Wednesday, April 30, 2014

May Your Month be Filled with Chocolate 2014

The title says "month" not "mouth" though you are welcomed to use any of these holidays and fun food dates to celebrate by putting our Sacred Substance into your mouth just remember: Moderation and Purposefulness!

May = National Chocolate Custard Month; National Mental Health Month; National Egg Month

May 1 = National Chocolate Parfait Day -- I made chocolate parfaits last year to try out a pudding recipe book, remember?  If not you can find it here.

May 2 = National Truffle Day

May 5 = National Chocolate Custard Day; Cinco de Mayo

May 11 = National Eat What You Want Day

May 12 = National Nutty Fudge Day -- I love fudge with nuts especially walnuts but sadly with my husband's allergies I can't make this so I may have to find a small piece somewhere to just celebrate on my own.  If you think your nutty fudge can make the cut, let me know in a comment below but please no links to your company or I'll need to delete the comment.  If your nutty fudge wants a feature, send me an email.

May 14 = World Fair Trade Day; National Buttermilk Biscuit Day; we had a cocoa buttermilk recipe a while back that you can find here

May 15 = National Chocolate Chip Day; also the birthday of Coenraad Johannes van Houten (1801) who treated cocoa mass with alkaline salts to reduce the bitter flavor, a process still called “Dutch” to this day; his father created the cocoa press

May 19 = National Devil’s Food Cake Day

May 24, 1836 = birthday of Joseph Rowntree, Chocolatier and Philanthropist

May 29 = National Biscuit Day

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Rainforests and Chocolate Barks

May is fast approaching and there are a lot of May month-long "holidays" including Rainforest Awareness Month.  Why should you care about rainforests?  In honor of this month we are going to look at two chocolate barks from XOXO Chocolates -- their Rainforest Bark and their Dark Almond Bark.  Before get to that I want to mention that also in May we'll be doing an article on the problem with palm oil something you may notice on the ingredients list on candy bars and sadly even on "fine chocolate" even though chocolate has a natural fat ingredient called cocoa butter that can be used right from the same tree and the same beans.  I'll really want to read your comments when we do that post but today please leave a comment to let us and XOXO Chocolates know what you think about the products we tested and revealed to you today.

We'll start with the Rainforest Bark that our Fruit Acolyte tested.  The Rainforest Bark is very attractive, with white chocolate drizzled over the dark. The portion is hefty! There are no scores on the bar to help break it up into more manageable pieces to you just have to snap some off.


The smell is very much a dark chocolate with fruity notes. The chocolate has a nice snap when biting into it. The chocolate itself melts almost instantly on the tongue to a grainy syrup that leaves a floral aftertaste. It's not too sweet, which is exactly what I want from a dark chocolate. The texture is definitely grainy. The dried fruit scattered throughout provides some textural variety but its flavor is overwhelmed by the dark chocolate. I couldn't differentiate the white from the dark chocolate, so the white drizzles are basically for decoration only.  I wouldn't be able to tell you exactly what kind of fruit it is without looking at the box. Most of it is chewy and orange so I'd guess mango but the fruit really doesn't hold its own flavor-wise. There's a LOT of chocolate here and very little fruit in comparison.

I'm only able to eat a couple of bites; the chocolate is heavy and leaves a syrupy mouthfeel that doesn't make me want more anytime soon. A bar this big would literally last me a month.

I'm not exactly sure why it's called "Rainforest" bark. Is it "rainforest-friendly" cacao? The fruit is a hodgepodge that includes cranberries, strawberries, and raisins. The chocolatiers might want to stick to pineapple, mango, and papaya specifically and bump up the quantity. Having tasted it, as a person who prefers a high fruit:chocolate ratio, I wouldn't buy it.

