The following link from Forbes magazine details the latest research on chocolate’s benefits to mind and body.
Tag Archives: healthy 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.
Scott Query’s Solstice Chocolate in Salt Lake City, Utah, is one of the newest kids on the bean to bar block. His five all organic bars make a handsome present in their brown paper envelopes with wonderful wire closures enabling you to keep your chocolate neat and fresh. Each 2.5 ounce bar is divided into 8 squares and has an attractive stylized sun stamped in the middle. They are beautifully tempered to a shiny, crisp, audible snap. The 70% bars hail from four different provenances: Sambirano from Madagascar, San Martin from Peru, Amazonas from Venezuela, Palos Blancos from Bolivia, and a blend called Wasatch.
There are three levels of color to this chocolate flight. The lightest are from Peru and Madagascar. The darkest is from Bolivia, and the two medium ones are from Venezuela and Wasatch.
The Bolivian bar is just fabulous: thickly textured, full of dark fruit flavors, with a nice slightly dry medium finish.
The Venezuelan bar has a touch of leather, that same slightly dry finish, and a hint of citrus.
Wasatch had a more complex texture, almost chewy, that was wonderfully different, though still very refined. It, too had a slightly dry finish.
The Peruvian was a bit creamier, with a heady combination of flavors from lychee to banana, and an elegant, lingering finish.
Madagascar was velvety, a bit less complex, but very appealing in its gentler flavor profile and more subtle finish.
All five bars are incredibly satisfying. One square is a complete chocolate experience unto itself, and the slightly dry finish most of them sport is like a big period at the end of your chocolate sentence.
I love the name Antidote. There are plenty of days when I would like an antidote for whatever demon has decided to bite me, and this might just be the ticket. Apparently, Red Thalhammer, the founder of Antidote, wanted an antidote for any situation, and that desire, coupled with her abiding interest in food and nutrition, led her to create this unique product.
Of course, it was only a matter of time before someone was inspired to combine raw and roasted beans. I hadn’t had the pleasure of this ingenuity until I tried Antidote. It works! The raw and roasted seem to love each other, at least, in this 50:50 ratio.
First up is ALETHEIA, their 84% bar enhanced with ginger, gooseberries, and moringa leaves. I had never heard of the moringa tree, so I did a quick google search and came up with:
“The Moringa tree is the most nutritious in the world. Known as the Tree of Life, it contains more than 90 nutrients including 40 powerful antioxidants. In fact, practically every part of the Moringa plant contains important minerals and is a good source of protein, vitamins, beta-carotene, amino acids, and various phenolics. It is rich in flavonoids, including Quercetin, Kaempferol, Beta-Sitosterol, Caffeoylquinic acid, and Zeatin.
Here are just a few benefits to consuming Moringa:
Increases the body’s immune system
Provides nourishment to the brain and body
Decreases anxiety, depression, and sleep related disorders
Promotes cell structure of the body
Calms, moisturizes, and nourishes the skin
Promotes the normal functioning of the liver and kidney
Promotes a healthy circulatory system
Supports normal sugar levels
Aids in stabilizing diabetes
Aids in reducing inflammation and related conditions like arthritis.”
I couldn’t taste the moringa, but I’m happy to have eaten such a super food. The chocolate was tempered to a snappy shine, and I enjoyed the chewiness of the ginger and gooseberry. For an 84% chocolate it was remarkably easy to eat.
HYBRIS, the other 84% bar I tried, has mango and juniper. Juniper is a key ingredient in gin and I could taste a bit of my father’s Bombay martini in this bar. The mango shreds are scattered on the bottom of the bar and work incredibly well with the juniper and the deep, full flavored chocolate.
Both of these raw + roasted treats tasted more roasted than raw to me, which makes them extra appealing to those of you who might avoid a raw bar. If that’s the case, I would recommend you try their 100% raw sweetened with dates. It is truly excellent. The 100% raw chocolate has a drier finish, and slight aftertaste of leather which goes very well with the earthy sweetness of little date pieces.
Their chocolate is sourced from Ecuador, one of my favorite chocolate locales.
Antidote currently has ten bars in production. Next time, I would like to try the ones with banana and cayenne, and almond and fennel, both of which are made with 77% chocolate.
