Friday, May 6, 2022

TCHO - Aww Nuts! - Almond Butter & Sea Salt Filled Dark Chocolate - May 5, 2022

Chocolate of the Day

TCHO Ventures Inc.
Aww Nuts! - Almond Butter and Sea Salt Filled Dark Chocolate (bar)
Good ++ - Good +++
Weight: .833 oz. (23.3 g.) / 2.5 oz. (70 g.) in package of 3 bars
Calories: 120 calories in 1/3 of package (1 small bar)
Cost: $ N/A - gift from a friend - Thank you Toni!
Purchased from: N/A - gift from a friend 

Welcome to Day #1 of Chocolate, Nuts and Nibs Theme Week. 

Today's Aww Nuts! bar was part of a new line of Organic, 100% plant-based, filled bars (made with fair trade certified cacao) from TCHO Ventures Inc. (Berkeley, CA). 

What's New at TCHO

Today I had the good fortune to visit the TCHO factory. Thank you to Alana for the tour, and to Chief Chocolate Maker, Brad Kintzer. (My last TCHO tour had been a decade ago in their original San Francisco location.) The company has continued to update their chocolate offerings and their company structure.*

TCHO's new packaging looked like the traditional TCHO square-shaped bar from the outside. However, rather than a single bar inside, the package contained three individually-wrapped smaller bars--making it easier to transport a single serving, and/or to share your chocolate with others.

Aww Nuts! filled bar

Aroma notes for today's Aww Nuts! filled bar included: faint green, faint molasses and maple, true chocolate (nut brownie), and shortbread nut cookies. A great start. (Added vanilla beans helped conjure up these seductive baked good notes.)

The outer shell consisted of flavorful, 75% cacao dark chocolate. This Organic filled chocolate was a satisfying blend of smooth, creamy dark chocolate and authentic-tasting almond butter. The chocolate (cacao) taste was similar to the aroma--only the fudge nut brownie flavors were more prominent than the fainter green or other aroma notes mentioned above.

Thanks to the makers, who tapped the brakes on the sugar and salt, the cacao flavors were able to shine. The almonds (almond butter and almond bits) provided an excellent and complementary pairing with the dark chocolate**--that already had some naturally occurring nutty notes. 

Maisy Jane's in Northern California, a family-founded company that specializes in California-grown/supplied almonds, nut butters and other offerings was a collaboration partner on this almond butter filled bar.

Ingredients: Organic fair trade cacao beans; organic cane sugar; organic fair trade cocoa butter; organic almond butter; organic almond protein; organic diced almonds; sea salt; organic sunflower lecithin; organic vanilla beans

Allergen-related information: Contains nuts (almond butter). "May contain soy, milk, and other tree nuts."

*Originally founded in 2008, TCHO became a B Corporation in 2021. They've shifted to a new line of organic, fair trade cacao chocolate bars. Also of note, San Francisco Bay Area-born TCHO was acquired by Osaka, Japan-based sweets company, Ezaky Glico (maker of Pocky chocolate-dipped cookie sticks), in 2018.

**Note: TCHO has not generally stressed cacao information such as country of origin, variety or even percentage for their bars. Rather they've created chocolates that exemplify/emphasize certain naturally occurring flavors in cacao grown in different countries. They describe flavor profiles that have included nutty, fudge-y and fruity/citrus-y, and work with cacao farmers (in Ghana, Peru, Ecuador and elsewhere) to develop these profiles.

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