latter phrase may sound contradictory, but it was accurate.

This three-ingredient** bar was made from "an ancient cacao"...that had been "rediscovered and rescued after many years of research and adventure in the deepest part of the Mayan territory in the heart of Chiapas" (in SW Mexico, north of Guatemala). The unique cacao origin story helps explain the relatively high price ($18.50 USD for this 100 gram bar).

* Selva Maya in English translates to: Maya Jungle
** Ingredients: "Bitter chocolate, cocoa butter, sugar"





Bonnat - Morenita 65% Mexico bar - Mar. 24, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

Chocolat Bonnat
Morenita 65% Mexico (bar)
Good +++ - Very Good
Weight: 1.16 oz. (33.3 g.) / 3.5 oz. (100 g.) in total bar
Calories: 167 calories (estimate) in 1/3 bar
Cost: $8.95 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocosphere.com, online order

Welcome to Day #7 of Chocolate and Madagascar Theme Week, and Day #1 of Chocolate and Mexico Theme Week, via France.

Today's French chocolate duo involved a re-tasting of a Madagascar bar from Chapon Chocolatier (France), accompanied by a Morenita 65% Mexico bar from Chocolat Bonnat (France).

The latter Chocolat Bonnat dark milk bar had the heavenly buttery, creamy texture, melt and mouthfeel that Bonnat bars often have. And the smooth rich flavor was lovely too with a light hint of caramel.

Monday, March 23, 2020

MIA Chocolate - Baobab and Salted Nibs bar - Mar. 23, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

MIA Chocolate
MIA Baobab and Salted Nibs bar
Good +
Weight: 1.325 oz. (37.5 g.) / 2.65 oz. (75 g.) in total bar
Calories: 210 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $6.95 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocosphere.com (online order)

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

Today's MIA Baobab and Salted Nibs bar was from MIA Chocolate (London, UK) and was made in Africa (Madagascar).

This unique, well-tempered 65% dark chocolate bar was a blend of smooth chocolate and slightly chewy and crunchy texture from cacao nibs* pressed into the back of the bar. (Sea salt added to the nibs was very minimal.) The chocolate had a slightly acidic (Vitamin C/citrus) flavor that I'm assuming came from baobab powder.

Madagascar is home to the tall, bulbous-shaped baobab tree, also known as the tree of life. The fruit of this tree, like cacao, is contained in relatively large, tough/fibrous pods. Like cacao, baobab fruit pulp and ground seed powders are edible and have a citrus flavor. Neither fruit can be easily found supermarket outside their country of origin. So, to be able to taste the two in a chocolate bar is a rare opportunity and invites curiosity.

*Ingredients: Cocoa mass, cane sugar, cocoa butter, cocoa nibs 4%, baobab powder 2%, emulsifier (sunflower lecithin), sea salt (less than 1%).

** Both cacao and baobab are members of the malvaceae (mallows) family--along with okra, cotton, hibiscus, molokhia, marsh mallows and durian. Boabab trees can store water and provide nutrition in dry climates and gave traditionally been used as a medicinal plant as well.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

MIA Chocolate - 75% Dark Chocolate bar - Mar. 22, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

MIA Chocolate
75% Dark Chocolate bar
Good ++
Weight: 1.325 oz. (37.5 g.) / 2.65 oz. (75 g.) in total bar
Calories: 210 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $6.95 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocosphere.com (online order)

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

Today's 75% Dark Chocolate bar was from MIA Chocolate (London, UK), and was made in Africa.

This bar had a slightly reddish hue, a warm spice aroma, and a smooth, gradual melt. The chocolate flavor had bright, red berry (raspberry), tart fruit notes with balanced citrus (sweet and mild pink grapefruit) acidity and a faint sparkle of sweetened fruit yogurt. These color and flavor characteristics are often associated with fine flavored Madagascan cacao.

The emblem you may see on the MIA* bar packaging (bottom right corner) is that of a Sankofa bird. (Sankofa roughly translated means to "go back and get it." And the "it" in this case may refer to beneficial knowledge that may otherwise be forgotten.)

This African metaphorical symbol, with roots in Ghana, is associated with applying lessons learned from the past to future endeavors, in order to make positive progress. True to the company's tagline "Food with Thought," this bit of wisdom is something we all might benefit from.

*The MIA in MIA Chocolate, a brand name and social concern, stands for Made in Africa. The organization fairly sources premium cacao from the island nation of Madagascar; and the cacao used to make today's bean-to-bar offering came from a single region--presumably near the Sambirano (River) Valley in NW Madagascar, where cacao is known for its reddish color and "fruity" flavor profile. 




MIA Chocolate - Candied Orange Dark Chocolate bar - Mar. 21, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

MIA Chocolate
Candied Orange Dark Chocolate 65% Cocoa bar
Good ++
Weight: 2.65 oz. (75 g.) in total bar
Calories: 400 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $ 6.95 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocosphere.com (online order)

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

Today's Candied Orange Dark Chocolate 65% Cocoa bar was from MIA Chocolate (London, UK), and was made from bean-to-bar in Africa (Madagascar).

This bar was a blend of pleasing 65% dark chocolate interspersed with authentic-tasting soft pieces of flavorful candied orange. (And both chocolate and fruit were flavorful and sweet, but not too sweet; thank you!)

Madagascan cacao is known for bright fruit with balanced citrus flavor notes. And the cacao in this bar complemented the candied orange bits nicely.

*MIA (Made in Africa) is a brand affiliated with KuanZa Ltd. (London, UK). Founder Brett Beach was also a co-founder of Madecasse (now known as "Beyond Good by Madecasse" in Brooklyn, NY) another bean-to-bar chocolate (and vanilla) company operating in Madagascar.




Friday, March 20, 2020

MIA Chocolate - 100% Cocoa Madagascar Dark bar - Mar. 20, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

MIA Chocolate
100% Cocoa Madagascar Dark (bar)
Good + - Good ++
Weight: 1.325 oz. (37.5 g.) / 2.65 oz. (75 g.) in total bar
Calories: 230 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $6.95 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocosphere.com (online order)

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

Today's 100% Cocoa Madagascar Dark bar was from MIA Chocolate (and made by a contract manufacturer in Madagascar).

This one-ingredient (cocoa mass) bar had an intriguing, balanced green and savory aroma. The melt was even and smooth. with a relatively creamy, thick (almost nut butter-like) mouthfeel. The flavor included a slightly tart and astringent green (think not quite fully ripe banana with a hint of red currant), true chocolate and savory/salty notes, that mellowed into nice bold but quite smooth 100% cacao taste with a very slight astringency and a fleeting buckwheat pancake note in the finish. For a 100% cacao dark chocolate, this was quite smooth, offering balanced complexity without being too bitter.

