Tag Archives: organic chocolate

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.

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Righteously Raw Organic Chocolate

I just love it when people are creative. The raw caramel bar from Righteously Raw by EarthSource Organics is a wonderful example of an insanely high cacao content bar (90%) that is actually easy to scarf down. Unlike any other intense raw bar I have tried, it has the added appeal of a chewy center made with dates, lucuma fruit and agave. With seven grams of sugar in each mini bar (there are three to a 2.3 ounce package) you get enough sugar to beautifully balance that heady cacao rush.

The Peruvian Lucuma is a delicately flavored sub-tropical fruit with high levels of calcium, niacin, fiber. It has been an important crop since ancestral times, proven by the many ceramic remains from the Moche and later Inca cultures. In fact, it was once referred to as the Gold of the Incas. Its tasty flavor and aroma are hard to describe or compare to any other. Some say it tastes like caramel custard and others a bit like pumpkin, apricot, or mango. Its texture, unlike most fruits, is dry, quite starchy and with a caramel-like consistency that melts in your mouth. So you can see how inspired it was to add this to a filling.

I would actually love to see this date-lucuma mixture in thin-shelled bonbons. In this manifestation there is a high ratio of chocolate to filling. As the chocolate is such a strong presence, I would enjoy more of that luscious chewy center. Now that I think about it, I would probably buy it by the jar it’s so yummy.

I also tried two mini squares, each .35 ounces. The Divine Mint (82%) has just the right amount of organic peppermint, enough to have an impact, but not so much that it’s overwhelming. Their Pure Dark (83%) let the raw taste come through more assertively.

In my experience, raw chocolate has a tendency to be a bit softer in texture than its heated cousins. I didn’t notice this as much in the Lucuma-filled bar as I did in the mini squares; but, even there the temper was snappy and the chocolate had a nice, light sheen.

Desiderio Chocolates

Artisan, gluten free, organic, local, fair-traded, and vegan chocolates from a great new chocolatier in Grand Rapids, Michigan: Vanessa Metalli Dionne.

Vanessa grew up in Rome, studied Industrial Design, and apprenticed at her parent’s Italian restaurant making desserts and breads. That’s the kind of credibility I find appealing: the interplay between modern with ancient, and discipline with creativity. All of which allows Vanessa to explore every aspect of the chocolate kingdom that piques her interest.

Her sleek looking chocolates, pure little rectangular bars or square caramels presented in the simplest wrappings, beguile you with their unadorned clean lines. Vanessa wants the focus on her delicious treats, not their trappings.

I sampled four small bars from her collection and the Salted Caramels. All are enrobed in a well-balanced dark couverture, and sport two layers: an infused ganache with a topping of gooey caramel. There is no discernible olive oil or coconut milk flavor, though their richness is easily detected.

Whiskey & Smoked Caramel Bar has a marked whiskey taste offset beautifully with textural interest from both the ganache and caramel. Of the four bars, this one has the most pronounced alcohol flavor.

Stout Caramel Ganache is simply divine, as its beery presence mixes with a hint of whiskey. Little bursts of Celtic Grey Sea Salt sprinkled on top provide a perfect gustatory counterpoint to the velvety interior.

Gourmellow :: Vegan Marshmallow Bar has a heaping layer of home made super-fluffy marshmallow on top of that incredibly chocolatey ganache.

Pumpkin Pie Caramel Truffle is a real gem. Redolent of pumpkin, spices, caramel, with a taste that bursts out of its chocolate confines, a truly memorable treat.

Salted Caramels :: Vegan Caramella with Himalayan pink sea salt is a rich dessert in two bites. Fabulous with tea or espresso, they come in a box of six and would make a great stocking stuffer.

The Chocolate Tree

Whether you are seeking out the unusual or the elegant, you will find a plethora of choices at The Chocolate Tree. This award winning organic, bean to bar chocolate hails from Edinburgh, Scotland.

Among their offerings is a pretty far-out Haggis inspired chocolate: The Chieftan. 32 little dark squares, each redolent of Haggis—yes, Haggis—provide a slightly oaty, crunchy, experience infused with unforgettable warming Haggis spices: black pepper, rosemary, sea salt, coriander seed, mace, and thyme. It’s a heady ride and sates one’s curiosity for Haggis without the sheep’s stomach. Frankly, I had Haggis many moons ago and vastly prefer this rendition. Of course, I am not a Scot and devoid of that collective unconscious connection to the real thing.

In addition to the Chieftan, I also tried two of their supremely beautiful and toothsome small batch bars, wrapped in lovely heavy stock floral paper. I especially liked the surprise of finding two 45 gram rectangles cached within each parcel. The chocolate is molded into a modern bas relief design of leaves and flowers, and divided into eight squares.

Their 50% Dark Milk Ecuadorian Arriba is conched for 60 hours yielding a super smooth, creamy texture that compliments the fruitiness of this renowned bean. A delicious choice for those fond of high quality dark milks.

The 72% Orange & Salt bars using Criollo beans from Madagascar conched for 45 hours, have just enough Pink Lake salt to perk up the flavor and texture of this addictive chocolate. One whiff set me up for the complex, yet subtle, melding of Criollo, essence of orange, and sea salt, all in a well-tempered bar. Incidentally, this one deservedly won the International Chocolate Awards European Silver medal for 2013.

Rawmio Gourmet Organic Raw Chocolate

Happily, I have eaten a lot of chocolate in my time. It is for that reason that I am especially thrilled when something new and delicious comes over the transom. Rawmio, a company that manufactures raw, organic barks, spreads, and a decadent looking truffle cake was an exciting find.

