Tag Archives: gluten free chocolate

Amore di Mona

In our current chocolate laden world it is difficult to create something that stands out. Chef Meagan of Amore di Mona has managed to do that with her Madhava agave sweetened dark chocolates and caramels. Using agave gives them a much lower glycemic index and is particularly well suited to caramels.

I sampled the plain dark bar first. With only four grams of sugar in a 35 gram portion, the whole bar, it was just sweet enough to make it a treat, rather than a health food. The agave has an interesting effect on the temper, giving it a slightly creamier texture.

Next up were the two Caramela bars, each weighing in at 64 grams. It’s hard to believe there are only two grams of sugar in each 21 gram square, as they taste rich and immensely satisfying. The very fact that there are three large squares per box makes them a super portable way to enjoy dark chocolate coated caramels. I can easily see taking these along with me to the movies, as their perfectly chewy centers prolongs your enjoyment. The one with cranberries adds an extra layer of sweetness and texture. Using apple juice sweetened cranberries makes these even more crave-worthy, while the addition of organic ground vanilla beans beautifully rounds out the caramel-chocolate flavors.

I also tried their box of assorted chocolates: dark, caramela, caramela with cranberries, caramela with cherries, caramela with crunchy coffee beans, dark with currants, and dark with crunchy coffee beans. The dark chocolates are heart-shaped and very visually appealing. The caramelas are more rectangular. Slightly chewy, creamy caramel blends wonderfully with all the add-ins, though the one that really woke up my taste buds was studded with crunchy coffee beans. What a great juxtaposition of flavors and textures.

Always one to pay attention to packaging, I appreciated the ribbon and seal adorning both boxes.

Emmy’s Macaroons

If you are looking for an intense coconut chocolate treat that is like no other, Emmy’s Macaroons will sate your craving. These chewy raw organic rounds look fairly unprepossessing; yet, each bite is chock-ful of flavor.

I sampled four different flavors:

Choco Orange had a brightness and slight acidity that played off the dark cacao beautifully,
Choco Chili kicked up the flavor with a perfect amount of heat,
Dark Cacao was pure coconut and chocolate, and
Mocha had a wonderfully balanced blend of coffee and chocolate.

The sweetener here is organic raw agave, which adds only five grams of sugar to each chunky disc.
Emmy’s Macaroons are a healthy snack that really taste great.

Note: If you accidentally came across this site and are not really a chocophile, Emmy’s makes a whole range of cacao-free macaroons.

Sunbiotics Raw Probiotic Chocolate

If you want more probiotics in your diet this is one super healthy delicious way to get them. Because it is a raw bar you can be sure the probiotics have not been compromised by heat. There are 10 billion probiotics in each organic bar, four different strains (L. acidophilus, B. bifidum, B. lactic, and B. longum), with raw Yacon root added as a prebiotic. I love that there are 8 grams of fiber, only 7 grams of sugar, and “100% of your RDA for love” in each 31 gram bar.

If you are not used to ingesting probiotics, you may want to eat half a bar the first time, as they can have a laxative effect.

Raw chocolate is extremely satisfying, and this bar sates my chocolate cravings within a few bites.

Askinosie: Happy Hemp CollaBARation bar

For the sixth bar in Askinosie’s CollaBARation series they partnered with Tara Miko, founder of Happy Hemp. After searching for a “super food” to complement their fruity Tanzanian chocolate, they found the perfect match in Happy Hemp’s toasted hemp seeds. Hemp is known for its nutritional powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, all 20 amino acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and protein. It also boasts the perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega-6 Linoleic Acid and Omega-3 Linoleic Acid bolstering cardio-vascular health and strengthening the immune system.

With all those benefits, you might begin to wonder how this bar tastes. Fear not, like other Askinosie chocolates it’s delicious. One look at its beautifully tempered, shiny, alphabet embossed surface and hemp encrusted underside whets my appetite. Those crunchy, toasted seeds popping on my tongue go fantastically with the just-sweet-enough, creamy dark chocolate. Shawn is right when he says the “nutty flavor of toasted hemp seeds meets the sweet berry notes of our velvety Tanzania dark chocolate–we think it’s the perfect munchie!”

If, like me, you love gustatory surprises and go for the crunch in life, this bar will delight you. If you think of chocolate as a food group rather than a dessert, it would make a perfect companion for work, car trips, hikes, and afternoon dips in blood sugar with their typical feelings of fatigue and poor concentration. At the same time, it tastes like a treat and has only 11 grams of sugar in half a bar (42.5 grams).

I love the collaborative approach Shawn has taken with this series of partnerships. It’s friendly, mutually beneficial, and creative. As someone who has been involved with food co-ops for almost 40 years, that mind-set of working together to produce something unique and delicious speaks to my inner hippie. What thrills me is how so many of those 1960s ideals have been making their way into current business models by focusing on fairness (they pay their cacao farmers higher than fair trade prices), sustainability, and community. Kudos to Shawn and everyone else who is working to create a better paradigm for us all.

Stirs The Soul: Fairly Traded, Raw, Organic Chocolate

If you love raw chocolate you will want to check out Portland Oregon’s Stirs the Soul. Their 82% and 84% chocolates are intensely nutritious and surprisingly gentle on the palate. I even like their motto: Bean to bliss.

