December 7th, 2011 by Rosa
sweetriot recently sent me free samples of their new line of chocolate riotBars. Before the riotBar additions, they sold chocolate in unBars, which were in thick, unwieldy blocks. I have an unBar that’s been kicking around my stash for a while. I’ve yet to open it because it seemed so cumbersome to eat.
sweetriot is also known for their cacao nibs, which I reviewed ages ago. It’s nice to see that a chocolate company committed to using fair trade cacao has prospered over the years.
Today, I’m reviewing the pure 60% dark chocolate with crunchy cacao nibs. Friday I’ll review the pure 70% and pure 85% dark chocolate bars.
The 100g bar was lightly scored into a 10 x 3 grid. Each rectangle of chocolate had 20 calories, which is a nice nod to portion control, except the scoring was too shallow to be that helpful for clean breaking.
The chocolate had a thick, sharp snap. If you look closely, you can see a nib in the break line. Those nibs added a nice, dry crunch with minimal grittiness and astringency. The chocolate had a lovely, matte melt around the nibs.
The chocolate was sweet and fruity with middle cherry notes and a vibrant cocoa finish. I appreciated the distinct and assertive flavor complexity.
I really enjoyed the texture of the nibs mixed with the chocolate. It made from fun chomping and yielded great, varying chocolate flavors. An OM.
Category: chocolate, fair trade, OM, organic, review |
September 21st, 2011 by Rosa
I’d never heard of The Tea Room brand of chocolate bars until I saw a bunch of them at Cost Plus World Market. Having already filled my basket with candies, I restricted myself to the one bar that sounded most appealing to me: Honeybush Caramel.
The bar is described on the box as, “exquisite milk chocolate infused with a honeybush tea of mildly sweet caramel and honey undertones.” The base of the bar was a 38% organic milk chocolate.
The chocolate was soft with no snap. It melted thickly, coating my tongue, and had just a hint of grain that marred its smoothness.
It had the promised caramel notes as well as a slightly tannic edge of tea. The chocolate was sweet, but not too sweet, with orange zest undertones to the finish.
I really enjoyed this bar. It was a well done basic milk chocolate bar with just enough of a twist to make it interesting. An OM.
Category: chocolate, OM, organic, review |
September 14th, 2011 by Rosa
On Monday, I covered the Angell Crisp bar. Today, I’ll review its darker (but still fair trade and organic) counterpart, the Dark Angell. It was comprised of “dark chocolate, rich cocoa, and [an] almond center.”
I’ll give it style points for the name, which conjures up an expectation of sinful deliciousness. Unfortunately, the bar fell short of my expectations.
My bar showed a hint of bloom, but it wasn’t enough to have a noticeable impact on the taste or texture. The thin dark chocolate shell was brighter and fruitier than the milk chocolate of the Angell Crisp, which actually made the dark chocolate seem sweeter. The dark also had diminished cocoa flavors compared the milk.
The filling was a mix of crushed almonds and a chocolate ganache that tasted like the same chocolate of the shell. The almonds were mostly smashed to gritty smithereens, though I did come across at least one slightly larger chunk (visible in the below photo) that managed to retain some toothiness.
The almonds lacked crunch. Instead, they were almost chewy, like they’d gone stale or simply taken on moisture. Perhaps the small bits had too high a surface area to volume ratio? They brought minimal nuttiness and instead served to dry out the bar and its mouthfeel.
I liked the chocolate component to this bar, but it went all wrong with the almonds. Those nuts were broken into too small pieces and lost everything that’s great about nuts in chocolate: the added flavor and crunch factor were gone. A missed opportunity and an O.
Category: chocolate, fair trade, nuts, O, organic, review |
September 12th, 2011 by Rosa
I found this Angell Crisp bar in a food co-op in NYC. On Wednesday, I’ll review the Dark Angel version. The Angell Crisp wrapper promised, “milk chocolate; crispy creamy chocolate center”, all wrapped up in an organic and fair trade candy bar.
