Friday, April 14, 2023

Blue Stripes Urban Cacao - Whole Cacao Trail Mix Dark Chocolate Coconut - Apr. 13, 2023

Chocolate of the Day

Blue Stripes Urban Cacao
Whole Cacao Trail Mix - Dark Chocolate Coconut 
Good ++ 
Weight: 1/4 cup (34 g.) / 8 oz. (226 g.) in total package
Calories: 190 calories in 1 serving
Cost: $4.99 for 1 package
Purchased from: Piazza's, Palo Alto, CA 

Welcome to Day #6 of Chocolate and Coconut Theme Week.

Today's Dark Chocolate Coconut Whole Cacao Trail Mix was distributed by Blue Stripes LLC (New York, NY). 

The company produces offerings with upcycled cacao that include "the whole cacao pod" (cacao fruit, cacao beans (seeds), and cacao pod shell fiber). (They also offer cacao fruit juices, chocolate bars and granola.)

Today's certified non-GMO and vegan trail mix included dried cacao fruit (with pod fiber), chocolate covered cacao beans, and 70% dark chocolate chips. 

But, that's not all. The cacao pieces sat amidst hearty chunks of nuts (cashews, Brazil nuts), coconut, and red goji berries.

Aroma notes included: coconut, soft green, chocolate/cacao, fruit (berry), nuts, and faint cashew/nut shortbread cookie.

The texture included mostly softly crunchy items (coconut, cashews, Brazil nuts, chocolate chips). Despite relatively large pieces (good for trail eating on the go), the only items with a firmer, molar-engaging chew were the sweet, dried fruit nuggets made of dried cacao fruit and flecks of cacao pod fiber.

The biggest items in this constellation were large brown orbs composed of soft, nutty, hazelnut chocolates with crunchy, authentic cocoa bean centers.

Flavors were well balanced and mirrored the aroma notes. This was a multi-sensory cacao field trip contained in just one handful. The sweetness level was authentic. No gratuitously sugared items (thank you!). Just a bit of intermittent dried fruits and 70% dark chocolate. The minimal sugar allowed authentic, unvarnished nut and coconut flavors to shine through. The coconut flavor was natural and subtle.

But how was it as a trail mix? This engaging, cacao-filled mix delivered tasty, portable trail fuel for an active day outdoors. Yep, healthy and fun, as advertised. I could see including this trail mix in a chocolate tasting class to illustrate what "whole cacao" means and taste like.

Thank you to Blue Stripes Urban Cacao for showing us what's possible with certified, upcycled cacao--a possibility that had been discussed for years; but, as with anything new, it has taken a few pioneering companies willing to take risks, to implement new offerings (and supply chains) and successfully educate and connect with distributors and consumers. No small task.

Ingredients: Hazelnut chocolate covered cacao beans (100% cacao liquor, coconut sugar, cacao beans, hazelnut butter, cacao butter, cacao shell fiber, cacao fruit sugar, sea salt), cashews, Brazil nuts, dried cacao fruit, dried coconut, goji berries, 70% chocolate (cacao mass, coconut sugar, cacao butter).

Allergen-related information: Contains cashews, Brazil nuts, coconut, hazelnut. Allergen claims made prior to production, beware that product is produced in a facility that also processes tree nuts, soy, peanuts, milk (and) wheat. 

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