Like any ultra-dark bar (with no sugar), I enjoyed re-tasting this bar. It continued to evolve over the course of the day, mostly with the same flavor and aroma notes mentioned above. Chocolate flavor will vary depending on time of day, temperature, proximity to a meal/food/beverage choice, a taster's body/mouth chemistry, and other mysterious factors.

The brand name, MIA, stands for Made In Africa, and the organization is a London (UK) based social enterprise that sources Criollo, Amelonado and Trinitario varieties of cacao* from farmers located in the Sambirano Valley of Madagascar. (These farmers also perform some value-added steps in cacao processing following harvesting (such as fermentation and drying), that benefit the local economy.) MIA also is involved with tree planting efforts in Madagascar.

*These three cacao varieties were wiped out by diseases in other cacao-growing countries in Africa and were largely replaced by the more robust Forastero cacao variety. The fact that these three varieties survive(d) in Madagascar has given this island nation an advantage when it comes to fine flavored cacao with complex and delicate flavor characteristics.




Thursday, March 19, 2020

HT Traders - Madagascar 32% Belgian Milk Chocolate (bar) - Mar. 19, 2020

Chocolate of the Day:

HT Traders
(Distributed by Harris Teeter, Inc.)
Madagascar 32% Cocoa Belgian Milk Chocolate (bar)
Good
Weight: 1.3 oz. (38 g.) / 3.5 oz. (100 g.) in total bar
Calories: 220 calories in 1 serving of bar
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: missing information

Welcome to Day #8 of Milk Chocolate Theme Week, and Day #2 of Chocolate and Madagascar Theme Week.

Today's 32% Cocoa "Madagascar Origin" Belgian Milk Chocolate bar was made in Belgium and distributed by Harris Teeter, Inc. (Matthews, NC).

This week features dark (and a few milk) chocolate bars made using cacao grown in Madagascar, a large island nation off the southeastern coast of Africa.

Chocolate made from cacao grown in Madagascar often has a slightly reddish hue, and bright berry/red fruit flavor notes. Yesterday's 58% Dark Milk Madagascar (Sambirano) bar from Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate was a delicious example of what dark milk chocolate can be. Less sugar and milk meant more cacao flavor and color traits were able to shine through.

While it's unfair to compare yesterday's 58% cacao Madagascar dark milk bar to today's 32% sweet confection, it was interesting to note the differences.

Today's bar was slightly pale, even a bit translucent. And it was mostly sugar, cocoa butter and milk.* It was very difficult to identify any other flavors beyond that. Just the right amount of sugar can help berry notes sing, but too much sugar (or any other inclusion) can bury a flavor experience. If you love a bar that is mostly sugar and is milky smooth, then this bar will satisfy that craving, but you may miss out on what Madagascar cacao has to offer.

*Ingredients: Sugar, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, skimmed milk powder, cocoa liquor, natural vanilla flavouring." (Cocoa solids minimum 32%; milk solids minimum 18%).

Dick Taylor - 58% Dark Milk Chocolate; 68% Espresso Dark (bars) - Mar. 18, 2020

Chocolate(s) of the Day:

Dick Taylor
58% Dark Milk Chocolate (bar)
Good +++ - Very Good
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 2 oz. (57 g.) in total bar
Calories: 155 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $9.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: missing information

Dick Taylor
Espresso - 68% Dark Chocolate bar
Good ++ - Good +++
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 2 oz. (57 g.) in 1 bar
Calories: 152 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $9.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: missing information

Welcome to Day #7 of Chocolate and Dark Milk Chocolate Theme Week; and Day #1 of Chocolate and Madagascar Theme Week.

Today's highlight was re-tasting a 58% Dark Milk Chocolate Madagascar (Sambirano) bar from Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate (Eureka, CA).

This was an outstanding dark milk chocolate bar with creamy texture and great flavor. The aroma and flavor had molasses, dried bright fruit, chocolate and caramel pot de creme notes. (The maker's tasting notes read as follows: prunes, almond butter and caramel.)

One good Dick Taylor bar deserves another.... The Madagascar dark milk bar (above) was paired with a 68% Dark Chocolate Espresso bar (with coffee from Sightglass Coffee (San Francisco, CA)). Loved that the authentic dark roasted coffee flavor was fully incorporated into the dark chocolate that was made from a blend of cacao beans (from Belize, Madagascar and Guatemala). And that there was no coffee grit to chew through, leaving one to enjoy smooth but complex flavor harmony.

Slitti Cacao Pregati - LatteNero 62% (bar) - Mar. 17, 2020

Chocolate of the Day:

Slitti Cacao Pregati
LatteNero 62% (bar)
Good ++ - Good +++
Weight: 3 oz. (100 g) in total bar
Calories: 596 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: Chocosphere.com, online order

Happy Saint Patrick's Day, and welcome to Day #6 of Milk Chocolate Theme Week.

Today's LatteNero 62% bar was from Slitti Cacao Pregati (Tuscany, Italy).

This thick, ultra-dark milk chocolate bar will appeal to dark chocolate lovers who don't usually like milk chocolate. In fact, except for the rich, creamy (from whole milk powder) texture and mouthfeel, one might not have guessed this chocolate even contained milk.

The bar had the aroma and flavor of dark chocolate chips, chocolate chip cookies (with raisins). It was dark (milk) chocolate with a well balanced flavor blend that included subtle dried fruit (raisin) and mild, pleasant earth notes.


Michel Cluizel - Mon Truc A Moi 45% (bar) - Mar. 16, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

Michel Cluizel
Mon Truc A Moi - Milk Chocolate 45% bar
Good +++
Weight: 1.06 oz. (30 g.) in total bar
Calories: 162 (estimate) calories in 1 bar
Cost: $3.40 (sale price) for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocosphere.com, online order

Today's Mon Truc A Moi* Milk Chocolate 45% bar was from Michel Cluizel (France). The company has been manufacturing chocolate in the French town of Damville in Normandy since 1948.

This French chocolate bar was a wonderful blend of crunchy (cacao nibs) and rich, flavorful creamy dark milk chocolate and a hint of hazelnut. And, it was not too sweet (thank you!)

The combination of dark milk chocolate, cacao nibs, croquant and hazelnut paste disappeared all too quickly.

*Mon Truc A Moi loosely translates into "my thing" in English. Perhaps this was also a way of saying the maker's favorite combination of ingredients. It certainly was close to ours.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Cafe-Tasse - Lait Noisettes (mini bar) - Mar. 15, 2020

Chocolate of the Day:

Cafe-Tasse
Lait Noisettes mini bar
Good - Good +
Weight: 0.31 oz. (9 g.) in 1 mini bar
Calories: 50 calories (estimate) in 1 mini bar
Cost: $ N/A - part of a larger order
Purchased from: Chocosphere.com, online order

Welcome to Day #4 of Milk Chocolate Theme Week.

Today's Lait Noisettes mini bar was from Cafe-Tasse (Belgium). 

