Archive for the 'organic' Category

Mast Brothers single origin dark chocolate bar – Madagascar

April 4th, 2014 by Rosa

Today’s the last of the three Mast Brothers single origin chocolate bars, the Madagascar, that I bought at Cocoa Cinnamon, a local coffee shop. I reviewed the Belize last Friday, and the Papua New Guinea on Monday.

Wrapper description: “This organic cacao is sourced from a single farm in Madagascar’s northwest coast. Bold, with notes of blood orange, raspberry, and red wine.”

The Madagascar looked quite shiny and broke with a sharp snap. Its melt was fuzzy and with no tongue-coating properties.

It started with rich caramel notes that quickly gave way to an incredibly punchy, bright fruitiness that shone through. It was sweet and tangy – I placed it as passionfruit, though the wrapper notes went with blood orange and raspberry.

I am totally sold on Mast Brothers chocolates. They are pricey but totally worth it – every bar I had great flavor intensity and complexity. Another ZOMG!

Category: chocolate, organic, review, single origin, ZOMG! | No Comments »

Mast Brothers single origin dark chocolate bar – Belize

March 28th, 2014 by Rosa

I’ve written about Mast Brothers Chocolate in several news posts on the blog, but this is my first time reviewing their wares. Mast Brothers is based in NYC, so I hadn’t been able to try them until now – thanks for carrying amazing chocolate bars, Cocoa Cinnamon!

I picked up three of their single origin bars: the Belize, the Madagascar, and the Papua New Guinea. Belize is up first.

The wrapper blurb: “From the Mayan jungles of southern Belize, this ground-breaking cooperative farms world-class, organic cacao. Notes of raisin, plum, and sarsaparilla.

This bar had the dullest surface look of the three bars that I tried. It broke with a sharp snap, and not always along its presegmented lines.

The texture of the bar was on the dry side. When I chewed it up, it felt like it had just lost its grittiness, and there was no tongue-coating melting feel. You can see the fine grit along the break in the image below.

The flavor of this bar was just incredible! A brightly fruity punch of raisin notes dominates the flavor profile and lingers throughout.

I was enthralled by how much flavor this bar brought from having only cacao and cane sugar on its ingredients list. A ZOMG!

Category: chocolate, organic, review, single origin, ZOMG! | No Comments »

Jelina Chocolatier – Fleur de Sel

September 13th, 2013 by Rosa

Wednesday, I reviewed Jelina Chocolatier‘s Espresso bar. Today, I’ve got a review of another of their organic chocolate bars, the Fleur de Sel. Both were free samples that I picked up at the Sweets and Snacks Expo.

Again, this bar was comprised of 15 rectangles, which came sealed in a silver wrapper tucked inside a cardboard box. This one was cutely decorated with a line drawing of a salt shaker.

The chocolate had a dry, smooth, velvet melt that felt comfortably matte on my tongue. Sprinkles of salt could be found throughout the bar, adding a bit of crunch along with a salty hit.

The chocolate had deep, dark earthy notes that occasionally found themselves set off with a hit of salt in a burst of sweet/sour/salty. The finish was intensely chocolatey and lingered pleasantly on the tongue.

I thought this would make for a great snacking bar. Simple but wonderfully chocolatey and kept interesting by the addition of salt – an OM.

Category: chocolate, OM, organic, review | No Comments »

Jelina Chocolatier – Espresso

September 11th, 2013 by Rosa

Last year at the Sweets and Snacks Expo, I picked up two chocolate bars from Jelina Chocolatier, a Canadian chocolate company that was looking for a U.S. distributor. I loved those two bars and gave them high marks and kept hoping they’d make their way to the U.S. market. Unfortunately, they’re still looking for a U.S. distributor, so I’ll just have to keep hoping.

I saw Jelina again at this year’s Expo and was lavished with a few more free samples. I’ll cover the Espresso bar today and their Fleur de Sel on Friday.

Like all of their bars, the Espresso was organic and came rustically packaged in a simple cardboard box. I liked the little line drawing of the stovetop coffeepot that decorated it.

Inside, the chocolate bar came sealed in a separate silver package and was segmented into 15 striated rectangles. The bar’s texture was dry and thickly gritty, like Taza Chocolate or Mexican-style chocolate. You can see the grit in the photo below.

The chocolate tasted incredibly intensely of roasted coffee beans. Somehow, they managed to capture all the flavor of coffee while minimizing its bitterness. The bitterness was there but barely noticeable.

This was a perfectly balanced bar with just the right mix of sweet chocolate and robust coffee. An OMG.

Category: chocolate, coffee, OMG, organic, review | No Comments »

YumEarth Organics Fruit Snacks + Giveaway

August 23rd, 2013 by Rosa

Is there a different between gummis and fruit snacks? The former is definitely a candy and is usually viewed as an occasional treat for kids, whereas the latter is often found in school lunch boxes.

