Friday, December 15, 2023

Stone Grindz Chocolate - Ancient Ecuador 85% (bar) - Dec 15, 2023

Chocolate of the Day

Stone Grindz Chocolate
Ancient Ecuador 85% (bar)
Good ++
Weight: 1 oz. (28.3 g.) / 2 oz. (57 g.) in total bar
Calories: 155 calories (estimate) in 1/2 bar
Cost: $9.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Stone Grindz, online order

Welcome to Day #2 of Chocolate and Ecuador Theme Week.

Today's Ancient Ecuador 85% (bar) was made from bean to bar by Stone Grindz Chocolate (Scottsdale, AZ).

This award-winning chocolate was crafted using cacao from Hacienda Victoria (Cerecita, Ecuador). The cacao beans are "ancient heirloom varietal dating back thousands of years, making this bean very rare."

Aroma notes for this ultra-dark chocolate included: deep, dark chocolate and very subtle, smooth earth (very faint loam) and mineral (very faint chalk).

This well-tempered bar broke with a hard snap in a cool room. The texture was uniform and smooth with a very faint astringency. Stone Grindz chocolate makers selected a "light roast and a heavy conche to give it clarity of flavor unmatched at this percentage." (More gentle roasting can preserve more volatile flavor elements present in complex, heritage cacaos; and longer conche time can create a pleasant creamy texture.)

Flavor notes included: dark fudge brownie; earth (light loam); very faint (barely there) dried fruit (black fig, pomegranate) and cinnamon toast; and roasted nut/seed/malt. Not too sweet, tart or bitter, this 85% ultra-dark bar will interest dark chocolate enthusiasts. 

Eat slowly to enjoy some of the more fleeting flavor notes and to enjoy the unexpected creaminess (dark chocolate buttermilk ice cream) toward the finish, that became more obvious after the first (i.e. subsequent) bite.

Maker's Tasting Notes: "Chocolate Ice Cream, Roasted Peanut"

Ingredients: (Ecuadorian) Cacao*, Cacao Butter*, Cane Sugar* (* = Organically Farmed)

Allergen-related information:  "Soy Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan"

Pump Street Chocolate - Maple Pecan 55% Milk Chocolate (bar) - Dec. 14, 2023

Chocolate of the Day

Pump Street Chocolate
Maple Pecan 55% Milk Chocolate (bar)
Good ++
Weight: 1.23 oz. (35 g.) / 2.47 oz. (70 g.) in total bar
Calories: 199.5 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $10.50 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Bar and Cocoa (online order)

Welcome to Day #1 of Chocolate and Ecuador Theme Week.

Today's Maple Pecan (bar) was made from bean-to-bar by Pump Street Limited (Suffolk, England). The company also produces baked goods. And, today's bar contained flakes of their pie crust.*

The cacao used to make this chocolate was from Hacienda Victoria, a single-estate farm in Guayas, near the Pacific Coast of Ecuador.

Aroma notes included: chocolate, fruit (cherry pie), pie crust, nuts (pecans), maple syrup and very faint fig.

Flavor notes were similar to the aroma notes above, with a bit more emphasis on the smooth dark milk chocolate. The cacao's subtle, natural stone fruit notes (cherry, peach) in combination with Pump Street's authentic buttery pie crust taste made me think of fruit pie. 

This 55% bar was relatively sweet. The flavors were interesting and well balanced and seemed perfect for a cool December day, with hints of pie and maple nut.

Ingredients: Cocoa beans, cane sugar, caramelised maple pecans (17.4%) (pecans (nuts), pure maple sugar, demerara sugar), cocoa butter, skimmed milk powder, pastry (7.4%) (wheat flour with added calcium, iron, niacin and thiamine, unsalted butter (milk), eggs, icing sugar, salt). Milk chocolate contains minimum cocoa solids (55%). 

Allergen-related information: Contains tree nut(s) (pecans), milk, wheat, eggs. May contain nuts and sesame seeds.

*The crust tasted great, but contained wheat; i.e. it was not gluten free. So I was unable to taste more than one bite. 

Dr. Bronner's - Magic Creamy Mocha Latte Oat Milk Chocolate - Dec. 13, 2023

Chocolate of the Day

Dr. Bronner's
Magic Creamy Mocha Latte Oat Milk Chocolate 45% Cocoa (bar) 
Good ++ - Good +++
Weight: 1.465 oz. (41.5 g.) / 2.93 oz. (83 g.) in total bar
Calories: 234.4 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $N/A - free sample ($5.99 for 1 bar); available online
Purchased from: N/A - Sample received from Dr. Bronner's

Today's Magic Creamy Mocha Latte Oat Milk Chocolate 45% Cocoa (bar) was distributed by Dr. Bronner's (Vista, CA). This was the third of three new oat milk bars featured on Chocolate Banquet this week.

The company's first line of Magic dark chocolate bars were created in 2021. Today's mocha latte oat milk chocolate was the third of three new oat milk chocolate 45% bars from Dr. Bronner's featured this week on Chocolate Banquet.

This Organic, Fair for Life Fair Trade, Vegan Certified, and gluten free Creamy Mocha Latte Oat Milk Chocolate carried the company's message (from company founder Dr. Emanuel Bronner), "We Are All-One." A timeless reminder for us all.

The growing selection of alternative "milk" chocolate bars have become available in the past five years. It's a challenge to produce a chocolate that has the attributes of dairy milk/cream. However, Dr. Bronner's three new bars show that tasty non-dairy (and vegan) chocolates have finally arrived.

Aroma notes for this bar included: freshly roasted coffee, chocolate, and creamy mocha beverages with a trace of vanilla and nut (almond, hazelnut).

The texture and flavors were hearty but very smooth.

Flavor notes included: rich dark, smooth chocolate, coffee and mocha nut latte (made with hazelnut and almond "milks") with a hint of warm vanilla.

This 45% cacao coconut sugar sweetened chocolate was sweet. (Sugar is the #1 ingredient, and this may give you that "moreish" urge to eat more than an ultra-dark chocolate.) Fortunately, the coconut sugar seemed to slow down the sugar buzz.*

What I loved about all three Dr. Bronner's new oat milk bars: 1.) seductive aromas and authentic flavor(s); 2.) organic, fair trade and thoughtfully cultivated (regenerative) ingredients; 3.) the choice of coconut sugar vs. cane sugar; 4.) well-executed texture and flavor layering; and 5.) no obvious oat milk taste. (They could pass for dark (dairy) milk chocolate.) 

These bars come close to the chocolate "holy grail"-- offerings that both milk and dark chocolate lovers might enjoy. These 45% cacao chocolates tasted more like dark chocolate than most lower cacao percentage bars. And the flavors didn't get lost in the sugar. (Thank you!)

Ingredients: Fair Trade Organic Coconut Sugar,* Fair Trade Organic Cocoa Butter,* Fair Trade Organic Cocoa Beans,* Organic Whole Oat Flour,  Organic Sunflower Oil, Organic Hazelnuts, Fair Trade Organic Coffee, Organic Sunflower Lecithin, Organic Almonds, Fair Trade Organic Bourbon Vanilla Bean (* = Regenerative Organic Certified)

Allergen-related information: Contains nuts (hazelnuts, almonds), coconut (sugar). "Made on equipment that also processes almonds, hazelnuts, coconut and soy." 

* Coconut sugar is a bit lower on the glycemic scale than more processed/white sugar(s), i.e. is less likely to spike blood sugar as much.


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