As in the previous 34% Cafe-Tasse milk chocolate mini bars this week, this one had very attractive caramel and milk chocolate aroma notes. It was smooth and sweet and contained tiny bits of nuts, giving this chocolate a very slight nutty flavor and texture as well.




Cafe-Tasse - Cafe au Lait mini bar - Mar. 14, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

Cafe-Tasse
Lait Cafe mini bar
Good - Good +
Weight: 0.31 oz. (9 g.) in 1 mini bar
Calories: 50 calories (estimate) in 1 mini bar
Cost: $ N/A - part of a large order
Purchased from: Chocosphere.com, online order

Welcome to Day #3 of Milk Chocolate Theme Week.

Today's Lait Cafe mini bar was from Cafe-Tasse (Belgium).

The company name, Cafe-Tasse, translates to "coffee cup" in English. Their small size mini bars (adorned with a steaming coffee cup logo) are the perfect side dish with a cup of joe (or tea). And, today's milk chocolate coffee bar would add just a touch of mocha to this tasting experience.

This sweet milk chocolate (min. 34%) had a very fine gritty texture (from ground coffee).


Friday, March 13, 2020

Cafe-Tasse - Lait Nougat 35% mini bar - Mar. 13, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

Cafe-Tasse
Lait Nougat
Good +
Weight: 0.31 oz. (9 g.) in 1 mini bar
Calories: 50 calories (estimate) in 1 mini bar
Cost: $N/A part of a larger order
Purchased from: Chocosphere.com, online order

Welcome to Day #2 of Milk Chocolate Theme Week.

This smooth Lait Nougat mini bar from Cafe-Tasse (Belgium) had a lovely, rich milk chocolate aroma with caramel notes. The taste of this 32% cacao chocolate was a bit too sweet for me, but the smell was heavenly.

Cafe-Tasse makes their chocolate bars (full-sized and small sizes are available) using cacao grown in Africa and South America.

Nougat is generally a confection of whipped egg white, honey and almonds. The pieces of nougat were too small to taste or create discernible texture in this milk chocolate mini bar, but likely contributed to the nice aroma, flavor, and sweetness.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Chocolate Naive - Kefir Probiotic Milk Chocolate (bar) - Mar. 12, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

Chocolate Naive
Kefir Probiotic Milk Chocolate (bar)
Good ++
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 2 oz. (57 g.) in total bar
Calories: 150 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: missing information

Welcome to Day #1 of Milk Chocolate Theme Week.

Today's Kefir Probiotic Milk Chocolate (bar) was crafted by Chocolate Naive (Vilnius, Lithuania).

This creative, well-executed, rich dark 57 percent milk chocolate (bar) was made using two fermented foods: cacao and kefir. The dark milk chocolate had a smooth creamy melt and texture, and a balanced, fruity tart chocolate flavor.

High-quality, small-batch, dark milk chocolates are pricier than bulk, sugary milk chocolates containing 32 percent cocoa or less. And when you find one like today's, it's well worth the quest.









Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Ceimoi Chocolatier - Super Dark Ivory Coast 90% Cocoa (bar) - Mar. 11, 2020

Chocolate of the Day:

Ceimoi Chocolatier
Super Dark Ivory Coast 90% Cocoa (bar)
Good - Good +
Weight: 1.2 oz. (34 g.) / 3 oz. (85 g.) in total bar
Calories: 230 calories in 1 serving (4 squares of) bar
Cost: $1.49 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #7 of Chocolate and West Africa Theme Week.

Today's "Super Dark Ivory Coast 90% Cocoa" (bar) was produced in France and distributed by Cemoi Inc. (Pittsburgh, PA). Cemoi is a large French chocolate manufacturer, founded in 1814, with an origin story that dates further back (to 1770) in Grenoble. Cemoi also has a small manufacturing presence in Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) -- the largest cocoa producing country in the world (along with Ghana) in West Africa.*

The aroma had roasted, nutty, spice cookie, light floral, dark chocolate and very faint earth and fruit notes. The bar had a smooth, slightly oily (think very smooth nut butter) melt and mouthfeel. The flavor was uniform, dark chocolate flavor, albeit more subtle and complex than most with flavor notes similar to the aroma.

Last, but not least, his 90% bar lacked the bitterness and/or astringency associated with many other ultra-high percentage chocolate bars; and it had a relatively mild chocolate nut butter finish.

The is the 90% bar is ideally suited for chocolate fans who
  • Prefer tamer ultra-dark chocolate that won't grab you by the throat
  • Want to avoid the sugar found in lower percentage, sweeter dark chocolates
  • Are on a budget
Maker's tasting notes read as follows: "coffee + rose + very slightly bitter"

Ingredients: "Ivory Coast unsweetened chocolate, cocoa butter, sugar, vanilla natural flavouring."

*Four countries in West Africa produce approximately 70 percent of cocoa in the world used to make chocolate: Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

LetterPress Chocolate - Satocao Sao Tome 70% Dark Chocolate (bar) - March 10, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

LetterPress Chocolate LLC
Satocao Sao Tome 70% Dark Chocolate (bar)
Good + - Good ++
Weight: 1.15 oz. (32.5 g.) / 2.3 oz. (65 g.) in total bar
Calories: 173 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $12.00 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: missing information

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate and West Africa Theme Week.

Today's Satocao Sao Tome 70% Dark Chocolate (bar) was from LetterPress Chocolate LLC (Los Angeles, CA).

This well-executed, smooth dark bar morphed from one sweet thing to another: from sweet honey, faint spiced fruit, very faint coffee, very faint sweet green tea, light molasses, true chocolate, a glimmer of faint earth, and then back to sweet chocolate, with subtle and balanced light fruit acidity.

The maker's tasting notes suggested: "peanut butter cup." Yes, another sweet confection with timeless appeal. The maker has managed to make a sweet, two-ingredient chocolate into one with depth and complexity. Not an easy thing to do actually.

Ingredients: cacao beans, unrefined cane sugar


Monday, March 9, 2020

Cafe-Tasse - 77% Cacao Extra Noir; and 60% Noir mini bars - Mar. 9, 2020

Chocolate(s) of the Day: 

Cafe-Tasse
77% Cacao Extra Noir
Good ++ - Very Good
Weight: 0.3 oz. (9 g.) in 1 mini bar
Calories: 50 calories (estimate) in 1 bar
Cost: N/A - part of bulk order
Purchased from: N/A - part of large order

Cafe-Tasse
60% Cacao Noir
Good + - Good ++
Weight: 0.3 oz. (9 g.) in 1 mini bar
Calories: 50 calories (estimate) in 1 bar
Cost: N/A - part of bulk order
Purchased from: N/A - part of large order

Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate and West Africa. Many of this week's featured chocolates are Belgian chocolates, including today's mini bars from Cafe-Tasse (Bruxelles/Brussels, Belgium).