As for the very appealing wrappers, that make this a perfect gift, their design is based on artwork of Greek goddesses and aimed at bringing out the inner goddess in all of us women.
Barbara Yeager is a bouyant, creative, life-embracing soul who wants to make the world a better place by bringing health and joy to all through raw, organic chocolates.
I must admit, as a fellow yogi, I am somewhat predisposed to liking her wares; however, not everyone is ready for, or open to raw chocolate. It’s a shame, really, since agave-sweetened raw chocolate has a place in the chocophile’s stash. Its healthy, raw cacao has about 700% more anti-oxidant power than your typical chocolate, and its low glycemic index won’t raise your blood sugar levels.
I sampled three little bars and three bonbons. My favorite was the Coconut Cream, a pretty chocolate-encased dome with a creamy, coconut filling. Cosmic Mint, a rectangular mint cream filled confection, was perked up with a touch of sea salt. Meteor Shower, its fraternal twin, is spiked with tiny, crunchy nibs. All are quite a departure from your typical chocolates, and that’s what makes them interesting and fun.
Chile & Salt is a perky 26 gram bar with a medium amount of heat. The chocolate melts in your mouth fairly quickly. As much of a rush as this is, it’s not overly intense. I think that’s because, unlike single-origin bars I have recently reviewed only using beans and sugar, these bars have cacao butter which makes them melt faster. I liked the crunchy deep layered flavor of Cacao Crunch, Barbarba’s naked chocolate with nibs. For you purists, there’s the Janzabar, a plain bar punched up with sea salt.
If you are a raw foodie, a vegan, or simply someone who wants to amp up the benefits of your chocolate, Life Opening offers these six plus a couple of other options.
The packaging is adorned with pretty artistic labels designed by Jill Mollenhauer, and is easily resealable, something that always floats my boat.
Have you ever noticed how your tastes can change? An obvious example is the morphing of dislikes into likes as one goes from childhood to adulthood, but there are on-going shifts that can occur at any time. When it comes to chocolate, many have discovered they actually like dark varieties after spending decades thinking only milk would do. Dark milk chocolates are often a bridge into the world of chocolate’s deeper complexities. Alter Eco produces a wondrous dark milk bar (46%), with beans grown in the Bolivian Amazon, that is perfect for those of you who are a bit skittish about transitioning from milk’s comfortably familiar territory. The texture is just what you milk chocolate lovers crave: a smooth, creamy experience that immediately melts on your tongue. The flavor is still subtle, but with greater depth.
If you like a mid-range, darker chocolate, they offer two varieties at 61%. One is a perky mint with little crunches of minty crystals, and the other is Quinoa Midnight Crunch. The mint is immensely satisfying without being all about the peppermint, and the Quinoa Crunch, with its smattering of rice-quinoa crisps, is unlike anything else on the market. Both have a dark base that’s extremely balanced in sweetness and complexity.
Moving up the intensity scale, I tried their 73% with roasted nibs and I was immediately in a chocolate reverie. Again, I loved the juxtaposition of textures: smooth, well-conched chocolate and super-crunchy cacao nibs roasted to perfection. Each little nib heightened the chocolate experience on every level, infusing it with an earthier flavor profile and more of those great chocolate chemicals that seem to go directly to the brain in bars in the 70% and higher range.
My last tasting was their 85% bar. This is only for die-hard chocophiles. If you get a big chemical hit from the 73% prepare to be really wowed with the 85%. Hints of soil, dark fruits, minerals, and leather lead up to a slightly dry finish. With only a smidgen of sugar ( 6 grams in a 42 gram portion), 40% of your iron requirement for the day, and 5 grams of fiber, this really is more food than candy.
I enjoyed all five varieties. There are two more in the line I didn’t sample: a bar with almonds and one with orange peel. Both sound tantalizing.
If you love chocolate and your fellow humans, you will be happy to know that Alter Eco’s El Ceibo Cooperative in the Bolivian Amazon helps support 800 small scale farmers on sustainably farmed plantations.
Just as Repunzel turned straw into gold, a Swiss chocolatier turns these beans into chocolate bliss. What’s even more amazing is how hundreds of major health food and grocery stores carry Alter Eco’s high quality bars. Whether you’re in New York or Nebraska, you can easily indulge your sophisticated chocolate cravings.