Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Manuka Honey Chocolate Truffle Bar Review: I'll take a spoon of honey with that chocolate!

When I saw a chocolate bar labeled: 'Manuka Honey' at a local health food store, I was curious about it. So I purchased one of these chocolate truffle bars and I did a little research. Some of this research was tasting, of course, but I also learned a little about Manuka honey and why it might be promoted as a healthy ingredient to consume in chocolate. Here is what I discoverd, along with the chocolate bar details:

The Manuka Honey Chocolate Truffle Bar with 72% Cocoa Solids
ZibaDel Creations, Inc. (Vancouver, Canada)
Ingredients: Cocoa Mass*, evaporated cane sugar*, cocoa butter*, Manuka honey*, Beechwood honey*, Coconut Oil*, Himalayan Salt, Vanilla Powder*.
*Organic . May contain milk, tree nuts and peanuts.

Chocolate & Tasting Notes:

This chocolate was initially a bit different, with a strong upfront flavour that was earthy, bitter, sharp and definitively honey-flavoured. Manuka honey is a dark honey and said to have an earthy, oily or herbaceous flavour with floral elements (ref). But overall, I didn't mind the chocolate, and neither did my chocolate-loving four-year old son. In fact, I wish I had a second to keep for myself to discover all over again.  The centre was soft, as per the 'truffle' description, although it was not overly soft and smooth, like a smooth truffle in a high end chocolate shop might be.

If you follow a cane-sugar free diet, this unfortunately is not the chocolate for your, as it does contain some cane sugar.  Honey is not easy to acquire in crystal or powder form, so the chocolate used to make the Manuka honey truffle bar contains organic evaporated cane sugar.

The product overall is organic and the ingredients are natural, so if this is your lifestyle, give the product a try.

About Manuka Honey:

Manuka honey is included in the ingredients. So let's learn a little more about it.

Manuka honey is produced in New Zealand by bees that pollinate the native manuka bush (ref).  In addition to hydrogen peroxide, which is a natural component of honey, Manuka honey has other components that have antibacterial qualities, including methylglyoxal (MG), which has a higher concentration in Manuka honey and so, "the higher the concentration of MG, the stronger the antibiotic effect." (ref). Although the main use for Manuka honey is for treating minor wounds and burns, to reduce pain and inflammation (medical grade only), others use it to treat and prevent cancer, reduce high cholesterol, treat eye, ear and sinus infections and other health concerns.  Although there is little evidence to show it works on these problems.

Pure Manuka honey is also becoming difficult to acquire: it has become more popular recently and so many international producers are mis-labelling, counterfeiting or adulterating the honey with syrup (ref). ZibaDel claims to use 'Active Manuka honey' in their chocolate truffle bars, which means it should contain the antibacterial properties expected from the honey.

Beechwood honey is also included in the ingredients list, and you may be wondering why. As far as I can tell, it has a nice flavour, and it apparently has the richest mineral content of all honeys (including zinc, calcium, copper, iron, etc.). Beechwood honey is also low in glucose, and fructose, so it is slow to crystalize, which would help in stabilizing the 'truffle' part of the chocolate bar. Beechwood honey also comes from New Zealand, like Manuka honey. (ref)

About the Producer:

The company who makes this chocolate, ZibaDel Creations, also makes skin care products that contain Manuka honey and they sell pure wild-harvested Manuka Oil Extract to treat a range of skin conditions.  Clearly this is a company devoted to Manuka honey as a healthy living food.

Other chocolate truffle bars offered by the company include a milk chocolate enrobed bar with 37% cocoa solids, and 55% dark chocolate bars, which may be for those who find over 70% chocolate too bitter. They also sell a mint dark chocolate Manuka honey bar. You can purchase ZibaDel's chocolate in a local health food store (I bought mine at Paris Natural Foods in Sudbury, Ontario) or online by the case on Zibadel's website.

Please note: I have not been enticed in any way or paid to write about this product. I simply purchased it at a local health food store without the knowledge of the company who creates it (now don't get me wrong, I accept samples any time you want to send them to me, but I did not receive any this time!).


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