Friday, March 10, 2023

Chocolate Naive - Durian Fruit Chocolate 61% (bar) - Mar. 9, 2023

 Chocolate of the Day

Chocolate Naive
Durian Fruit Chocolate 61% (bar)
Good ++
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 2 oz. (57 g.) in total bar
Calories: 158.48 calories in 1/2 bar 
Cost: $15.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Bar and Cocoa, online order 

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

Today's Durian Fruit Chocolate 61% (bar) was made by Chocolate Naive (Vilnius, Lithuania).

The aroma aspects of this chocolate included: fruit (yellow-orange tropical fruits, very slightly earthy pineapple custard); chocolate; lemon-herb (oxalis); very faint nut (Brazil, hickory, pine); and faint wine grape and cheese fermentation notes.

This well-tempered bar broke with a snap and had a smooth, creamy, appealing texture and melt. It was a dark milk chocolate bar, but the fruit flavor was clear and bright, and seemed un-dulled by the judicious amount of grass-fed milk powder added.

Flavor notes included: mild, sweet yellow/orange tropical fruit (with very little of the fabled durian funk).* The fruit flavor carried on into the finish -- where there was one, very brief, mildly earthy cheese note.* 

This unique fruit infused chocolate was not too sweet and had nicely balanced tropical fruit flavor(s). The maker succeeded in capturing the sunnier side of this slightly tart-sweet fruit--a friendly mango-pineapple-cacao fruit rather than a scary monster (like the demon-style mask featured on the bar's packaging).

Ingredients: Specialty cacao*, cane sugar*, pure cacao butter*, grass-fed milk powder*, durian* (6%). *Wild or all natural farming

Allergen-related information: (Contains milk.) May contain traces of treenuts, peanuts and wheat

* I once bought durian ice cream, to go. I drove away intending to eat it at a nearby park. But, soon the odor inside the car was overwhelming. I had to pull over and discard this new treasure into an outdoor trash can.

What's the technical explanation for the smell?

Durian fruit produces ethanethiol--a chemical compound credited for causing "the smell." In large quantities this compound can be toxic. And as the fruit ripens, the level of ethionine (the ethyl analog to the amino acid methionine, and a precursor to ethanethiol) increases and so does the offending odor. 

The sometimes smelly (especially if overly ripe) durian fruit is banned in some public spaces in Malaysia and Singapore. However, if you're able to enjoy the mild (rather than the wild) side of this fruit, it's quite good.

Puchero - Chocolate with Pistachios & Strawberries 50% (bar) - Mar. 8, 2023

Chocolate of the Day

Chocolate with Pistachios and Strawberries 50% (bar)
Good + - Good ++ 
Weight: 1.23 oz. (35 g.) / 2.47 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 177 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $12.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Bar and Cocoa, online order

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

Today's Chocolate with Pistachios and Strawberries 50% (bar) was from Puchero (Valladolid, Spain), and made with local ingredients from Spain: "Pistacyl" pistachios from Valladolid and strawberries from Segovia.

The subtle aroma notes included: sweet red berry (strawberry), milk chocolate, and caramel.

This bar had a unique texture. It had a thick (in a cold room), high-fat, creamy melt and mouthfeel. There was no dairy or dairy fat in this bar. The relatively high fat content muted the chocolate and other flavors a little, and provided a buttery tasting experience.

The rich texture was accomplished via (I'm guessing) cocoa butter and very finely ground pistachio nuts (as I did not detect any pistachio nut pieces, just subtle nut flavor). 

The flavors were mild and balanced. The cacao flavors were extremely subtle, with no detectable acidity, bitterness or dark chocolate flavors one typically finds with the presence "darker" half of the cocoa bean (solids). 

This chocolate belongs on a 50% cacao bar tasting flight, to show what is possible using a lower percentage of cacao solids.* (It would also be a nice addition to a dessert plate.)

Almost all 50% cacao chocolates are very sweet. It was a happy surprise to discover this one  (refreshingly) was not. Sugar was the third ingredient listed. 

There was no "more-ish" sugar craving (to wolf down more of this chocolate) in this quieter bar. I enjoyed savoring each bite slowly, and was content with less.

Ingredients: "Cacao beans, pistachio (25%), organic cane sugar, organic cacao butter, dehydrate strawberry (4%), salt."

Allergen-related information: May contain traces of nuts, milk and gluten.

*Percentages may surprise you, tasting both darker and milder than one might expect. Some "lower" percentage chocolates may taste higher than indicated, and vice versa. The origin and variety of cacao (not always identified on the packaging) makes a difference. And, in today's case, a lower percentage bar doesn't have to mean more sugar.


Pure Boost - Cocoa Banana Bounty Superfood Blend - Mar. 7, 2023

Chocolate of the Day

Pure Boost Superfood Blends
Cocoa Banana Bounty Superfood Blend
Good +
Weight: 1/3 cup (27 g.) / 8 oz. (227 g.) in total package
Calories: 70 calories in 1 serving
Cost: $5.99 for 1 package
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate and Fruits Theme Week. 

Today's Pure Boost Cocoa Banana Bounty Superfood Blend was distributed by IMS (Shelton, CT).

Aroma and flavor notes included: slightly tangy sweetened fruit (berry and banana) with smooth, subtle cocoa -- a cocoa flavor that became richer and closer to chocolate milk once mixed with milk. 

The powder mixed and incorporated fairly readily with the milk of choice and a bit of water. There was no grainy or sedimentary texture once blended.

No added sugar, non-dairy, gluten free, plant based, allergen free

The flavors were attenuated a little--often the case when foods are processed to create a powdered form. But, the flavors of real banana and faint cocoa did come through.

 The sweetness tasted a little too enhanced initially; but then it calmed down to something more natural. The pros of alternative sweeteners (like erythritol and stevia blends) included the absence of a processed sugar buzz or sugar-coated teeth afterwards. The plant/seed-based protein powder also helped balance the sweetness and any fruit acidity.

Today's blend was described as a "...boost to juices, smoothies and baking" and I tried sampling this powdered mix by itself and with (dairy) milk. 

On the back of the package was a smoothie recipe, calling for blending 1/3 cup of this Cocoa Banana Bounty blend with one cup of a milk of choice, 1 fresh banana and two tablespoons of nut butter. I agree this would be quite good.

Ingredients: Plant-based protein blend (pumpkin seed protein, sunflower flour, hemp seed protein, flax meal), banana powder, Pyure organic sweetener blend (organic erythritol, organic soluble tapioca fiber, organic stevia leaf extract, organic natural flavor), natural cocoa powder, natural flavor.

Allergen-related information: "Non dairy, gluten free, allergen free"

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