Thursday, June 16, 2022

Green and Black's - Organic Milk Chocolate with Almonds bar - June 16, 2022

Chocolate of the Day

Green and Black's
Organic Milk Chocolate with Almonds (bar)
Good ++
Weight: 1.6 oz. (45 g.) / 3.17 oz. (90 g.) in total bar
Calories: 260 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $4.99 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Country Sun Natural Foods, Palo Alto, CA 

Welcome to Day #7 of Chocolate and Tea Theme Week. 

Today's Green and Black's Organic Milk Chocolate with Almonds (bar) was made in Italy and distributed by Mondelez Global LLC (East Hanover, NJ).

This bar had true, rich, creamy, sweet milk chocolate aroma and flavor with nutty and caramel notes. (I felt I could really taste the organic milk (24% milk content); and that was a good thing.)

Tea pairing experiments

As for (tea) pairings, it's a bit like mixing paint colors. You can mix two analogous (similar) colors (close to each other on the color wheel), e.g. yellow and orange. Or you can choose opposite colors (e.g. red and green) on the color wheel. Similar colors might be more harmonious. Opposing colors may clash, destroy/dull each other's best attributes, or they might complete each other wonderfully--e.g. adding a bright citrus or fruit note to liven up or add flavor depth to a dark, dense chocolate.

One form of analogous tea pairing might involve mirroring a chocolate's attributes. For example, for this bar: a full-fat, frothy creamy (dairy or almond) milk (black) tea latte with a hint of vanilla. Optional: few drops of authentic almond flavor (extract, liqueur) and splash of hazelnut milk and drizzles of caramelized sugar and chocolate syrups, and whipped cream.

A possible opposite/opposing, yet still somewhat complementary, tea pairing choice: Red Osmanthus Tea with light, bright fruity (apricot, apple) flavor notes. This herbal/Chinese medicinal tea is made with dried, tiny, pale golden, (gui hua) flower blossoms. 

Almonds are related to plums, apricots, peaches and apples. (They're all in the prunus genus.) While osmanthus flowers are in a different family, the aroma/flavor is somewhat similar to these fruits. Note: Brew the dried flower tea for a few minutes with hot water and then decant liquid/tea (discarding the blossoms/tea) soon after the water turns a pale golden color; otherwise the tea will have a slightly bitter taste.

I tried both tea pairing options mentioned above. Either one might work, depending on your taste preferences. 

That said, I would eat some of this chocolate by itself first before pairing it with anything else, as it had deeply satisfying milk chocolate, cream and nutty flavors. Yes, it was quite sweet, but it was also of substantially higher quality than you'll experience than most 37% cacao milk chocolate bars. And the cream and nuts helped balance the sugar.

Maker's description: "rich milk chocolate with whole roasted Mediterranean almonds for a full nutty flavor"

Ingredients: Organic milk chocolate (organic cane sugar, organic milk, organic chocolate liquor, organic cocoa butter, organic soy lecithin, organic vanilla extract), organic almonds.

Allergen-related information: Contains milk, soy, almond. May contain: other tree nuts.

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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