Both the 77% Cacao Extra Noir (Dark) and the 60% Noir (Dark) bars were exquisitely packaged miniature versions of full-sized bars. Both chocolates had rich, dark chocolate flavor. The Extra Dark was particularly good. And both were blends of different beans, and possibly origins.

Although origins were not disclosed, Cafe-Tasse has stated they use cacao from Africa and South/Latin America.



Sunday, March 8, 2020

Libeert Chocolate - Organic Dark Chocolate 70% Cacao (bar) - Mar. 8, 2020

Chocolate of the Day:

Libeert Chocolate
Organic Dark Chocolate 70% Cacao (bar)
Good - Good +
Weight: 1.16 oz. (33.3 g.) / 3.5 oz. (100 g.) in total bar
Calories: 180 calories (estimate) in 1/3 bar
Cost: $2.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #4 of Chocolate and West Africa Theme Week.

Today's Organic Dark Chocolate 70% (bar) was manufactured in Belgium by Libeert s.a. (Comines, Belgium).

This chocolate had a relatively complex dark aroma with balanced olive and slight earth/loam notes. The melt was smooth and the taste progressed into more of a true chocolate, light brownie flavor and finish.

While today's dark chocolate bar did not specify an origin, statistically, I'm betting it was made with an organic cacao blend that included West African cacao. This bar was Fairtrade and gluten free.
("Cocoa and cane sugar: traded in compliance with Fairtrade standards.")

Ingredients: Organic chocolate liquor, organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter; Cocoa solids 71% minimum)






Nirvana Belgian Chocolates - Organic Belgian Dark Chocolate candied ginger (bar) - March 7, 2020

Chocolate(s) of the Day:

Nirvana Belgian Chocolates
(Made in Belgium for Belgium's Chocolate Source)
Organic Belgian Dark Chocolate - candied ginger
Good
Weight: 1.5 oz. (42.5 g.) / 3 oz. (85 g.) in total bar
Calories: 230 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: missing information

Welcome to Day #3 of Chocolate and West Africa Theme Week.

How do I know the chocolate in this Organic Belgian Dark Chocolate bar with candied ginger came from cacao grown in West Africa? I don't, but since there was no origin listed for this bar on the packaging (or to be found on the company website), I will assume there is a 75% - 80% chance that most of the cocoa beans used to make this bar came from either Ivory Coast, Ghana or Nigeria.*

After cocoa was brought from the New World to Africa for cultivation, European chocolate sellers were closer to the ingredients they needed for chocolate beverages (and later for bars and confections). As part of their colonial presence in Africa (Belgian Congo), Belgium became involved in West and Central African commodities centuries ago, including growing and importing cacao as well as rubber and other goods for profit.

Things have evolved in the past century since Belgium stepped out of their colonial position in 1960, and Belgium is still quite well-known for fine chocolate. And today, many Belgian chocolate makers (including Nirvana) sport a fair trade logo to convince chocolate buyers that farmers are receiving a fair price for their crops and that cocoa is "traded in compliance with Fairtrade Standards."

Yes, you may be thinking, but, how did today's bar taste?

Smooth, organic fair trade dark chocolate provided a solid, silent, natural partner for the bits of candied ginger which added a balanced sparkle and bit of sweet spiciness. This chocolate was made with fat-reduced cocoa powder. (Adding (lower acidity) cocoa powder can sometimes serve to mellow or even out chocolate flavors.) This attractively packaged bar was made in Belgium for Belgium's Chocolate Source (Milton, MA).

Claudio Corallo - Ubric Uvas ("drunk" grapes/raisins) in dark chocolate
I also re-tasted a unique, wonderful and flavorful "boozy" tasting chocolate from Claudio Corallo (Sao Tome and Principe) that I'd first sampled at Alegio Chocolate (at their Berkeley, CA location) back in 2014. This pricey chocolate was quite special. The chocolate, in bar form, was made using grapes/raisins and fermented cacao fruit distillate. I'd stored a bar of it back in the chocolate vault, and it had stayed perfectly fresh in a sealed foil package. (Corallo is also fond of chocolate with ginger.)

*According to a Statistica report (2020), titled "Cocoa beans: supplier companies to Belgium 2017" 64.6% of cocoa imported into Belgium in 2017 for chocolate making came from Ivory Coast, followed by 10.1% from Ghana, and 6.1% from Nigeria.* (Smaller percentages are listed for South American countries (Peru, Ecuador) and the Dominican Republic.)

Friday, March 6, 2020

Cemoi Chocolatier - Sao Tome 66% Cocoa (bar) - Mar. 6, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

Cemoi Chocolatier
Sao Tome 66% Cocoa (bar)
Good - Good +
Weight: 1.2 oz. (34 g.) / 3 oz. (85 g.) in total bar
Calories: 200 calories in 4 squares of bar
Cost: $1.49 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #2 of Chocolate and West Africa Theme Week.

Why focus on West Africa? Because chances are that the bulk of the chocolate you've eaten in your lifetime was made using cacao grown in West Africa (most of it from Ghana and the Ivory Coast). Cacao was brought from the New World to West Africa in the early to mid 1800s, and ramped up from there. But the first country where cacao likely made landfall was the island nation of Sao Tome and Principe (in 1822), that earned the nickname "chocolate islands."

Today's Sao Tome 66 percent Cocoa bar was made in France and distributed by Cemoi Inc. (Pittsburgh, PA). Cemoi cocoa comes from thousands of farmers (an estimated 60,000 worldwide) and "is collected in fair trade conditions." Cocoa for this chocolate was Non GMO Project Verified.

This smooth chocolate bar's aroma and flavor had roasted earthy, loamy notes and a light bitterness, with a touch of honey and faint cinnamon.


Letterpress Chocolate - Ashanti Ghana 100% Dark Chocolate Cacao (bar) - Mar. 5, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

LetterPress Chocolate LLC
Ashanti Ghana 100% Dark Chocolate (bar)
Good ++
Weight: 1.06 oz. (30 g.) / 2.1 oz. (60 g.) in total bar
Calories: 158 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $12.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #7 of 100% Chocolate Theme Week; and Day #1 of Chocolate and West Africa Theme Week.

Today's Ashanti Ghana 100 percent Dark Chocolate bar was made by LetterPress Chocolate LLC (Los Angeles, CA).

According to the write-up that accompanied this bar, "Ashanti is a cocoa growing region of Ghana that has been plagued with slave labor and poor prices for farmers." The makers note they paid twice the commodity price for cacao beans used to make this bar to "help farmers make a living wage."

This single ingredient* bar had an even, smooth melt, and consistent and pleasing chocolate brownie and subtle fruit/fruit pie notes in the aroma, flavor and finish. It was also less bitter than many other 100% bars. A very edible 100% chocolate bar indeed.

Letterpress tasting notes read: "brownie crust, graham cracker."