The Dark Almond Bark is made primarily with dark chocolate and almonds with white chocolate drizzled over it all made from simple ingredients without additives.  Your Chocolate Acolyte tried it with one other friend.  This comes in redbox like the previous bark and weighs in at 8oz.  You can see the whole almonds under the dark and milk chocolate.  It has a strong dark cocoa scent but also a creamy white chocolate one.  Breaking it into pieces to share made a loud snap yet it was easy to do.  Taking a bite makes a slightly softer sound. Immediately my mouth is flood with a nice blend of bitter dark chocolate and the sweet, creamy white chocolate.  The almonds are not salted or covered in any coating and I really liked just having their basic meatiness there as a counter to the sweet and bitter flavors.  This was excellent, I'd gladly eat it again and again.

There is our first view of XOXO Chocolates.  They don't have a walk-in store at their headquarters in Las Vegas but you can find them and their creations online.  We have several more products left to tell you about, Sisters and Brothers, so please let us know if you liked this report today.  Today our bark report was a mixed bag; I really loved the Dark Almond Bark (I'd say Sacrament worthy) but our Acolyte who tested the Rainforest Bark thought the fruit just didn't stand out enough. Consider our words and decide if you'd like to try these barks yourself.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

World Book Night Chocolate Style

1st two Pages of ebook Copy
"World Book Night" is today, Wednesday, April 23, 2014, so in honor of that I want to share the book Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate by Doreen Pendgracs whom we interviewed last year.  I was sent a copy of this 391 page ebook for this review and I read it using the iBook program so please keep in mind that how it may look on your ereader may not be the same.  I will include some screenshots to demonstrate the book.

The book has 14 chapters in all. The first three are introductions to what chocolate is, supposed health benefits of chocolate, and different types of chocolate companies.  Chapters 4-10, seven chapters in all, focus on Pendgracs experiences with chocolate in specific countries -- Belgium, France, Holland, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK.  The final four chapters look at events, recipes, awards, and a list of the fine chocolate companies the author has encountered during her travels. Let's look at these chapters one at a time, Sisters and Brothers.

Chapter 1 has a good basic introduction to cacao tree farming though it focuses on Peru, Ecuador, and St. Lucia in the West Indies which are only a few of the areas of the world where cacao beans are grown but since this is volume one I expect future volumes will consider other locations for cacao farming such as Asia and Africa. Furthermore while these three locations are certainly not the only areas where cocoa farming happens I appreciate Pendgracs limiting her writing to those that she has personal experience with.  Anyone could research a book about chocolate but Chocolatour is about her journeys around the world learning about it so it needs to be limited in this fashion. Pendgracs' background as a travel writer shines here through her descriptions of the travel to these farms, the work done there, and the various challenges each farm is facing.  This chapter is a realistic view of the industry at ground level.

Chapter 2 about the health benefits of chocolate is my least favorite chapter in the book because it buys into the promotion of the industry versus questioning the studies that keep coming out. There is also a focus on women's relationship with chocolate ignoring men's love of chocolate and the fact that both men and women can be cursed with an allergy to chocolate. Chocolate as we make it and commonly buy it is not what is shown to be healthy in study after study and we need to be honest about this if we are to truly understand and appreciate chocolate using it in the best way that we can.

Chapter 3 looks at six "personalities" of chocolate and some of the companies that Pendgracs has interacted with that produce chocolate with these personalities -- Sophisticated, Elegant; Exotic, Sensual; Playful, Adventurous; Innovative, Intellectual; Purist, Traditional; and Multiple. Each type section begins with a list of basic criteria then a set of chocolate companies that make chocolate within that type.  What would be a very useful addition to this chapter would be advice on how to figure out what personality you yourself have i regard to chocolate or how various events might be added with chocolate of these types.  Just because you think you are intellectual may not mean that that type is best for your family gathering or what you need post a rough day at work.

