Thursday, November 4, 2010

Green Chocolate

I am not talking about environmentally friendly chocolate, as my title today suggests.  I am eating chocolate with green leafy things in it - mint and kale to be exact! Sound gross?  Read on...

So the weather has been dreary and colder and it feels like that time of year to add more mint to my diet to give me that warm and fuzzy feeling.  Some people may think of mint as "icy" or "refreshing", but for me mint means winter time and sipping on minty hot chocolates in cozy cafe's. To me, mint also is a whole box of After Eights while lying on the couch with hot milk in December just before Christmas (it's an annual tradition).  So today I thought I'd compare three specialty mint chocolate bars, two of which are organic:

-Green & Blacks Organic MINT "Dark Chocolate with a soft mint centre", 70% cocoa solids in shell
-Dolfin The Art of Blending "Dark Chocolate with Mint Leaves", 52% cocoa solids
-Cocoa Camino Organic MINT, 67% cocoa solids

So here is the low-down.  If you want a good organic one, I like the Cocoa Camino bar best over the G&B's bar.  It is mintier and has little crunchy peppermint crisps in it.  That doesn't mean that I don't like the Green & Blacks, but the centre is clear gooey sugar (organic glucose syrup) and it just a bit weird for me.  HOWEVER, I've eaten half the 100 gram G&B mint bar, so it must not be so bad! But, if you are the type of person who, like me, likes that refreshing mint flavour that you get from an After Eight, but want to change things up, go for the Cocoa Camino bar.


If you prefer the flavour of real mint leaves (which is more like food than dessert to me), then go for the Dolfin.  It's grittier because there are little bits of mint leaves and their stems in it, so it's hard to tell how smooth the chocolate is, but it's a nice bitter treat. 

If it's cold outside and you want to warm up with a home-made extra rich mint hot chocolate, melt down the Cocoa Camino Mint bar. The CC bar is mintier than the other two, it has more chocolate than the G&B's bar so your hot chocolate will be richer, and the peppermint crisps may add that peppermint punch to the drink.

Look at the bottom of this post for the stats on these three bars (e.g. websites, ingredients, etc.).
 

Now onto the other "green" item...

The thing about me is: I will try any and every new chocolate flavour.  So when I was at a chocolate & confections show last weekend, I bought a bag of Chocolate Kale, by Blue Mountain Organics in Virginia.  It sounds yucky, and after tasting it just now, well...it is yucky. The first bite was okay, and I liked it initially.  However, after a few pieces the taste became grosser and grosser.  At first I thought this was a really healthy snack, but now I am not sure it is a snack I want to eat!
The good points about the Chocolate Kale is:
-it's raw (raw food is supposed to be better for you with less processing so the nutrients stay within the food)
-it's organic
-it's vegan
-it's kosher
-the other ingredients are healthy

The problem is that the chocolate has been created by the manufacturer from some strange ingredients.  From what I can tell of the ingredients, there is more cocoa butter than cocoa powder, just coconut sugar to sweeten and some vanilla bean for flavour.  So it needs more real chocolate with more sweetness to offset the harsh flavour of the kale.  Don't get me wrong, Kale is exceptionally good for you.  But together with chocolate - I'm just not into it. Plus, there are a few long, hard kale stems in it, which make it seem like I might be chewing on tree twigs.

Here is the info, in case you are interested in trying it, despite my poor review: 

Earth CHIPS Chocolate Kale, 3oz package
Manufacturer: Blue Mountain Organics, Floyd, VA, U.S.A. 
www.earthchips.net
Ingredients: kale, cashews, coconut sugar, coconut flakes, chia seeds, cacao butter, cacao powder, coconut oil, vanilla bean. Non-GMO, vegan, raw and organic.  Produced in a peanut-free, soy-free, and dairy-free facility.

Here are the stats on the above-mentioned mint bars:

Green & Blacks Organic MINT "Dark Chocolate with a soft mint centre", 100 grams, 70% cocoa solids in shell
Ingredients: organic cocoa liquor, organic raw cane sugar, water, fatreduced cocoa powder, organic glucose syrup, prganic invert syrup, organic cocoa butter, organic alcohol, invertase, organic peppermint oil, vanilla extract, organic whole milk powder. 
Made in Italy. Produced by Green & Blacks Ltd. London, England. www.green&blacks.com Organic certification by: IT-QCI.

Dolfin The Art of Blending "Dark Chocolate with Mint Leaves", 70 grams, 52% cocoa solids
Ingredients: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, mint leaves, natural vanilla, soya lecithin. This product can contain traces of nuts and milkprotein. Made in Belgium. 
www.dolfin.be

Cocoa Camino Organic MINT, 100 grams, 67% cocoa solids
Ingredients: Cocoa mass, golden cane sugar, cocoa butter, peppermint crisps (cane sugar, peppermint oil), whole cane sugar, ground vanilla beans. Fair Trade certified.  May contain ttaces of nuts, peanuts, soy and dairy products. Certified organic by QAI.  All ingredients organic except "peppermint oil".  La Siembra Co-operative, Ottawa, ON, Canada.  Made in Switzerland.  
www.cocoacamino.com

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