Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Raspberries and dark chocolate - the best flavour combination! Godiva, Theobroma and Cocoa Camino have gotten it right...

I'm very excited about the chocolate bars that I am going to taste today.  Raspberries and dark chocolate...Mmmmmmmmm.  My business product line includes quite a few raspberry/dark chocolate desserts because I like it so much, and so do my customers (I can't keep raspberry and dark chocolate tarts in stock!).

I am tasting two raspberry/dark chocolate bars today that are both manufactured by Canadian companies and are certified organic: Theobroma Raspberry Chunks (60% cocoa) 35 gram bar and Cocoa Camino's new Raspberries Dark Chocolate (65% cocoa) 100 gram bar.  They are very similar bars, with the differences being the Theobroma bar is one-third the size of the Cocoa Camino bar and itv is not fair trade, as like the Cocoa Camino's chocolate bar.  I am also going to be tasting Godiva Chocolatier Dark Chocolate filled with Raspberry 43 gram bar today, just to see how it compares to the two organic bars.

When I conduct a chocolate tasting session, I love to introduce people to raspberry-flavoured chocolate. Everyone is always amazed at how real raspberries and chocolate taste so much better than chocolate with artificial raspberry flavouring.  What makes a difference in identifying real raspberries versus flavouring are the seeds.  You will instantly know that real raspberries were used in the chocolate if you are left chewing seeds once the chocolate has melted.  That is the case with both the Theobroma bar and the Cocoa Camino bar.  Sure, the seeds may bother your teeth, but at least you know that the stuff you are eating is real!

So now to my tasting of the first two bars at hand.  Initially, when I tasted them against each other this morning, I didn't like the Cocoa Camino bar in comparison to the Theobroma bar. I think that is because the Theobroma bar is sweeter at 60% cocoa solids, instead of 65%, which the Cocoa Camino bar has. So I decided that, to be fair, I would wait several hours to re-taste the Cocoa Camino bar on it's own. And now I LOVE it!  It is a little bitter and tastes nearly like a 70% dark bar, but the real chunks of raspberries are a nice fit with the chocolate they have used.  The bitterness of the chocolate suits the bitterness (sourness?) of the unsweetened raspberries very well.  Although it is not real smooth chocolate, it is very tasty.  It has real ground vanilla beans and it also has no soy lecithin for those who need to stay away from soy.

So if you like the bitterness of a 70% dark chocolate, and want a simple addition of some raspberries to your chocolate, then the recently launched Cocoa Camino Raspberries bar is a great choice for you.

Now if you like your dark chocolate a little sweeter, then the Theobroma bar is for you.  It is also not very smooth because it has chunks of freeze-dried raspberries and their seeds in it, but the raspberry flavour bursts into your mouth as you eat it. I know a lot of people who are addicted to this particular chocolate bar and believe it is the best of the Theobroma line.  I am in agreement of that.  I like all the Theobroma 35 gram bars (partially because of their flavour choices and partially because of their portion-controlled size), but the Theobroma Raspberry Chinks bar is the one I buy the most.

If you like your chocolate and raspberries really, really sweet and don't care much about organic or fair trade, then go for a Godiva Dark Chocolate filled with Raspberry 43 gram bar.  If you have never tried this chocolate bar, but you like this flavour combination, then it is time you pull out your wallet and indulge.  It is expensive (around $3.99 Canadian) but so worth it.  This chocolate bar used to be my basis point for comparing all raspberry chocolate bars.  I thought nothing could ever match it.  Until I tried the Theobroma bar, and now I have two basis points.  I compare all bars with raspberry filling to the Godiva bar, and all other bars with raspberry pieces to the Theobroma bar.

The issues I have with Godiva though are this:
-there is high fructose corn syrup in the bar (not good for our health!)
-the dark chocolate is very sweet (which you may like, but I prefer it a bit darker)
-there are additional ingredients that I don't think are necessary (i.e. butter oil, sodium benzoate, etc.)
-the price is very high
-it is not organic or fair trade
-there is no mention of the type of cocoa beans used or % of cocoa solids in the chocolate

However, I do recommend this bar because Godiva has used real raspberries to flavour it, and the combination of raspberry filling and chocolate match so well that it creates a wonderful flavour explosion for your taste buds.  It is the type of bar that you should open in your car after a long day of shopping or working. Just before you start your cars engine, take a moment to sit back, close your eyes and pop a piece into your mouth. As you let it melt, chew a little and start to taste the flavours, and you will instantly feel the energy coming back into your body. 

That's it for today - I've eaten all the chocolate any one person should in a day!

I bought the Theobroma and Cocoa Camino bars at Loco Beanz Coffee House in Little Current, Ontario (Manitoulin Island) and I bought the Godiva bar at Chapters book store in Sudbury, Ontario - they are available at all Chapters stores in Ontario from what I can tell. If you want to find these chocolates in your region, here is the information on all three chocolate bars that I tasted today:

Theobroma chocolat Raspberry Chunks, Organic with 60% cacao, 35 g
Vigneault Chocolatier Ltee, Quebec, Canada
http://www.theobromachocolat.com/
Ingredients: cocoa mass*, sugar cane*, cocoa butter*, raspberry*, soy lecithin.  Allergens: contains soybean and may contain nuts and dairy products. *organic (certified organic by Ecocert Canada)

Cocoa Camino Raspberries Dark Chocolate, 65% cacao, 100 g (3.5 oz)
La Siembra Co-Operative, Ottawa, Canada
http://www.tasteofcamino.com/
Organic Ingredients: cocoa mass*, golden cane sugar*, cacao butter*, whole cane sugar*, raspberries, ground vanilla beans*. *Fair Trade certified. Minimum 65% cacao.  May contain traces of nuts, peanuts, soy and dairy products. Chocolate made in Switzerland.

Godiva Chocolatier Dark Chocolate filled with Raspberry, 43 g (1.5 oz)
Godiva Chocolatier, Inc. New York, NY USA
http://www.godiva.com/
Ingredients: bittersweet chocolate (chocolate liquor (processed with alkali) sugar, cocoa butter, butter oil, soy lecithin (emulsifier), natural flavor, milk), raspberries, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, natural flavoring, raspberry juice, citric acid, sodium benzoate (to protect flavor), invertase, pectinase. May contain tree nuts. Manufactured on equipment that also processes peanuts and wheat.

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