Chapter 4 takes us to Belgium.  Each of these country focused chapters is geared toward helping us learn about chocolate opportunities if you were to visit the nation in question. What have you heard about Belgium chocolate other than that the word on cocoa canisters and chocolate bars that are trying to convince you to buy them?  Belgium has a lot of chocolate shops and the vast majority craft their products so Pendgracs urges us to try a lot of them but of course I'd urge you to do so in moderation as well.  She looks at the cities of Brussels, Florenville, and Li├Ęge in particular and examines the Museum of Cocoa and Chocolate, the Grand Place, and several noteworthy chocolate shops.  If you get this in ebook form the links will take you to websites about each so you can check them out.  This is one of the best things about non-fiction ebooks in my opinion and Pendgracs uses this feature well.
Chapter 5 looks into the romance of France and the tradition of chocolate making there in the past and today.  Just like the previous chapter she looks at specific highlights in Paris, the region of Provence, and Marseilles.  Just like in the previous chapter each chocolatier is described in terms of history, taste, and offerings including whether or not they give out free samples.  Each chapter is concluded with a set of "fun facts" for the country in question.

Chapter 6 takes us to Holland where I must confess I had no strong positive or negative chocolate impressions.  Pendgracs tells us that Dutch chocolate is known to be very sweet but that she also found darker chocolates and less sweet chocolates are starting to gain in popularity there.  I know some folks who hate bitterness so perhaps they can take her suggestions and descriptions here to find the perfect chocolate for them.  However this chapter is much shorter and really only looks at Amsterdam and four shops there.  Is that because chocolatiers are not as widespread in Holland as elsewhere in Europe?  We also don't get as much about the history of chocolate in the country so this was a bit disappointing.

Chapter 7 sees Pendgracs in Italy and we've featured a few different brands of Italian chocolate in the past so I read this chapter with hope plus I've lived in Italy but at the time wasn't really interested in chocolate -- shocking I know, Sisters and Brothers.  There are two tiers of chocolate in Italy -- that mass made for export and that made for local consumption. Rome, Turin, the region of Tuscany, and Pisa. Each of these has several noteworthy chocolate shops making me very sad that I didn't look into chocolate more when I lived in Rome for two full semesters.  The "fun facts" in this chapter list several chocolate festivals you might want to plan your trip around.

Chapter 8 turns to Spain where chocolate entered the European consciousness with explorations of South American centuries ago. The focus is on two cities Madrid and Barcelona and the shops and chocolate museums you'll find during your trip.  What was particularly disappointing for me in this chapter is the lack of historical information given that Spain was in many ways the chocolate gateway for Europe.  Perhaps mentioning the museums, all of which focus on the history, seems like enough but a few more sentences would have been ideal for me as a historian.

One of my friends who helps us out here on The Chocolate Cult when we have alcohol infused chocolates visits Switzerland about every year and most of the time she brings your Chocolate Priestess a piece of Swiss chocolate. Chapter 9 takes me further into this world I wanted to learn more about.  Switzerland like Belgium has chocolate shops all over the place but this chapter really only looks at Zurich then at several notable chocolate companies around the country.  Traditional creamy Swiss chocolate still seems the most popular but darker versions are also growing much as in Holland.

Chapter 10 takes us to the UK and again we've tried a few brands of British chocolate though this chapter goes into the fuller ethnic picture of the treats and desserts created there.  British chocolate is generally considered lower quality but Pendgracs reports that in the past five years "new British chocolate" is crafting better and better treats.  Instead of focusing on cities this chapter looks at specific chocolatiers and shops in England and then in other UK countries.

Chapter 11 samples some of the events and attractions associated with chocolate that Pendgracs has discovered and visited during her trips.  This repeats much of the same information from the earlier chapters but does expand as well.  It is organized by country and leaves Europe to include events and locations in North, Central, and South America, Africa, and Asia where the love of and the creation of chocolate is expanding rapidly.



Chapter 12 offers three recipes which was far less than I expected.  She goes into some detail about how you can pair chocolate with wines, beers, teas, and coffees along with several restaurants and chocolatiers who specialize in pairing our Sacred Substance up with these drinks.

Chapter 13 is not a description of various awards that are given for chocolate around the world. Instead it is Pendgracs' listing of the best that she'd tested from around the world not just the European countries she focuses on here.  I think this chapter would have been better in the next volume after Pendgracs has taken us on more chocolate journeys around the world.

