Sunday, July 9, 2023

Vine to Bar - Dark Chocolate Chardonnay Marc tasting square - July 9, 2023

Chocolate of the Day

Vine to Bar
Chocolate Tasting Squares
Chardonnay Smoked Salt and Cocoa Nibs
Good +
Weight: .777 oz. (22 g.) in 2 squares
Calories: 120 calories in 2 squares
Cost: $2.58 for 2 squares
Purchased from: The Market at Edgewood, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #9 of Chocolate and Salt Theme Week.

Today's Dark Chocolate with Chardonnay Marc chocolate tasting square(s) were from Vine to Bar. (There was no HQ location listed on packaging or website.) 

The chardonnay grape marc* used in the company's chocolates was from "coastal vineyards." The company uses pressed wine grapes that might otherwise get discarded to use in chocolates.

Aroma notes included: naturally sweet dark chocolate, soft, diffuse fruit, and slightly floral botanical (including very faint vanilla-like, sweet green) notes.

The chocolate was fairly smooth, with a very slightly granular texture (likely due to chardonnay grape marc). A light sprinkling of cocoa bean pieces (nibs) added a crunchy element.

The flavor was a blend of very light dark chocolate and soft fruity (grape) notes, with a bit of salt. The flavors were relatively gentle, and well balanced.

I also tasted a few other Vine to Bar flavors, including a "plain" Dark Chocolate flavor. It shared some of the same aroma and flavor notes as those mentioned above. Relatively subtle, sweet flavors. It had slightly more dark chocolate oomph to it, but was otherwise very similar.

Ingredients: Dark chocolate (unsweetened chocolate, sugar, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, natural flavors)

Allergen-related information: May contain tree nuts, peanut, egg, wheat and milk. Vine to Bar Chocolates "contain no alcohol."

*Chardonnay Marc is a by-product of making wine. It's what's left after wine grape juice has been extracted. (According to the company, this by-product represents "up to 10 billion pounds of waste a year.")

The company describes their process to upcycle this marc as follows: "...After experimenting many times over, we transformed this by-product into WellVine (tm) Chardonnay Marc, a new ingredient full of natural sweetness, flavanols, and beneficial nutrients. It is also alcohol free.

This is one of several relatively new "upcycled" chocolates I've tasted that have become popular in recent years. This trend sounds practical and economical. I'm also interested in how these by-products will be monitored (e.g. how they're tested for pesticides and herbicide residues).

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