Tag Archives: low glycemic index chocolate

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.

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Lulu’s Organic Raw Chocolates

With so many vegans, vegetarians and raw foodies around there is a natural market for raw chocolate, though plenty of flexitarians and omnivores enjoy it for its primal earthiness. In my experience, these products vary wildly, and to complicate matters further, my desire for the raw stuff waxes and wanes. I was a joy-filled creature when I tasted the five sample bars Lulu sent me. Always one to love being surprised by new tastes, I found myself reaching for another bite, and another, and another.

Lulu’s handcrafted raw chocolate has the added benefit of a low glycemic index. It is sweetened with coconut sugar, the nutrient rich sap of coconut palms. This nectar pours forth by “tapping” the blossom of the tree before it matures into a coconut. The 78% Raw Love Bar has 4.6 grams of sugar in 28 grams, one ounce. (My only quibble is their contention that half an ounce of chocolate is a serving. I can’t imagine eating less than an ounce of chocolate at a time, but then I am an un-12-stepped chocoholic.)

Have you ever craved a bit of mesquite in your chocolate? If so, Lulu has your number. Two of her bars, the Maca Love (50%) and Chocolate Maca Chunk (62%, with a higher cacao content than its sibling because of the addition of nibs) have the unique addition of Mesquite. Think of charcoal broiled chocolate—only kidding. Actually, the smokiness adds a heady layer to an already mind-boggling chocolate ride. Wlldcrafted Maca has a reputation for increasing libido, stoking energy, improving mood, and decreasing anxiety. (Wikipedia)

Here’s what Lulu’s website says about Maca: “It has often been called ‘the herbal viagra.’ We use only pure vanilla bean, never extracts. Vanilla is the fruit of an orchid flower! It is also a breatharian plant and often grows in cacao trees. Mythologically, they were great lovers and make a perfect yin-yang union.”

Lulu sources her chocolate through Pacari in Ecuador, and the roasted cacao comes from Claudio Corallo in Africa.

My favorite, the Coconut Cin Bar, is as beautiful as it is delicious. An abstract design of thin coconut shards tops 75% raw cacao, with the addition of a subtle amount of cinnamon, it’s positively addictive. The coconut’s texture and flavor enhance an already powerful chocolate experience.

Aztec Crunch (75%) is a nib-adorned slab that delivers a super intense chocolate hit with crunchy nibs. Its partner, the Raw Love Bar (78%) guarantees that same chocolate rush in a purer incarnation.

I was also given a tiny vial of Pure Edible Cacao Essence with an invitation to wear it as a tantalizing scent or use one drop to add exotic flair to my favorite recipe or drink. For those of you who quaff Chocolatinis, this would take your cocktail up a few notches. Personally, I love the idea of chocolate as a fragrance. The perfect gift for a chocophile. And for you men who buy those pheromone enhanced scents to attract women, here’s one guaranteed to do the trick.