Chapter 14 offers definitions of chocolate related terms as well as collects the names and a brief description of the chocolate companies that Pendgracs has tested and visited.  This isn't an exhaustive list and you'll need to see her chapters and future volumes to get a deeper understanding of each one.  These are listed alphabetically by the company name.  In the ebook form a website for any of these would have been a great edition.

We've been honored over the past several years to test and feature chocolate from some of the companies found in this book including Aequare Fine Chocolates, Askinosie Chocolate, Cocoa Nymph, DOVE, Endangered Species Chocolate, Ghirardelli Chocolate, Guittard Chocolate Company, Kallari Chocolate, Lindt, Marou, TCHO Chocolate,Theo Chocolate, and Xocai. Clearly we have a lot of chocolate left to test and reveal to you all but until then Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate can be purchased from several sites in paperback and ebook format.  Click on the links below to find yours.


Amazon Paperback Version:

You can also get it directly from Doreen, the author, at her website.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter 2014 Recall

Luckily this particular chocolate recalled has nothing to do with Easter candy which many of you may be giving or receiving today.  This one again is just simply a matter of an ingredient being left off of the label. If you don't have this allergen concern, don't freak and ask yourself if you do really need to return this or just note in your mind that it has milk in it.


Consumer Contact: 1-888-343-3278

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - April 14, 2014 - HEALTH MATTERS AMERICA INC. of Cheektowaga, New York is recalling specific lots of ORGANIC TRADITIONS BRAND DARK CHOCOLATE GOLDEN BERRIES AND DARK CHOCOLATE SACHA INCHI SEEDS because they were found to contain undeclared milk. People who have an allergy to milk run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.

ORGANIC TRADITIONS BRAND DARK CHOCOLATE GOLDEN BERRIES AND DARK CHOCOLATE SACHA INCHI SEEDS were distributed through retail stores in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oakland, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

The recall applies to 3.5 oz. (100 g) and 5.3 oz. (150 g) consumer size bags as follows:

ORGANIC TRADITIONS DARK CHOCOLATE GOLDEN BERRIES Lot number:

CACAOXPSWEETZZGBEBLK001-12

CACAOXPSWEETZZGBEBLK001-13

Bag Size:
NET WT. 3.5 oz. UPC 8 54260 00263 8

NET WT. 5.3 oz. UPC 8 54260 00266 9
ORGANIC TRADITIONS DARK CHOCOLATE SACHA INCHI SEEDS Lot numbers:

CACAOXPSWEETZZDSIBLK001-12

CACAOXPSWEETZZSIBLK 001-13

Bag Size:

NET WT. 3.5 oz. UPC 8 54260 00709 1

NET WT. 5.3 oz. UPC 8 54260 00718 3


No illnesses have been reported to date.

The recall was initiated after it was discovered by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) that ORGANIC TRADITIONS DARK CHOCOLATE GOLDEN BERRIES had tested positive for milk and was distributed in packaging that did not reveal the presence of milk. Testing of the other products by CFIA also revealed the presence of undeclared milk. The problem may have been caused through cross contamination during production and processing at the foreign manufacturer.

Consumers who have purchased the above lots of ORGANIC TRADITIONS BRAND DARK CHOCOLATE GOLDEN BERRIES AND DARK CHOCOLATE SACHA INCHI SEEDS are urged to return the product to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-888-343-3278, Monday – Friday, 9 am – 5 pm ET.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Chocolate for Earth Day 2014

Sjaak's Chocolate are organic and fair trade but today, just four days before Earth Day 2014, we are going to look at three of their bars specifically geared toward eco-concerned consumers: Eli's Earth Bars.  I was assisted with this feature by our own original Coconut Acolyte who took one of the bars to test; her report is in italics.  The sales of these bars generate 5% of their profit toward different children's charities. So you may want to look into this further when you can, Sisters and Brothers, if supporting charity is a concern for you.