When raw bars are done well, they offer up a wildly deep and satisfying chocolate experience. Rawmio’s Organic Gourmet Hazelnut and Fig Raw Chocolate Bark has that earthy, interesting profile down pat. The texture is dry and crumbly, which makes this more like a food than a confection. The flavors all pop with crunch and freshness. Add-ins, including nibs, are not only scattered on top of the bar, but mixed in with the chocolate, as well. The hazelnuts are sprouted, the black mission figs chewy, coconut sugar adds sweetness, while vanilla and Himalayan pink sea salt round out this seamless cornucopia of flavors and textures.

The bars weigh in at 2.2 ounces, but they are very dense and rich. I found 1/3 of a bar very satisfying.

I also tried their Chocolate Hazelnut Spread, which was absolutely delicious. Diving right into the jar with a spoon, I was greeted with a creamy, smooth, nutty, chocolatey experience. Later, I warmed it up a bit as they suggest on the label and poured it over some frozen vanilla Greek yogurt. I loved the way it became chewy upon contact with the cold yogurt. It would also be quite yummy spread on apple slices, in crepes, or warmed to a more liquid consistency and drizzled over a Pavlova.

Kudos to Rawmio for packaging their bark in a pretty re-closable sleeve that added to my joy.

I don’t know how long this will last, but at last check rawguru.com had a special on the bark, three for $14.95. The spread is $27.90 for two 6 ounce jars. Yes, it’s an indulgence, but almost all good dark chocolate is. Furthermore, if you are a chocolatier you might find a teaspoon of this dense deliciousness makes a sublime filling for bonbons.

Cacao Prieto Organic Bean to Bar Chocolate

In this day and age, when chocolate shops dot the landscape like poppy seeds on a bagel, it’s a huge challenge to create a new artisanal line that not only gets people’s attention, but also merits multiple return engagements. Daniel Prieto Preston has achieved both. The large bars he produces are lovely and delicious, with their scattering of fruits and nuts on a base of seductively glossy super dark chocolate.

The company was founded by Daniel, an inventor and aerospace engineer, whose family has been farming organic cacao in the Dominican Republic for more than 100 years. The Prieto family owns Coralina Farms with over 2000 hectares in the Nagua area of the Dominican Republic. They provide all the cacao for Cacao Prieto’s chocolates. Coralina Farms is also the center for long range experiments in self-sustainable and organic farming methods, and the repository and preservation center for Dominican Cacao biodiversity.

The five bars I sampled were all 72% cacao and weighed 4.2 ounces. Each came adorned with a lovely retro-looking postcard that could easily be removed for mailing.

The flavors were: Hazelnut and Raisin, Cashew and Cranberry, Almond and Salt, Pistachio and Apricots, and Pecan and Sour Cherry. At first glance, I thought the chocolate had more sugar than other dark bars with a similar cocoa content; then, I read the label more carefully, and saw it was for a 55 gram portion. Most bars suggest a 40 gram portion and their sugar content would be about 12 grams. Here, it’s 16 grams for a heftier amount. The sugar is organic and also sourced from the Dominican Republic.

I loved all their flavor combinations. The super fresh crunchy nuts and slightly chewy fruits married beautifully with the perfectly balanced intensity of their chocolate. This is a refined intensity with fruity notes, a touch of terroir, enough edge on the finish to keep your interest, and a captivating shiny crisp temper.

They also create a lovely array of 72% Criollo bars from various vintages starting with June 2010 through December 2012. Apparently, these are produced from some of the oldest and finest criollo strains on their farm, the genetics of which date back to those brought to the island by Christopher Columbus.

Cocoa Loco Organic, Fair Trade, Single Origin chocolates

Just as some dishes become classics, along with tried and true presentations (think of Coquilles St. Jacques served in half a large scallop shell), some chocolate shapes have stood the test of time. Take the 100 gram bar, for example. It is ubiquitous worldwide because it allows for portion control, fairly neat division of pieces, and great portability. As fond as I am of that design, especially when it is scored into many small rectangles, something alchemical happens when that same chocolate is formed into discs. Whether paper thin flat spheres, or thicker, smaller rounds, each shape changes the chocolate’s melting time, thereby altering your experience.

I was recently reminded of this as I tucked into Cocoa Loco’s organic dark chocolate buttons made with luscious 73% fairly traded beans from the Dominican Republic. Each one inch disc delivers an immensely satisfying earthy, yet sophisticated experience. Rich, dense, slow to melt, with a creamy lingering finish, these are simply divine. The user-friendly shape makes them easy to share, eat at a movie, stash in your briefcase, or savor piece by delicious piece as you meander through a great book.

Christmas Pudding Truffles come in a clear, long rectangular box that shows off their lovely design: dark chocolate orbs capped with white chocolate and a piece of dried cranberry. Inside you will find a yuletide blend of citrus, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Each is double dipped in the aforementioned 73% single origin chocolate.

I also sampled two of their 100 gram bars. One, a 37% milk, is topped with honeyed sesame seed crunch. The combination of flavors and textures (chewy, crunchy, creamy) is memorable. Their 73% Sunflower Seeds and Sea Salt bar is a mini-revelation of intense sunflower flavor enhanced with sea salt and vanilla. The lovely crunch against snapppily tempered Dominican chocolate is positively addictive.

As always, I am delighted when bars are wrapped in resealable sleeves. It may seem like a small thing, but it keeps the chocolate fresh and neat. On the subject of packaging, I was smitten with the pure design and retro color palette of their logo.

A last little treat was a whimsical offering of a milk chocolate mustache on a stick. What a perfect gift for little boys eager to grow up, as well as new fathers seeking an amusing non-cigar post-baby celebratory token.

There are a plethora of other treats on their website; and, if you are lucky enough to live in the U.K., you can enjoy their bakery offerings.