*Ingredients: Cacao Beans


Momotombo Chocolate - Roasted whole cacao beans - Mar. 4, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

Momotombo Chocolate
Roasted (whole) cacao beans (seeds)
Good ++ - Good +++
Weight: 15 grams (estimate)/ 8.8 oz. (250 g.) in 1 package
Calories: 15 calories (estimate) in 4 cacao beans
Cost: $ lost information
Purchased from: missing information

Welcome to Day #6 of 100% Chocolate Theme Week.

Today's roasted, whole cacao beans (or seeds) from Nicaragua were from Momotombo Chocolate (Managua, Nicaragua).

Momotombo founder, Carlos Mann, has done a lot for chocolate in Nicaragua. His bars and confections reflect a superior chocolate flavor that has been enriched by the country's rich, native volcanic soil.

These roasted cacao beans (or seeds) were very good. Roasted just to perfection and mellow and rich in flavor without off-flavors or bitterness.

The only challenge may be how to find these beans if you live outside of Nicaragua. You may have to do some careful online searching.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Sirene - Pure Cacaco Pur 100% Ecuador (Costa Esmeraldas) bar - March 3, 2020

Chocolate of the Day:

Sirene Chocolate
Pur Chocolate Pure - 100% bar
Good - Good +
Weight: 1.06 oz. (30 g.) / 2.12 oz. (60 g.) pkg. of 2 bars
Calories: 165 calories (estimate) in 1 small bar
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: missing information

Welcome to Day #5 of 100% Chocolate Theme Week.

Today's 100% Cacao Pure Cacao Pur Ecuador (Costa Esmeraldas Plantation) bar from Sirene Chocolate (Victoria, B.C., Canada) had a relatively mild dark chocolate, a faint, soft green aroma and flavor, and a relatively thick, uniform, creamy melt. The ultra-dark bar had dense dark, roasted cacao flavor with an occasional light earthy/loamy note, and a well-balanced bitterness that lingered in the finish.

Like all 100% cacao offerings with a deep bass ebony color and flavor, today's bar was not for those who prefer sweet or delicate chocolate. However, if you savor and appreciate the unadulterated essence of 100% cacao, you'll want to include this Sirene bar in your personal lineup.




Koko Samoa - drinking chocolate - March 2, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

Koko Samoa
Imported by American Samoa Cacao
(drinking chocolate)
Good
Weight: 8 oz. cup (88 or 86? g.) / 5.6 oz. (158 g.) in total package
Calories: 196 calories in 1 cup serving
Cost: $ N/A - gift (Thank you Eric!)
Purchased from: N/A - gift

Welcome to Day #4 of 100% Chocolate Theme Week.

If you travel to cacao-growing countries you may find unprocessed rounds of 100% cacao drinking chocolate that can be shaved to create a hot drinking chocolate beverage, generally be adding boiling water and stirring until the cocoa is fully dissolved. This is one way to taste the native flavor of cacao and to support local chocolate-making activity.

Generally a sweetener is added to the rustic drinking chocolate to balance any bitterness. (This is not your mild, dutched* hot cocoa, and just how rustic the chocolate flavors are will depend greatly on local conditions.)

It had authentic cacao flavor with a touch of rich earthiness/loam.

*The Dutch process involves alkalinizing cocoa to reduce acidity and bitterness found in some unprocessed cocoa powders and is frequently used in hot cocoa mixes, baking chocolate, ice cream and other chocolate offerings. Dutched cocoa powder also tends to have a richer, darker and slightly more auburn color to it.





Pascha Chocolate Co. - Black Chocolate 100% Cacao with Nibs bar - March 1, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

Pascha Chocolate Co.
Pascha Organic Black Chocolate 100% Cacao Dark Chocolate with Crunchy Cacao Nibs bar
Good - Good +
Weight: 1.41 oz. (40 g.) / 2.82 oz. (80 g.) in total bar
Calories: 255 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $4.97 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Piazza's Fine Foods, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #3 of 100% Chocolate Theme Week.

Today's Black Chocolate 100% Cacao Dark Chocolate with Crunchy Cacao Nibs bar was from Pascha Chocolate Co. and was made from bean-to-bar, using organic cacao "at the source" in Peru.

Pascha offers a line of organic chocolate bars (chocolate chips and spreads) that are allergen free. This 100% bar was vegan, organic and "Keto Friendly," and made without gluten/wheat, dairy, soy or any added sugar or sweetener.

This chocolate had a dark roasted cocoa bean aroma with a creamy, nutty texture and flavor; a very faint tropical/lychee fruit note; crunchy cocoa nib bits; and a light lingering finish with an echo of the above flavors and textures.




French Broad Chocolate - 100% Cacao (bar) - Feb. 29, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

French Broad Chocolate
100 - 100% Cacao (bar)
Good ++
Weight: 1 oz. (28 g.) in total bar
Calories: 160 calories (estimate) in 1 bar
Cost: $8.00 (wild guess) in 1 bar
Purchased from: COA Chocolate, Sausalito, CA

Happy Leap Year* and Welcome to Day #2 of 100 percent Chocolate Theme Week.

Today's 100 - 100% Cacao bar was made by French Broad Chocolate (Ashville, NC).

This chocolate had an aroma of mixed fruits very light molasses and very faint incense, and a creamy, fudgey melt and mouthfeel. The maker's tasting notes called out wild grape and lime. I would agree with that description. The resulting chocolate had a very nicely balanced bright fruit and citrus tang to it. Not bad for chocolate with one ingredient: "cacao."

The maker's description of this bar also likens the strength of this chocolate to a "freshly pulled espresso shot." That may be true for those expecting at least some sugar in every bite of chocolate. But, for a 100% cacao bar, this was well-crafted, flavorful, bold and smooth, with a lingering, complex and well-rounded finish..and maybe a faint intermittent wisp of fruits mentioned above and green (tea).

*French Broad Chocolate works closely with partners in cacao-growing countries such as Cacao Bisiesto in Nicaragua -- Biseisto means leap year; and French Broad was celebrating their partner's founding date (on leap day, 8 years ago) with special filled chocolate frogs (putting the leap in leap year). Thank you for great work also Cacao Bisiesto!


Saturday, February 29, 2020

Montezuma's - 100% Cocoa Absolute Black with Cocoa Nibs - Feb. 28, 2020

Chocolate of the Day:

Montezuma's
100% Cocoa Solids Absolute Black with Cocoa Nibs
Good +
Weight: .88 oz. (25 g.) / 3.5 oz. (100 g.) in total bar
Calories: 150 calories in 1/4 bar
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: Trader Joe's, Pacific Grove/Monterey, CA

Welcome to Day #10 of Plain Dark Chocolate Theme Week, and Day #1 of 100 percent Chocolate Theme Series.

Sometimes chocolate theme weeks overlap and become akin to nested Russian dolls. In this case 100 percent cacao chocolate bars could be a sub-category under "plain dark chocolate" (meaning there are no added flavor inclusions); but if plain means ordinary, 100 percent cacao bars are usually anything but.