To me, they’re basically the same, though fruit snacks get a health washing. I think it’s because they can usually brag about being made with real fruit juice.

Case in point, YumEarth Organics’ (formerly Yummy Earth) fruit snacks. In addition to containing real fruit juice, they brag about being 100% natural, organic, and without artificial dyes.

I got some free samples to review, and permission to do a giveaway as well. More on that later…

The fruit snacks came in banana, cherry, peach, and strawberry. They were firm and dry on the outside, so that they almost had a shell, like what you get when candy gets dried out.

The fruit jelly immediately and cleanly yielded to my bite. The texture was firm with zero bounce, like a grainless fruit pate.

Banana (yellow) was mild and brightly sweet, almost tart in flavor. It had just a hint of banana flavor, enough so that I could tell it was the banana fruit snack (though the shape clued me in as well), but not so much that it was artificially off-putting.

This was the best banana-flavored candy or gummy that I’ve ever had. Usually I hate banana candies, but I loved this.

Cherry (pink circle) was also sweet, fruity, and lightly tart. It had a deep red fruit finish to the end and managed to avoid any cough syrup notes.

Peach (orangey circle) was sweet with a spot-on peach flavor. It was sweet and floral, and so close to the real thing that I could practically taste the peach fuzz.

Finally, strawberry (pink triangle) had the same fruity sweetness of the other gummis, plus a mild and floral strawberry undertone.

By avoiding the use of artificial ingredients, these fruit snacks from YumEarth managed to pack a ton of intense and delicious flavors into tiny packages. I give them an OM.

If you’d like to give these a try, YumEarth is letting me give away two bags of their back to school snack packs to one lucky reader. To enter, please leave a comment about your favorite lunchbox snack to pack for your kids or from when you were a kid.

I will randomly select one reader from the comments. Continental U.S. readers only, and contest closes a week from today, at 11:59 PM Eastern, Friday, August 30th, 2013. Good luck!

EDIT: This contest is now closed. Congrats to Caley on being my randomly selected winner!

Category: giveaway, gummi/gummy, jelly candy, OM, organic, review | 12 Comments »

Bissinger’s Gummy Pandas – Lemon Ginger Yuzu

May 13th, 2013 by Rosa

After I reviewed Bissinger‘s grapefruit gummy pandas, I thought I’d never buy another bag because they were just too expensive ($4.99 for a 4 oz bag). But this bag of Lemon Ginger Yuzu gummy pandas just sounded too tasty to pass up, so I splurged again.

The lemon ginger yuzu pandas had a soft yet sproingy chew that was incredibly pleasant to chomp on. Just enough bounce to keep things interesting, but soft enough to be easy on the jaw.

The pandas smelled strongly of ginger with a lemony citrus undertone, and the flavor profile matched the scent. They started off sweet and gingery, then mellowed into a sweet lemon drop flavor with just a smidge of lemon zestiness.

The ginger flavor was strong and genuine, yet immensely palate pleasing. They captured all the wonderful essence of ginger flavor without its stinging bite, which was perfect for me.

These were unlike anything other gummi that I’ve bought (I know Haribo makes a lemon ginger gummi, but I’ve yet to see it in the wild), which is a shame because they were addictively delicious. For now, totally worth the premium and my new favorite gummi. ZOMG!

Category: gummi/gummy, organic, review, ZOMG! | No Comments »

Florida’s Natural Au’some Organic Nuggets

January 16th, 2013 by Rosa

I rarely buy candy just for snacking since I have a ridiculous stockpile. Florida’s Natural Au’some Organic Nuggets (which used to be just Fruit Nuggets; the organic part is a relatively new addition) are one of the few candies that I will buy to snack on, so I happily accepted free samples of them at Sweets and Snacks.

They came in three different mixes: Orchard Sours were apple and lemon; Berrilicious were cherry, blueberry, and strawberry; and Fruit Grove was strawberry, banana, and orange.

The nuggets were all irregularly shaped, though they were generally rectangular and about the size of my pinky nail. They were chewy and lightly grainy and melted with a slight pasty feeling.

All the nuggets within each bag looked the same, though the Berrilicious mix was a little darker than the other two and had a less mottled surface (they’re the ones on the left). They all tasted fruity and sweet with a slightly wheaty finish.

The Berrilicious nuggets were sweet and brightly fruity and tasted like blueberry and strawberry jam. The flavors were deep and mellow.

The Orchard Sours started off tasting like a mild and sweet lemon drop before developing biting notes of pear and finishing with fuji apple sweetness. For some reason pear was the first ingredient in the fruit puree ingredient list – maybe because they’re cheaper?

Fruit Grove nuggets were sweet and had airy overtones of banana and applesauce. They finished by tasting like sweet orange juice.

I like these for snacking because their fruity flavors are so intense and powerful. That intensity makes them overwhelming if you eat too many at once (like I did while trying to figure out if each nugget was one fruit flavor or many), so moderation is cautioned. An OM.

