Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Equal Exchange - Organic Chocolate 55% Cacao Coconut Milk (bar) - June 14, 2022

Chocolate of the Day

Equal Exchange 
Organic Chocolate 55% Cacao Coconut Milk (bar)
Good +
Weight: 1.06 oz. (30 g.) / 2.8 oz. (80 g.) in total bar
Calories: 180 calories in 9 pieces (squares) of bar (1 serving)
Cost: $2.39 for 1 bar
Purchased from: New Leaf Community Markets, Half Moon Bay, CA

Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate and Tea Theme Week, featuring chocolate and tea pairings.

Today's Organic Chocolate 55% Cacao Coconut Milk with Coconut Palm Sugar (bar) was produced in Switzerland for Equal Exchange Co-op (West Bridgewater, MA).

Equal Exchange, a co-op owned company, has been building alternative supply chain relationships and focusing on fair trade and small farmers for many years. Their offerings include chocolate, coffee, and other packaged foods.

The ingredients used to make this bar were all grown by small farmer co-operatives around the globe. The organic cacao was grown in the Dominican Republic and Peru. The organic sugar was from Paraguay and Costa Rica. The organic vanilla was from Madagascar; and the organic coconut was from Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

This bar had notably thick, coconut (milk) creamy texture with rich, sweet, authentic toasted coconut, chocolate and brown sugar (aroma and) flavors. A hint of vanilla enhanced the sense of sweetness even more. This 55% cacao bar would be great for coconut lovers with a sweet tooth and/or those searching for a sweet diary milk chocolate alternative with a little extra flavor.

Tea Pairings

Pairing chocolate with wine, tea, coffee or milk(s), can be tricky. Ideally, one should not dominate or take the other chocolate or beverage flavor(s) sideways. The best pairings elevate each both items, resulting in delicious blend. 

I tried pairing today's coconut milk chocolate with the following tea-related items:

1.) Frozen Brown Sugar Boba tea and vanilla ice cream bar (from Taiwan)
2.) Chilled Hibiscus kombucha tea
3.) Warm chai tea (oolong tea, chai spices and chai spice-infused honey)
4.) Hot/warm grapefruit leaf tea

Once again, I found that frozen and chilled tea items dulled chocolate (bar) flavors. (Cocoa butter melts at around body temperature, at which point fats and solids start separating and, arguably, the zone where embedded flavors are most easily released and enjoyed.)

Today's coconut chocolate bar was also quite sweet (a bit of a challenge), ruling out many sweetened tea offerings as partners for fear of creating overly sugared blends. 

The pairing winner? Hot/warm fresh grapefruit leaf tea (think light green, lemon, and faint lemongrass notes). This will not come as a complete surprise to those who like Thai warm coconut milk and lemon grass (savory) soups or chilled lemongrass and coconut sugar drinks. The unsweetened, fresh grapefruit leaf tisane/tea added some flavor depth/lift in the form of light acidic fruit and green notes and balanced the inherent sweetness of this bar.

Ingredients: Fairly traded, organic coconut palm sugar; fairly traded, organic chocolate liquor; fairly traded, organic cocoa butter; fairly traded, organic coconut flakes; organic coconut milk powder (fairly traded, organic coconut milk, organic tapioca maltodextrin).

Allergen-related: "Contains coconut. May contain milk, peanuts, hazelnuts and almonds."

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