Today's 100% Cocoa Solids Absolute Black with Cocoa Nibs bar was from Montezuma's Chocolates (West Sussex, U.K.).

This bar had a slightly bitter, dark, forbidding chocolate aroma; and a fire-roasted dark flavor—but without the expected bitterness. It was, refreshingly, un-sweet, almost savory. A generous helping of cocoa nibs gave the bar a hearty, authentic cacao flavor and a crunchy texture.

One does need to work with very high-quality cacao for 100% chocolate, as there is nothing else to hide behind. No sugar, nothing else.

It's wonderful to see more 100% (no sugar) bars on the market over time that are actually enjoyable to nibble on. Montezuma's also offers their absolute black bars with flavors also (mint, orange, almond, etc.). 






Thursday, February 27, 2020

Noi Sirius - Icelandic Chocolate 56% Dark Chocolate (bar) - Feb. 27, 2020

Chocolate of the Day:

Noi Sirius
Icelandic Chocolate 56% Dark Chocolate (bars)
Good + - Good ++
Weight: 1.02 oz. (29 g.) / 7.05 oz. (200 g.) in total package of 2 bars
Calories: 160 calories in 1.02 oz. (29 oz.) of 1 bar
Cost: $9.99 for 1 package of 2 bars
Purchased from: N/A - gift (Thank you Don!)

Welcome to Day #9 of Plain Dark Chocolate Theme Week.

Plain, does not mean boring, or lesser quality chocolate. Today's Icelandic Chocolate 56% Dark Chocolate, from Noi Sirius (Reykjavik, Iceland), was from...Iceland! And the flavors in this bar were subtle and intriguing.

When I see a non-origin* specific chocolate (often a blend origins) that is lower than 60%, my expectations about flavor tend to be relatively low.

However, this bar had very light baked chocolate cake infused with light fragrant green (tea) and faint peach, cherry or tropical fruit/light floral aroma and flavor notes. Added vanilla and dry cocoa contributed to the uplifting, lighter, sweet baked goods, flavor profile.**

Light green, fruit and floral notes are relatively volatile, and often are lost during the chocolate-making process. So to have them preserved in this way was quite nice. Light and fun natural flavors from a cool country. (Today's weather forecast for Reykjavik, Iceland, called for snow and temperatures of 28 degrees F. (-2 degrees C.).)

*Origin of cacao beans, or indicating where cacao that was used to make this chocolate was grown. Cacao grows approximately 20 degrees (latitude) above and below the Equator.

**Ingredients: Cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, vanilla, cocoa dry solids.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Chocolates Simon Coll, S.A. - 70% Cocoa Dark Chocolate (bar) - Feb. 26, 2020


Chocolate of the Day: 

Chocolates Simon Coll, S.A.
70% Cocoa Dark Chocolate (bar)
Good +
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 2.99 oz. (85 g.) in total bar
Calories: 159 calories in 1 oz. (28.3 g.) of bar
Cost: $6.00 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: Chocolate Covered, San Francisco, CA

Welcome to Day #8 of Plain Dark Chocolate Theme Week.


Not all "plain" dark chocolate blend bars are the same. However, the bulk of cacao harvested is used to make "bulk" chocolate, which does have a sweet, and sometimes relatively bland, over-roasted, very uniform chocolate flavor (occasionally brightened with some vanilla).

For large, high-volume makers flavor consistency is key--a requirement in fact--which means it's more difficult to find flavor depth and interesting variations that occur in a single year (or origin). This same volume vs. value situation holds true for wine and many other foods and beverages as well. However, this doesn't mean that all dark chocolate blends made with consistency in mind are alike.

Today, we sampled a dark bar from Spain, with some history dating back to the 1700s.

The 70% Cacao Dark Chocolate bar from Chocolates Simon Coll, S.A. (Barcelona, Spain) proved to be one of the better plain dark chocolate bars. (European flavor profiles can sometimes vary from U.S.-made dark chocolate.)

The packaging was adorned with an illustration/poster painted by Alphonse Mucha* circa 1900 for Chocolate Amatller*, a chocolate company founded in Barcelona in 1797.

And inside the attractive wrapper, the dark chocolate had a slightly malty, slightly fruity, sweet, chocolatey dark bar with a pleasant flavor and finish with a hint of vanilla.

Ingredients: "Cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, fat reduced cocoa powder, emulsifier (soya lecithin) and flavouring (vanilla)."

*Alphonse Mucha was a Czech painter, illustrator and graphic artist known for his Art Nouveau style paintings and stylized theatrical posters. The founders of Chocolate Amatller were patrons of the arts. The Chocolate Amatller brand was, more recently, incorporated into Chocolates Simon Coll, S.A., a company that continues to feature the brand's historical look.

Dagoba - New Moon 74% Cacao (bar) - Feb. 25, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

Dagoba Organic Chocolate
New Moon 74% Cacao (bar)
Good
Weight: 1 oz. (28 g.) / 2 oz. (56 g.) in total bar
Calories: 140 calories (per label) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: missing information

Welcome to Day #7 of Plain Dark Chocolate Theme Week.

Today's New Moon 74% cacao bar was from Dagoba Organic Chocolate* (Ashland, OR). This organic and gluten free "rich dark chocolate" bar did in fact have a bit more flavor depth than your average "plain" dark chocolate bar, with relatively balanced fruit acidity and earth/bitter notes.

The dark chocolate was made using Organic and Rainforest Alliance Certified cacao. (No country of origin was listed.) This bar also, if I'm reading the ingredients list** correctly, contained some milk.

*Dagoba Organic Chocolate, a division of The Hershey Company, was founded in 2001 by Frederick Schilling. The brand has been owned by The Hershey Company since 2006. Hershey has maintained the Dagoba factory facility in Ashland, OR.

**Ingredients: Organic dark chocolate (organic and Rainforest Alliance Certified cacao beans, organic cane sugar, organic cacao butter), Non-GMO soy lecithin); organic milk.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Trader Joe's - Fair Trade, Organic 72% Belgian Dark Chocolate Bar - Feb. 24, 2020


Chocolate of the Day: 

Trader Joe's
72% Dark Chocolate Bar (no origin?)
Good
Weight: 1.75 oz. (50 g.) / 3.5 oz. (100 g.) in total bar
Calories: ??? calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $N/A - gift (thank you Joe-Ming!)
Purchased from: N/A - gift

Welcome to Day #6 of Plain Dark Chocolate Theme Week.

Today's Fair Trade Organic 72% Cacao Belgian Dark Chocolate Bar was made in Belgium and distributed and sold by Trader Joe's (Monrovia, CA).

So many popular dark chocolate bars (made in higher volumes where consistency becomes a key objective), trade off consistency for interesting flavor profiles.

This dark chocolate had ripe, dried fruit and earthy notes that added aroma and flavor depth to this bar.

