Chocolate of the Day
The Oakland Chocolate Company
Good ++ - +++
Weight: 1 oz. (28.35 g.) in total bar
Calories: 155 calories (estimate) in 1 bar
Cost: $3.50 for 1 bar + shipping
Purchased from: The Oakland Chocolate Company, Oakland, CA
Welcome to Day #8 of Chocolate and Jamaica Theme Week.
Today's Caramel Bar was made by Nancy Nadel owner and chief chocolate maker at The Oakland Chocolate Company (Oakland, CA). Nadel makes reasonably priced, high-end craft chocolate bars and confections, from scratch, using cacao grown in Jamaica.
This snack-sized, filled, dark chocolate Caramel Bar was a very satisfying take on a traditional dark chocolate and caramel filled confection. A thick covering of flavorful, rich dark chocolate elevated this bar to the next level.
When I started Chocolate Banquet in 2006, most chocolate covered caramels had fragile, bland and sweet chocolate shells that collapsed (into a sweet, sticky mess) if not handled very carefully. The emphasis was on the sugar and not on the chocolate.
This Oakland Chocolate Co. bar was an artful melding of single origin (Bachelors Hall Estate (farm), Jamaica) dark chocolate (with fudge brownie aroma and flavor notes) and soft, rich, buttery caramel--made with real cream and butter.*
The addition of the coconut palm sugar used to make the caramel filling increased flavor depth and helped reduce the sugar buzz** a little (thank you Nancy!). Yet, there was enough sweetness to be appealing to caramel fans as well.
Today's Caramel Bar was a satisfying and enjoyable high-end take on a confectionery classic.
*Ingredients: "Cocoa mass (direct source from farmer Desmond Jadusingh, Bachelors Hall, Jamaica), organic cane sugar, cocoa butter, cream (milk), butter, organic coconut palm sugar, rice syrup, vanilla, sea salt."
** Coconut palm sugar is lower on the glycemic index than processed cane sugar. I noticed I wasn't experiencing as rapid a rise in blood sugar, i.e. a "hard" sugar buzz, with this sweetener many years ago when I started sampling chocolates made with coconut palm sugar. And as long as a sweetener (of any sort) doesn't interfere with tasting the chocolate, I am all for that. The stimulants in cacao (primarily theobromine, and a bit of caffeine) in chocolate are enough for me.
Coconut palm sugar starts with people climbing high up in palm trees to gather coconut flower sap/nectar that is then made into the sugar we see in stores and in chocolates. After watching people collect this nectar in SE Asia, I have a great deal of respect for those engaged in this work.