My first impression upon biting into this bar was, “Hmm… It tastes good for you.” It had this strange, almost vegetal edge to the flavor of the chocolate and a wholesome heaviness to the crisps. Neither was bad; just different.
It was impossible to tell where the chocolate shell ended and the creamy chocolate center began. The bar melted in my fingers, making for an annoying photo shoot.
The chocolate tasted almost throat-burningly sweet, despite its dark appearance. As I said before, it had a strange edge to it that reminded me of vegetables – beets maybe? – and a chocolate syrup finish.
The rice crisps had a stale mouthfeel and reminded me of puffed wheat cereal. They didn’t have a dry crisp that dissolved into airiness. Instead, they chewed up with a bit of texture to it, perhaps because they were made of brown rice.
It was an okay, if rather wholesome feeling treat. I finished off the whole bar, but I don’t think I’d buy it again, especially since the bars were $2 each. An O.
Category: chocolate, fair trade, O, organic, review |
May 2nd, 2011 by Rosa
I got to try this Green and Black’s Peanut bar as a free sample from the company. They also sent along a Toffee and 70% Dark bar, but I’ve already reviewed those, so just the Peanut today.
The wrapper calls it “milk chocolate with caramelized peanuts and a hint of sea salt” and bills the cocoa content at 37%.
The milk chocolate base is thick and lightly nutty with caramel notes. The peanuts are slightly salty. The caramelization is quite nice and adds a sweet burnt sugar note to the peanuts’ flavor.
I wasn’t a big fan of the texture of the peanuts. They’re soft nuts with a relatively mushy texture, and here they blend right into the texture of the chocolate and makes it slightly drier.
All in all, a fine bar but not exactly my thing (I’m not a huge fan of peanuts). An O.
If you’d like to try them yourself, Green and Black’s is letting me give some bars away to one lucky reader in honor of Mother’s Day. That’s this Sunday for you U.S. readers! Leave a comment about how you celebrate Mother’s Day by 11:59 PM EST on Saturday, May 7th, and I’ll choose one random commenter to win. U.S. readers only please, and make sure to leave a valid email address in the e-mail field.
Category: chocolate, giveaway, Green & Black's, nuts, O, organic, review |
6 Comments »
April 8th, 2011 by Rosa
These miniature Green and Black’s bars came in my Chocolate Gift Pack, courtesy of the NCA. We’ll start with the Dark 70%.
Both bars were lightly scored into 12 rectangular segments, each prettily imprinted with Green and Black’s apostrophe/leaf logo.
The Dark 70% was simply described as “dark chocolate with 70% cocoa content.” It had incredibly deep burnt coffee notes and a strong earthy intensity.
I enjoyed the start, but the finish was rather chalky and lightly astringent. If it weren’t for that lingering unpleasantness, it would merit an OM. With the finish that it does have, an O.
The Toffee was described as “milk chocolate with toffee.” The milk chocolate on its own was only so-so. It was grainy and lacked any thickness to the melt.
The toffee was what really made this treat. It had a great crunch and a clean cleave. Strong notes of butterscotch candy (think Brach’s discs) were tempered with a slight sourness and saltiness that really brought out the toffee notes.
This was quite enjoyable. Not nearly as delicious as Vosges’s take on milk chocolate and toffee, but definitely far cheaper and decently delicious for the dinero. An OM.
Category: chocolate, Green & Black's, O, OM, organic, review, toffee |
March 28th, 2011 by Rosa
I bought two Tom and Sally’s 100% Organic Skinny Bars at a little chocolate shop near the Berkshires in Massachusetts. I tried to look up more about them, but Google seems to think there’s something scary about their website.
First up, a Belgian 41% milk chocolate infused with cocoa nibs. The chocolate was dark for a milk bar and scored into 6 even sections.
It had a weird plasticky, moldy undertone that was rather off-putting. The melt was mostly smooth, except where it was broken up with the crunch of the cocoa nibs.