The cacao beans used to make this bar were organically grown and fairly traded.

Godiva - Masterpieces Dark Chocolate Ganache Hearts - Feb. 23, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

Godiva
Godiva Masterpieces Dark Chocolate Ganache Hearts (bar)
Good +
Weight: 1.5 oz. (42.5 g.) / 3 oz. (85 g.) in total bar
Calories: 260 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: N/A - gift (Thank you Joe-Ming!)
Purchased from: N/A - gift

Welcome to Day #5 of Plain Dark Chocolate Theme Week.

Today's Godiva Masterpieces Dark Chocolate Ganache Hearts (bar) was distributed by Godiva Chocolatier, Inc. (New York, NY).

This segmented bar was composed of squares. Atop each square was a heart-shaped dark chocolate pocket filled with a soft, dark chocolate ganache.

Yes, this was relatively sweet and uniform dark chocolate; but it was also well executed and satisfying to eye and palette.


Saturday, February 22, 2020

Sjaak's Organic Chocolates - California Coast Whales Dark Chocolate (bar) - Feb. 22, 2020


Chocolate of the Day; 

Sjaak's Organic Chocolate
California Coast Whales Dark Chocolate (bar)
Good
Weight: 1 oz. (56 g.) / 2 oz. (56 g.) in total bar
Calories: 140 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $4.95 for 1 bar
Purchased from: SweetE Organic, Mill Valley, CA

Welcome to Day #4 of Dark Chocolate Theme Week.

Today's California Coast Whales Dark Chocolate bar from Sjaak's Organic Chocolates (Petaluma, CA) was decorated with an illustration inspired by whales that can be seen off the California coast.

This bar had a true, rich dark chocolate aroma and flavor with a creamy melt.

ChocStars Ltd. - Dark Chocolate (bar); Gertrude's - Feb. 21, 2020


Chocolate(s) of the Day: 

ChocStars Ltd.
(Imported by Belgium's Chocolate Source)
Dark Chocolate (bar)
Good
Weight: 1.48 oz. (42 g.) / 3.5 oz. (100 g.) in total bar
Calories: 115 calories in 5 pieces of bar
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: missing information

Welcome to Day #3 of Plain Dark Chocolate Theme Week.

Today's Dark Chocolate bar was made for ChocStars Ltd. (Perth, Scotland), and imported into the U.S. by Belgium's Chocolate Source (Milton, MA).

ChocStars offers entertaining lineup of bars with packaging adorned with celebrity look-alike images. However, the impersonators are animals dressed up and styled to look like specific celebrities (complete with wigs, items of clothing, hats and other accoutrements), so that they are immediately recognizable. Today's small rodent "star" bore an uncanny resemblance to the Queen of England.

I believe I sampled a previous ChocStars bar that featured a suspiciously canine-looking Michael Jackson years ago. They're not rock stars...they're ChocStars.

As one might expect with novelty bars like this the dark chocolate inside is perfectly edible but a bit on the industrial side (smooth, very uniform, dark, sweet).

Gertrude's desserts, Desert Botanical Garden, Arizona
Bonus entry: desserts at Gertrude's, at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona: 1.) gluten free doughnut holes with chocolate, caramel and prickly pear dipping sauces, and 2.) gluten free chocolate cake with bourbon cherry sauce and cherry sorbet. Yum. Thank you Joy!

Gardini - Cioccolato 70% Organic Dark Turmeric (bar) - Feb. 20, 2020


Chocolate of the Day:

Gardini - Cioccolato D' Autore
70% Cacao Bio Fondente Curcuma
(70% Cacao Organic Dark Chocolate (with) Turmeric)
Good
Weight: 1.41 oz. (40 g.) / 2.82 oz. (80 g.) in total bar
Calories: 224.4 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $ N/A - gift (Thank you Ahmed!)
Purchased from: Cafe Venetia, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #7 of Chocolate and Strawberries Theme Week, and Day #2 of Dark Chocolate Bar Theme Week. (Dark bars featured this week will be without added flavors, with the exception of today's bar.)

Today's 70% Cacao Bio (Organic) Fondente (Dark Chocolate) Curcuma (Turmeric) bar was from Gardini Cioccolato (Forli (FC) Italy).

This bar had a dark chocolate and a warm, slightly earthy/savory/slightly bitter spice (turmeric) aroma and flavor.

The chocolate had a thick, slightly creamy texture and a relatively even melt. Although the turmeric embedded uniformly in this bar yielded a slightly granular texture.

Turmeric's* strong taste (often used in curries) tends to overpower other flavors, including bolder flavors found in cacao. Although both the turmeric and dark chocolate flavors lingered a bit in the finish of this bar.

*Turmeric is a root-like, tuberous rhizome (that grows underground) This native of India and SE Asia looks like it might be a cross between ginger root, a knobby carrot and a Jerusalem artichoke with its light brown exterior and orange interior. (Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is related to ginger.) 

Once processed into a spice, turmeric is a bright, golden yellow. powder. (I've also sliced it into small coin-shaped pieces and included it in sauteed vegetable dishes (with sliced carrots and ginger) and also used it as a natural yellow dye.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Compartes Chocolatier - Pure 80% Dark Chocolate (bar) - Feb. 19, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

Compartes Chocolatier
Pure - 80% Pure Dark Chocolate (bar)
Good +
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 3 oz. (85 g.) in total bar
Calories: 173.3 calories in 1/3 bar
Cost: $8.00 (estimate) for 1 bar
Purchased from: CAO Chocolate, Sausalito, CA

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate and Strawberries Theme Week, and Day #1 of Dark Chocolate Bar Theme Week.

This ultra-dark bar had a complex and intriguing aroma with green, true chocolate, very faint vegetable latex, balanced bitter and spice notes. There might have been a very faint green/floral note in there too; or it could have been the whisper of vanilla talking.*

The chocolate had a rapid melt, and deep roasted cacao flavor with mushroom/earth accent notes, with a fleeting fruit/honey/brown sugar sweetness.

I enjoyed the complexity; it tasted better with each bite. And it was not too sweet (thank you!).

Sweet strawberries, strawberry yogurt and strawberry cottage cheese were consumed in the same breakfast snack break.

*Ingredients: Organic Vegan Dark Chocolate 80% (Organic Cocoa Liquor, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Coconut Sugar, Organic Vanilla.




Raaka Chocolate - Pure Cacao, Strawberry and Coconut bar - Feb. 18, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

Raaka Chocolate
Pure Cacao and Strawberry and Coconut bar
Good - Good +
Weight: 1.8 oz. (50.1 g.) in total bar
Calories: 244 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: COA Chocolate, Sausalito, CA

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

Today's Pure Cacao, Strawberry and Coconut bar was made by Raaka Chocolate (Brooklyn, NY).