Daren Hayes, a culinary school graduate, is the talent behind these treats. His passion for fairly traded, organic, sustainable, and wild-crafted cacao, combined with his choice of in house stone-ground 100% un-roasted Criollo & Trinitario beans infuses his creations with quality. In addition, Daren works in a facility that is nut, tree-nut(except coconut), soy, gluten, egg and dairy free, which makes their chocolate suitable for vegans and people with allergies. If that’s not tempting enough, their lines are gluten free, and offer a low glycemic index.

I sampled three of their products. A sweet little two ounce muslin bag full of chewy, fresh 84% coated dried bananas, figs and currants. I liked this combination of flavors and textures. Raw chocolate always feels super healthy, and a bit more like food than confection; so, I ate these with abandon knowing I was saturating myself with antioxidants.

Their Goji-orange bar, sweetened with raw dates offers up both dark 82% chocolate with chewy goji berries and an undertone of orange that beautifully enhances the whole experience. Gogi berries are known for their high levels of antioxidants, 21 trace minerals, 18 amino acids, and are believed to curb your appetite, promote restful sleep, and create a sense of well being.

Just one rectangle from the 84% plain bar sweetened with coconut palm sugar really satisfied my chocolate craving and offered a great pick-me-up before lunch.

These two bars weigh in at one ounce each, which helps with portion control, and makes them fit a pocket perfectly.

There are a plethora of creative options on their website. The bars are divided into four categories based on which sweetener is used: raw agave, coconut palm sugar, raw honey, and raw dates. I can’t think of any other company offering such an incredible diversity of sweeteners.

In addition to being able to buy these online, you can also find them at a number of co-ops and markets.

Maine Cottage Foods Sugar Free Chocolate

Suddenly, it seems as if it’s raining sugar free chocolates. Maine Cottage Foods has a wide variety sweetened with erythritol, which claims the lowest glycemic index of any other sweetener. They also add oligofructose, a probiotic fiber, enhancing your treats with the same fiber as a bran muffin and adding extra sweetness. I found this a very interesting strategy, as it makes their chocolates more filling.

Maine Cottage Foods’ chocolates are most obviously different from each other in the milk and dark varieties. The milk iterations are much creamier, as you would expect, with a chewier mouth feel, while the darks are very snappy, glossy, and crisp.

I was taken with their colorful foil-wrapped “Teenies,” also available in 1.1-1.5 ounce bars. I sampled 11 flavors. The five darks were: Cherry, Ultra Dark, Mint, Orange, and Raspberry. All were appealing and had good flavor. My favorite was the mint, followed by orange. The milk options were: Butterscotch, Butterscotch and Cinnamon, Crunch, Milk, Mint, and Raspberry. Of these, I liked the crunch best, with both Butterscotches next in line.

Since they sent me some dark chocolate “Jewels,” their larger version of faceted chocolate chips, I had to make some clusters. This batch was enhanced with an organic crunchy maple cereal and some tart dried cherries. A slam dunk with a group of friends who wouldn’t have known the chocolate was sugar free unless I mentioned it. The jewels come in different flavors, including: mint, orange, dark, milk, butterscotch, raspberry, and some seasonal offerings.

They also make big slabs of chocolate bark. I was surprised to see them weigh in at eight ounces, as they look huge. You can order all sorts of combinations from drop down menus, including different flavored chocolates and add-ins, including pistachios, almonds, Kona coffee beans, pecans, peanuts, wild Maine blueberries, and cherries. I am sure they are all delicious, as the three I tried (blueberry, coffee, and peanut) were satisfying, rich, full of flavor and appealing textures, and very generously packed with fruit, coffee, or nuts. The blueberries were dried, but still chewy and very fresh tasting, Kona coffee beans were roasted to their crispy apotheosis with no acidity and a super mocha intensity, and the goobers were wonderfully crunchy and a perfect ad-in for those seeking a snack food more than a confection.

The people at Maine Cottage Foods are so accommodating they will even split a one pound bark order into two different options; so, you could order half a pound of the dark with Kona coffee and half a pound with blueberries. In addition, they offer free shipping, weather permitting.

Fearless Raw Organic Chocolate

They had me at hello. Being the visual person I am, I was delighted with the Fearless buttons, adorable elephant logo, stars on their bars, winged elephants prancing around the shiny inner packaging, and the gestalt that this company embodies. So appealing, so welcoming, so healthy, so innovative, and so delicious. Who could ask for more?

By now, most of you know how wildly good for you raw chocolate is; however, all raw chocolates are not created equal. Fearless’ is definitely a cut above. I loved their Super Seed Crunch, with its addition of hemp, chia, and flax; like a food and a confection at the same time. I quickly scarfed down a few little squares. Pausing, I noticed the depth of flavor behind all the crunch. Their base, an organic chocolate, has a lovely creaminess that’s most evident in the 75% bar, a truly addicting experience. The Matcha Green Tea with Peppermint was a creative A-plus, with its not-overpowering minty excitement a perfect foil for the dryish-edge of the tea.

Not only does this company, run by artist/activist Jordan Michael Schuster, donate !% to causes suggested by Fearless’ consumers, they have a light-hearted, fun vibe that pervades everything they do. Whether it’s the adorable buttons, the packaging, their elephant logo signifying compassion and triumph over adversity, or their recycled paper boxes, their corporate heart is in the right place. At least, the right place for my old hippie proclivities.