Saturday, September 10, 2022

Oregon Orchard - Marionberry Chocolate Hazelnuts - Sept. 10, 2022

Chocolate of the Day

Oregon Orchard
Marionberry Chocolate Hazelnuts
OK+ - Good 
Weight: 1 oz. (30 g.) / 6 oz. (170 g.) in total package
Calories: 180 calories in 1 serving 
Cost: $3.49 for 1 package
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #12 of Chocolate and Nuts Theme Week. 

As is often the case, chocolate weeks that feature popular ingredient partners--such as nuts, coffee, vanilla or fruit--often result in a theme week that spills over into a multi-week-long journey. Chocolate time.

Today's Oregon Orchard Marionberry Chocolate Hazelnuts were distributed by Hazelnut Growers of Oregon (Donald, OR). The company works with local hazelnut farmers to help develop and get products that include hazelnuts to market.*

The aroma notes for these glossy, generously-sized rounds included: sweet berry candy and/or confectioners glazed berry doughnuts.

The thick, soft purple milk chocolate coating fell softly away from its core when bitten into--revealing a whole hazelnut inside. But, try as I might, I found it hard to pick up the delicate flavor of these naturally subtle, sweet nuts.

The blend of flavors sounded promising. However, these sweet, lilac purple-hued confections fell a bit short of my hopes. The dominant flavors: sugar, fat/oil, and manufactured berry, made it difficult to taste the (milk) chocolate or hazelnut. A missed opportunity I think, given the food memories I have of being in Oregon and tasting hazelnuts, fresh berries, dairy and craft chocolate.

Ingredients: Hazelnuts, milk chocolate [(sugar, unsweetened chocolate, milk, cocoa butter), sunflower lecithin, vanillin, gum arabic], coating (sugar, palm kernel and palm oil and cocoa butter, whey, nonfat milk, cream, sunflower lecithin, natural flavor, vanilla), marionberry flavor [(soybean oil, benzyl alcohol and natural flavors), purple color (triacetin, medium chain triglycerides, FD&C Blue 1 Lake, Red 40 Lake, Red 3 and TBHQ), gum arabic, confectioners glaze]. 

Allergen-related information: Contains: tree nuts. Processed in a facility that uses milk, soy, wheat and other tree nuts.

*Co-ops that work with farmers can be very beneficial. E.g., Tillamook Creamery in Oregon has brought delicious ice cream flavors, cheese and other dairy offerings to local markets in California where I live. And co-ops in cacao growing countries help add value and international market reach, resulting in many fine chocolates in the US, Europe, and elsewhere. My hope is that Hazelnut Growers of Oregon might explore updated and/or higher end consumer offerings (without artificial colors or ingredients if possible). 

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