Category: chewy, OM, organic, review | No Comments »

Bissinger’s Gummy Pandas – Pink Grapefruit with Grapeseed

December 17th, 2012 by Rosa

I’ve said many times on this blog that there aren’t enough grapefruit candies out in the world. There are, at least, Bissinger’s Gummy Pandas that come in pink grapefruit with grapeseed, which I bought at Whole Foods.

The bag makes all kinds of health claims: “made with organic sweeteners”, “natural sources of antioxidants” (from the grapeseed extract), and “great tasting and good for you”. Whole Foods in a nutshell, I’d say.

I’m always dubious about health claims made by highly processed foods. Do people really want their candy health-washed? Organic sugar is still sugar; it can still give you cavities and diabetes.

These were gummy pandas rather than gummi bears, but the panda part wasn’t so obvious. They had bigger eye spots, which just made them look surprised or myopic to me.

The deep pink pandas had a firm, bouncy chew, which is my favorite kind of gummi texture. They started off sweet with the underlying tanginess of a nicely ripe grapefruit.

Further chewing intensified the sweetness and added a mellow tartness. I missed grapefruit’s bitter edge of pithiness that Albanese’s version has, but these were still great in their own right.

I give them an OM, with the caveat that they are expensive gummies. Whole Foods premium!

Category: gummi/gummy, OM, organic, review | 1 Comment »

Trader Joe’s Organic Stone Ground 70% Cacao Extra Dark Chocolate

September 5th, 2012 by Rosa

These disks of Organic Stone Ground 70% Cacao Extra Dark Chocolate (what a mouthful!) caught my eye at Trader Joe’s. They looked suspiciously similar to Taza’s Mexicanos (previously reviewed here), and Trader Joe’s is known for unbranding and selling name-brand things at a discount.

The Trader Joe’s version was $3.99. Taza Mexicanos currently run just shy of $9 on Amazon but are only $4.50 on the Taza website. The size and shape of both versions are the same, and both contain two disks to a package.

Underneath the wrapper, the disks look pretty similar, with light wedge scoring that doesn’t quite reach the center. The Taza version is on my Flickr page, and the Trader Joe’s version is below.

The Trader Joe’s chocolate was described as “a traditional Mexican-style chocolate stone milled in small batches.” That’s a pretty good description of what Taza does.

Finally, the Trader Joe’s ingredients were just organic cocoa nibs and organic cane sugar. Looks just like Taza’s Cacao Puro to me. I’m going to go ahead and call it – they’re the same.

Mexican-style chocolate is a totally different texture sensation than American chocolates. The disks here snapped easily and cleanly along the scores, revealingly their granulated consistency.

The chocolate had a finely gritty texture that squeaked a little between my teeth but didn’t leave any sediment behind. It was sort of like what eating wet fine-grained sand is probably like, only far more delicious and pleasant.

It had an intoxicating woody scent. The flavors were cleanly sugary sweet and grassy with a fruity raisin flavor and ended with a slightly bitter/astringent cocoa bean finish.

With such simple ingredients, this was chocolate at its most pure! My only complaint was that the astringency lingered, so I kept breaking off more bits to try to wipe the astringency from my mouth. The disk disappeared more quickly that way!

The unadulterated flavors of this chocolate made it a great taste experience. An OM.

 

Category: chocolate, OM, organic, review, Trader Joe's | 3 Comments »

Guest Post: Zotter Mitzi Blue Nussmix (Nut Mix)

August 10th, 2012 by Neil

Here’s another great guest post from my ex-pat friend, Neil. Jealous that Zotter is so easy for him to get! ~Rosa

I didn’t even have to travel out of the country for this one! I found the Zotter Mitzi Blue Nussmix (“Nut mix”) in a new organic gourmet shop in town. I was looking for a cookware store, then discovered that the cookware had disappeared and food had gone in its place. Quite a surprise, but a welcome one.

The packaging made me think it was one of those world music CDs. Perhaps this was intentional. While the bar itself was a disc (is that geometrically possible?), the similarities ended there.

This fair trade, organic combination of hazelnuts, hazelnut nougat, cashew nougat, walnuts, and milk chocolate was a bit broken when I took it out of the packaging. This made the task of figuring out where to start that much easier. I was most intrigued by the center circle.

The milk chocolate of the main disc was very plain and light. While the surprisingly large nut chunks were distributed somewhat unevenly, they were tasty and added an appreciated varied texture.

It turned out that the center disc was cashew nougat! It broke off as though it would be crispy but was very pleasantly creamy. I wished the whole thing had been cashew nougat.

The predominantly boring milk chocolate really underwhelmed though, so I’ll give this whole piece an O. The company has a whole line of Mitzi Blues, so maybe I’ll track down some more. It’d give me an excuse to visit that delicious shop again…

Category: chocolate, European, fair trade, guest post, nuts, O, organic, review | 3 Comments »