While I wanted to like this bar for its organic-label, the chocolate was far from scrumptious, thanks to that weird undertone. An O.
The other bar was a Belgian 41% milk chocolate infused with cinnamon and nutmeg.
It smelled amazing! Sweet with the undertone of cinnamon spice. I wanted to mix it into tea and drink it up.
Unfortunately, the heavy spice scent was the result of an overly spiced bar. The strong presence of spices made the chocolate extremely gritty and astringent.
I found it unpalatable and couldn’t manage a second bite. A –.
Category: --, chocolate, O, organic, review |
2 Comments »
March 21st, 2011 by Rosa
It’s not every day that you run into chocolate with mushrooms, so I just had to pick up this Vosges Organic Enchanted Mushroom. Even if it did cost a bit more than regular Vosges bars (already expensive) because of its organic-ness.
This bar was comprised of Reishi mushrooms, walnuts, and 66% dark chocolate. Its texture was lightly gritty, which I attributed to the Reishi mushroom powder. I didn’t notice any textural contribution from the walnuts, though they did add a light nuttiness.
The chocolate tasted dark and woodsy with a strong fruitiness and a lightly astringent finish. I got strong flavors of sweet, genuine, Ceylon cinnamon, though it wasn’t in the ingredients list.
It was unusual and interesting but not tasty enough for me to want to buy it again. An O.
Category: chocolate, nuts, O, organic, review, Vosges |
January 5th, 2011 by Rosa
I got back to Rochester after being home for the holidays and was pleasantly surprised to find a free sample of Salazon‘s newest bar, Organic Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt and Crushed Organic Coffee, waiting for me in my mailbox.
I originally reviewed them when they first debuted a year ago. I just saw them for sale at a Central Market in Austin. It was nice to see that they’re doing well and have made it to market.
The bar smelled strongly of lovely roasted coffee. Like Salazon’s other bars, the additions – in this case, sea salt and crushed coffee bits – blanket the underside of the bar rather than being incorporated into the chocolate. The effect is quite pretty.
The texture of the bar was a nice mix of smooth, melting chocolate and the crunchy coffee and sea salt bits. The salt adds sudden flashes of sweet and sour. The coffee is neither overpowering or bitter, and the effect is that of a cafe mocha.
It reminded me of a Starbucks Frappuccino, with that diluted milky coffee taste. I found it to be a tad sweeter than what would be my ideal. I wanted a little more rich, roastiness.
Still, it was a great addition to the Salazon lineup. An O.
Category: chocolate, O, organic, review |
December 15th, 2010 by Rosa
On Monday, I reviewed two of my four free sample bars of Fearless Chocolate. Today, I’ll wrap things up with my review of their Super Seeds Hemp Chia Flax and their Sweet & Hot Hibiscus Ginger.
It really doesn’t sound any health fad crunchier than “Hemp Chia Flax.” This 70% raw organic bar was studded with the three seeds.
The seeds added a textural crunch to the sharp snap of the bar. They bring a light mild nuttiness to the bar and tamp down the fruitier side of the chocolate. Here it mostly of deep cocoa with light hints of sweetness.
I enjoyed the flavors and texture of this bar. Like the others in the line-up, there’s a bit more astringency to the finish, but I think that comes with the raw territory. An OM.
Sweet & Hot smelled overwhemingly of ground ginger with an undertone of sweetness. It tasted just like it smelled, with a few brightly sweet and sour flashes, and had a slight grit to its texture.
It had the most astringent finish of them all, which lingered so long that it needed a chaser to displace it.
I enjoy gingerbread, and ginger is a star of the Asian cuisine I grew up eating, but this was too much ginger spice for me. An O.
Fearless Chocolate has a lot going for it. The packaging is smart, and it fills a niche with tasty, well-made chocolate, with the plain Dark as Midnight bar being my favorite. They’re definitely one to watch for the future.
Category: chocolate, O, OM, organic, review |