Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Nature Valley - Granola Cups - Peanut Butter Chocolate - Feb. 3, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

Nature Valley
Granola Cups - Peanut Butter Chocolate
Good +
Weight: 1.35 oz. (38 g.) / 6.75 oz. (191 g.) in total box of 5 pouches
Calories: 190 calories in 1 pouch of two cups
Cost: $3.00 for 1 box of 5 pouches (of two cups or pieces each)
Purchased from: Safeway, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #7 of Chocolate and Peanuts Theme Week, and Day #4 of Chocolate and Oats Theme Week.

Today's Peanut Butter Chocolate Granola Cups were from Nature Valley—a brand owned by General Mills, based in Minneapolis, MN.

The first Nature Valley granola bars came out way back in 1975, making them a pioneer in this market. And the product lineup expanded into a wider array of products over time that fall under the broad granola bar category, including today's offering that tasted like a sweet cross between a cookie and a bar.

If you're in a mood for an oatmeal cookie, with rich peanut butter and chocolate flavor, you're in for a treat.








Cascadian Farms - Organic Plant Protein Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Chip bars - Feb. 2, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

Cascadian Farms
Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Chip bars (with) Organic Plant Protein
Good
Weight: 1.77 oz. (50 g.) / 8.85 oz. (250 g.) in total box of 5 bars
Calories: 240 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $3.99 (sale) for 1 box of 5 bars
Purchased from: Safeway, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate and Peanuts Theme Week, and Day #3 of Chocolate and Oats Theme Week.

Today's box of Cascadian Farms Organic Plant Protein Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Chip bars were from Small Planet Foods, Inc. (Minneapolis, MN). The Cascadian Farms brand is owned by General Mills (Minneapolis, MN).

Each individually-wrapped and relatively sweet, chewy oat bar included a smattering of dark chocolate chips; contained approximately 12 grams of protein (supplied by organic plant protein primarily from peanuts and peas), and consisted of (just) "10 simple ingredients."

Many large corporations are to be commended in the last decade for efforts to simplify (and/or shorten) their ingredients lists and to explore using more Non-GMO and organic ingredients, healthier supply chains, and less processed ingredients.

Many companies have also responded to customer desires to consume more "clean protein" and/or non-animal protein in their diets, resulting in higher demand for organic ingredients in their supply chains and/or for items like organic pea protein.*

I like protein in bars because it seems to balance out sweeteners, and it makes me feel more satiated (less hungry); and I feel better about adding some plant protein if I skip eating meat for a few days.

*Pea protein (a protein supplement powder made from yellow peas) is popular right now. 
In 2020 it can be found in many items including protein and energy bars, smoothie mixes, protein supplement packets, and vegetable "burger" patties. 

And, speaking of pea protein and companies/ingredient suppliers in the midwest...Currently, Puris—with facilities in Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota—is perhaps the largest U.S. supplier of Non-GMO pea protein. Cargill invested $75 million in Puris in 2019, to enable them to double production of this vegan, relatively non-allergenic ingredient currently in high-demand. While the source of the pea protein in this (and most other) bars is not typically disclosed, the Cargill investment in Puris shows there is a large and growing market for pea protein.







Helsinki Heaven - ChocOat Cool Mint Oat Milk Chocolate bar - Feb. 8, 2020

Chocolate of the Day: 

ChocOat - Cool Mint Oat Milk Chocolate bar
(manufactured by Helsinki Heaven OY)
Good
Weight: .88 oz. (25 g.) in 1 bar
Calories: 137 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $3.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Country Sun Natural Foods, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #8 of Chocolate and Oats Theme Week, and Day #1 of Chocolate and Finland Theme Week.

Hello Finland! I was delighted to find enough (7) bars to have a Finland-based chocolate week. Bars from Finland-based Helsinki Heaven feature heavily this week. The company is affiliated with Goodio Craft Chocolate, founded in 2015. This company has been producing a variety of tasty vegan chocolate bars in the last few years.

It makes sense to segue from a chocolate + oats theme week to a Finland-related chocolate week, as Finland has, arguably, the highest oat consumption per capita of almost any other country. So, if I'm going to sample oat milk chocolates, let's begin in Finland.

Today's ChocOat Cool Mint Oat Milk Chocolate bar was manufactured by Helsinki Heaven OY (Helsinki, Finland).

This bar had a slight menthol and citrus aroma, and a clean, natural sage-mint flavor.
The mouthfeel and texture was smooth and uniform. The finish had light chocolate and citrus-mint notes.

The relatively new line of Helsinki Heaven oat milk chocolate bars be quite as creamy as dark milk chocolate bars made with milk, but they're certainly satisfactory and provide a nice dairy-free alternative chocolate.

Last, but not least, this chocolate was not too sweet (thank you!).

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