The 80 percent dark chocolate was made using un-roasted, organic cacao from Kokoa Kamili (Tanzania, Africa), and with no added sugar (thank you!). If you're open to a more intense dark chocolate  experience with a few natural flavor accents, today's vegan, gluten free and soy free, organic Raaka bar is worth trying.

In Chinese, Indian and other Asian cuisines, the five tastes that humans can sense: sweet, sour, salty/savory, bitter and spicy are thoughtfully balanced in each dish. The makers at Raaka achieved at least 3 or 4 of the 5 tastes mentioned above with the kaleidoscope of flavors present in this craft chocolate bar.

No boring, overly roasted, uniformly smooth industrial chocolate here. This chocolate had a smooth melt, and after that it was all mild spikes of different flavors. (Think Christmas "Cactus" with the pink flowers, not prickly cactus spikes.)

This ultra-dark bar might be a little strong or bitter for some. However, I found it full of complementary flavors: the natural sweet tart berry (strawberry) sweetness, a light touch of naturally sweet coconut, and dark, earthy (almost savory) and bitter flavors from the cacao. It was oddly addicting in its own way.

Ingredients: organic cacao beans, organic strawberry, organic toasted coconut, organic cacao butter



Tuesday, February 18, 2020

That's it - Dark Chocolate Covered Fruit Truffles - Apple + Strawberries + Dark Chocolate - Feb. 17, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

That's it Nutrition, LLC
Dark Chocolate Covered Fruit Truffles
Apples + strawberries + dark chocolate
Good
Weight: 1.83 oz. (52 g.) in total package
Calories: 150 calories in 1 package
Cost: $3.19 for 1 package
Purchased from: CVS/pharmacy, Palo Alto, CA

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

Today's Dark Chocolate Covered Fruit Truffles (bites) were from That's it Nutrition, LLC (Los Angeles, CA). The company name "that's it" refers to the pared down ingredients list in their snack offerings made with plant-based, Non-GMO ingredients* free of most common allergens.

The five small "fruit truffles" in this package were made of just three ingredients: apples, strawberries and dark chocolate. A dark chocolate shell surrounded a pure fruit blend center, that was neither too dry or too moist. This refreshingly light and natural tasting vegan snack was made without preservatives, gluten or soy.

I look forward to trying the company's new Sea Salt Organic Dark Chocolate + Fig Truffles offering in the future.

*Ingredients: apples, strawberries, dark chocolate (unsweetened chocolate, organic sugar, cocoa butter)



Straw Propeller - Chocolate Strawberry oatmeal - Feb. 16, 2020

  
Chocolate of the Day:

Straw Propeller Gourmet Foods, Inc.
Chocolate Strawberry (oatmeal)
Good
Weight: 2.6 oz. (74 g.) in 1 cup
Calories: 280 calories in 1 cup
Cost: $3.25 for 1 cup
Purchased from: The Store House, San Francisco, CA

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

Today's Chocolate Strawberry oatmeal was distributed by Straw Propeller Gourmet Foods, Inc. (Redmond, OR).

The directions on this container suggested two ways of preparing this oatmeal: "Hot" or "Cold and Overnight." I chose the former, added hot water and gave the oatmeal a quick stir.

Chocolate chips, strawberries and beet powder morphed into a hearty, thick melange of cheerful deep pink and chocolate brown. This warm breakfast was satisfying without being too sweet (thank you!).

The oatmeal contained 8 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber, and was made using Certified Gluten Free Rolled Oats.


Saturday, February 15, 2020

Clio - Strawberry Greek Yogurt Bar wrapped in chocolate - Feb. 15, 2020

Chocolate of the Day:

Clio Snack Company
Strawberry - Greek Yogurt Bar wrapped in chocolate
Good +
Weight: 1.76 oz. (50 g.) in 1 bar
Calories: 140 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $ missing information
Purchased from: missing information

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

Today's chilled Strawberry Greek Yogurt Bar wrapped in chocolate were made by Clio Snack Company (Roselle, NJ).

The company's line of chocolate covered bars are described as: "greek yogurt (with a cheesecake texture and a sweet and tart flavor) meets chocolate in a bar." Indeed, all this was true, and the strawberry greek yogurt complemented the chocolate quite nicely.

This bar was marketed as containing "billions of probiotics" and 8 grams of protein. It was very tasty, although a bit on the sweet side for me. However, if you're looking for an elevated, gluten free dessert with some extra health benefits sprinkled in, this would be a great choice.

Note: Photos that accompany this entry have been delayed.

Strawberries and Sprinkles - Strawberries dipped in Belgian dark chocolate - Feb. 14, 2020

Chocolate(s) of the Day: 

Strawberries and Sprinkles
Strawberries Hand Dipped in Real Belgian Dark Chocolate
Good ++
Weight: 1.75 oz. (49.5 g.) / 3.5 oz. (99 g.) in total container of 4
Calories: 110 calories estimate for 2 strawberries
Cost: $7.99 for 1 container of 4 chocolate covered strawberries
Purchased from: Safeway, Palo Alto, CA

Happy Valentines Day and welcome to Day #1 of Chocolate and Strawberries Theme Week.
Roses, chocolates and red berries (heart-shaped strawberries fit right in) go together on this romantic February holiday.

Big, plump, sweet ripe strawberries hand-dipped in dark chocolate. These were as tasty as they were visually appealing.

-o-o-o-o-

I also revisited a San Francisco classic...dark chocolate truffles with a hint of burnt caramel from Recchuiti Confections (San Francisco, CA) that I found across the Golden Gate Bridge in Sausalito, CA. Fittingly, these truffles were adorned with images of this iconic bay area bridge.

Recchuiti Confections
(for COA Chocolate, Sausalito, CA)
Filled dark chocolates/truffles (with Golden Gate Bridge designs)
Good +
Weight: .88 oz (24.9 g.) (estimate) in 2 pieces
Calories: 132 calories (estimate) in 2 pieces
Cost: $5.50 (estimate) for 2 pieces
Purchased from: COA Chocolate, Sausalito, CA

Note: Photos have been delayed this month, but will be posted later.



Thursday, February 13, 2020

Fazer Confectionery Ltd. - Smooth and Rich Original Dark Chocolate bar - Feb. 13, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

Fazer Confectionery Ltd.
Nordi - Smooth and Rich Original Dark Chocolate bar
Good
Weight: 1.12 oz. (32 g.) / 3.35 oz. (95 g.) in total bar
Calories: 170 calories in 1/3 bar
Cost: $1.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

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

Today's Nordi - Smooth and Rich Original Dark Chocolate bar was from Fazer Confectionery Ltd. (Ventaa, Finland).

This 70% dark chocolate bar had a pleasant, smooth, sweet milk chocolate aroma and flavor with nutty* and vanilla notes. The texture was rich, thick and smooth.

Ingredients: Dark chocolate (unsweetened chocolate, sugar, cocoa butter, reduced fat cocoa powder, natural vanilla flavor. *This bar did not contain nuts.

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