Saturday, February 20, 2021

Essential Living Foods - Organic Mediterranean Mix - Dark Chocolate, Figs, Almonds - Feb. 20, 2021

Chocolate of the Day

Essential Living Foods
Organic Mediterranean Mix - Dark Chocolate + Figs + Almonds
Good +
Weight: 2 oz. (56.6 g.) / 14 oz. (396 g.) in total package
Calories: 280 calories in 2 servings
Cost: $9.99 for 1 large package
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate and EFGHI, an alphabetic theme week featuring chocolates with flavor inclusions that start with the letters E, F, G, H and I.

Today's chocolate was a mix of elements. Essential Living Foods* Mediterranean Mix was a blend of Dark Chocolate + Figs + Almonds. 

Figs were one of the first fruits cultivated by humans. The figs we eat now are often descendants of trees with Mediterranean and Asian origins--seemingly a world away from cacao tree roots in South America and Central America.** 

However, native fig trees in the Americas do exist, in a range that overlaps cacao origins, and as far north as Florida and as far south as Paraguay. 

Regardless, fig fruit(s) and chocolate seem to have been made for each other. (It's similar to the natural affinity between dark chocolate and ginger, chocolate and raspberry, and chocolate and certain spirits.) 

It was exciting to find and enjoy an authentic-tasting, "gourmet trail mix" with dark chocolate, figs and almonds...that wasn't too sweet or salty. I was even happier to find pumpkin seeds, white mulberries (a fig relative), hazelnuts and Brazil nuts were included in this crunchy, chewy mix. 

Yes, I heartily agree with the marketing tagline. This was truly a deluxe, haut trail mix. Only a sprinkle of gold dust and/or golden berries*** would have made it more high-end.

This trail mix would be good eaten a la carte on a hike; intermingled with oatmeal or granola-type cereals; baked into muffins or baked apples; or sprinkled on vanilla ice cream.

Ingredients: Organic dark chocolate chips (chocolate liquor, cane sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla extract), diced figs, roasted pumpkin kernels (pumpkin kernels, salt), white mulberries, Brazil nut pieces, almonds, hazelnuts (Note: Except for salt, all ingredients above were listed as Organic.)

*Essential Living Foods trail mix blends are distributed by Terrafertil US, LLC (Torrance, CA), a producer of natural, organic and plant-based foods. (Terrafertil was founded in Ecuador in 2005.) In 2018, Nestle (Vevey, Switzerland) bought a majority stake in Terrafertil.

**Ficus is the Latin name for fig. European (Spanish "Black Mission") figs (Ficus carica) arrived in the Americas centuries ago (likely in the 1500s). Franciscan missionaries later cultivated them in Mexico and Southern California (in the San Diego area) in the early 1700s. 

However, banyan-related fig trees (Ficus citrifolia) are native in the Americas (Southern Florida, Mexico, Caribbean islands, Central America and northern South America); and they bear sweet, edible fruits as well. (The red mulberry tree, a fig relative, is also native to the Americas.)

***Golden berries (Physalis peruviana), are bright yellow, cherry tomato (or tomatillo) sized fruits from South America (Peru, Colombia), in the nightshade family. They are also grown in Ecuador and Chile.

Terrafertil (Ecuador) is one of the largest suppliers of Golden Berries, also known as Inca(n) berries and Cape Gooseberries. 

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