Thursday, June 16, 2022

Equal Exchange - Organic, Fairly Traded Dark Chocolate Almond & Teas (Brown Sugar Boba, other) - June 15, 2022

Chocolate of the Day

Equal Exchange 
Organic and Fairly Traded Dark Chocolate Almond
Good +
Weight: 1.06 oz. (30 g.) / 2.8 oz. (80 g.) in total bar
Calories: 170 calories in 1 serving (9 pieces/squares) of bar
Cost: $2.39 for 1 bar
Purchased from: New Leaf Community Markets, Half Moon Bay, CA

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate and Tea Theme Week, featuring several chocolate and tea pairings. 

Today I sampled two items: 1.) a 55% Dark Chocolate bar with tea, and 2.) a boba tea ice cream bar (with cocoa powder).

Today's Organic, Fairly Traded Dark Chocolate Almond Toasted Pieces (bar) was produced in Switzerland for Equal Exchange (W. Bridgewater, MA). Since its inception 30 years ago, this co-op owned company has built many "alternative trade" relationships with small farmers in several countries around the world.

The organic cacao used to make this chocolate came from the Dominican Republic, Panama, Peru and Togo. The organic sugar was from Paraguay, and the organic vanilla was from Madagascar.

This relatively sweet, 55% cacao dark chocolate bar was embedded with bits of toasted almond. The aroma and flavor notes for this bar included: true chocolate (dark chocolate pudding), faint nut and malt, and very faint tart green herb (oxalis).

I paired this with a warm, organic black tea latte with almond milk. It worked.

Brown Sugar Boba Ice Cream Bar

Shao Mei (Xiao Mei)
Brown Sugar Boba Ice Cream Bar
Good +
Weight: 2.82 fl. oz. (80 g.) / 11.3 fl. oz. (320 g.) in total box of 4 bars
Calories: 146.2 calories in 1 bar
Cost: $6.99 (estimate) for 1 box of 4 bars 
Purchased from: Safeway, San Mateo, CA

The second item sampled today was a Shao Mei Brown Sugar Boba Ice Cream Bar (product of Taiwan, (manufactured by Hwa Mei Food Col, Ltd., Changhua County, Taiwan) that contained a small amount of cocoa powder.*

This frozen pop (and other recent boba tea flavor arrivals in the frozen foods aisle at the market) reflected the popularity of boba milk teas--and in particular brown sugar boba (with pearls sweetened with brown sugar/honey)--in California and elsewhere. It was a fun change of pace (frozen dessert) on a hot day.

The milky ice cream frozen bar was veined with a prominent brown sugar marbling. Embedded brown sugar colored boba (aka tapioca/starch pearls, or mini mochi balls) contributed a springy, starchy and chewy textural element. 

The cocoa powder added a wee bit of flavor depth. I thought I imagined a little tea flavor; but I could not find any tea in the rather lengthy ingredients list (see below), unless it was one of the unnamed "flavors" at the end of the list.

Ingredients: Water, mini mochi brown sugar (maltose syrup, acetylated distarch adipate, water, brown sugar, tapioca starch, brown sugar flavor, caramel colors, palm oil, cocoa powder, potato starch), sugar (sugar, caramelizing sugar), maltose, coconut oil, skim milk powder, brown sugar, cream, whey powder, food coloring (caramel (E150a), FDandC Yellow #5 and #6 (E102 and E110)), cornstarch, maltodextrin, emulsifiers (mono and diglycerides of fatty acids (E471), Polysorbate 80), thickeners (sodium carboxymethyl cellulose, locust bean gum, carrageenan, guar gum, xanthan gum, sodium alginate), flavors, salt.

Allergen-related information: Contains milk and dairy products. Made in a plant that also processes products containing peanuts, mangos, nuts, soybeans, milk, dairy products, egg products, sesame products, and gluten-containing grains. 

* This bar was different than yesterday's Brown Sugar Boba tea ice cream bar with vanilla ice cream--that did not contain cocoa powder.


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