Zazubean’s design, amusing online photos, and funky niche market called to me all the way from British Columbia. Currently, six very different bars comprise their collection of functional chocolates. Both of the ones I sampled, the “Flirt” with raspberry, cherry, and acaí, and the “Nutbar” with coconut, almonds, and camu camu were irresistible. The super rich, organic 70% chocolate was equally at home with fruits as it was with almonds and coconut, though it had a decidedly different texture. With the freeze dried raspberry bits it was snappier and crisper; whereas, with the nuts and coconut it was chewier. Both were eminently easy to scarf down.
Functional foods are also known as neutraceuticals or superfoods. According to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, “Canada has emerged as a leading world supplier in this growing market. The country boasts more than 300 companies – from small start-ups to multinational enterprises.” In the U.S., we are well aware of the plethora of enhanced foodstuffs, as they fill almost every aisle of the market. When it comes to chocolate, a natural for pairing with everything from fiber to probiotics, the potential nutritional benefits are an exciting development, but take second place to the taste, texture, and aroma of the final product; especially, since dark chocolate already contains over 300 phytochemicals.
For those who are wondering, acaí (pronounced ah-sigh-ee), is a berry-like fruit that grows on palm trees in the Brazilian Amazon. According to recent research, it has amazing disease-fighting antioxidant properties. “With a score of 6.58 on the oxygen radical absorption capacity (ORAC) test, acaí pulp has more antioxidant activity than blueberries, strawberries, and red wine combined,” says David Grotto, RD, LDN, author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life. Acaí is particularly high in anthocyanins, potent pigments that give it its deep purple color and battle cancer, heart disease, diabetes, inflammation, obesity, and other age-related illnesses.
Camu camu, a sour berry that grows from a bush in swampy and flooded areas of the Amazon, has the highest levels of vitamin C. Studies show camu camu to have strong anti-oxidant effects and contain minerals, amino acids, beta carotene, calcium, iron, niacin, phosphorus, riboflavin and thiamine.
Unfortunately for Americans, Zazubean’s products are only available in Canada. I hope that changes soon, as I would love to try their Cheeky bar with banana, salted toffee, and maca (another superfood).