The Celebrate Bar is made with coconut and almonds so our dear Acolyte tried this out for us.  The bar is approximately 4" long and 1 1/2" wide. At its highest point (one of the almonds) it's about 3/4" thick.  The covering is the light brown that I normally associate with milk chocolate.  The predominant scent when the package is opened is that of cocoa. Closer inspection still is heavily cocoa but some of the almond scent is also noticeable. Breaking it open reveals just how soft it is. I had it bent to nearly a right angle before it finally broke into two pieces. Even at this point there's no way of knowing just from the smell that there is coconut or caramel involved. First bite has no almond in it. The milk chocolate is not overly sweet and the cocoa taste is somewhat mild. It's at this point that the flavor of the coconut develops. Due to the coloring, I'm not sure if the coconut is toasted but I suspect it is since that would heighten the flavor.  The caramel adds texture but not flavor and even though there is no nut in this bite, I can taste the bitterness of the almonds. The second bite has one nut in it and it provides a nice crunchy counter-balance to the chewiness of the caramel/coconut filling. It's at this point that the flavor of the almond becomes overwhelming. The other ingredients add just a hint of sweetness in contrast but none of them are predominant enough to readily be identified. I would recommend this only for people who really like almonds. If you're not so enthusiastic about them, I'd look for some other way to get a chocolate and coconut fix.


The Dream Big Bar has caramel, peanuts, and peanut butter; you can see the peanuts even in the unbroken bar, just beneath the milk chocolate.  The bar has a very milk chocolate candy scent of light chocolate and sweetness. Breaking it in half is a bit of work because the caramel on the bottom is so thick and sticky, I have to twist it a few times to get it to separate into two pieces.  I can see that the peanut halves are in the bottom layer of caramel and a top layer of chocolate the same color as the coating.  From the inside there is a strong roasted peanut fragrance with a touch of tangy caramel and milk chocolate.  Taking a bite reveals that the caramel and chocolate inside is thick and that what I thought was chocolate inside is more a peanut butter chocolate mixture.  The peanuts are very crunchy and blend well with the caramel and chocolate though I'm not getting much of the peanut butter per se.  This is really good for someone who likes a more earthy chocolate flavor and not so much peanut butter or sweetness; I loved it!

The Treasure Bar has peanut butter, toffee crunch, and vanilla caramel comes in at 240 calories per 1.5oz bar.  As I hope you can see from the photo this has a big layer of peanut butter under a milk chocolate (made from rice milk), then some crunchy toffee bits, and a strip of caramel along the top.  There is a strong peanut butter scent with a light undercurrent of chocolate.  It breaks apart fairly easily though the caramel is sticky and pulls away from the halves a bit.  The bar doesn't make a sound when I take a bite and sink my teeth into the creamy but not salty peanut butter yet each chew hits a toffee piece that makes a crunchy and gives a burst of buttery flavor while at the same time the caramel sticks to my teeth adding a vanilla aftertaste especially when I try to lick it off of my teeth.  The milk chocolate is a very subtle flavor here, the principle flavors are really the peanut butter, toffee, and vanilla.  But the milk chocolate is made from cocoa butter and cocoa paste, not artificial ingredients on the label though it does have both rice and almond milk if those are allergy concerns for any of you.

There you have it, three Eli's Earth Bars for your enjoyment.  Both Lisa and I think the chocolate could have been stronger in these candy bars but given the mixture of the ingredients I think that the two I tried are balanced fairly well.  If you've ever had an Eli's Earth Bar before leave us a comment and let us know (and Sjaak's) what you think about them.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

New Russell Stover Bunnies!

I thought last year that I had seen all of the varieties of Russell Stover's chocolate bunnies but then with the after holiday sales I found.  Count them, yup that's correct, you see five varieties!  At this rate the increase of varieties of their chocolate bunnies is starting to mimic the reproductive capabilities of actually bunnies.  We'll look at these in increasing level of chocolate ingredient intensity.


We start with "Cookies and Cream" and just like 99% of every brand that makes this category this is oil and dairy based white stuff with cookies added; in this case the only cacao related ingredient is the cocoa for said cookie pieces.  The cookies are very crunchy but frankly they just can't overcome the sharply vanilla white stuff.  I can't recommend this one, Sisters and Brothers.



The "Caramel Milk Chocolate" bunny has chocolate and cocoa butter; the next two bunnies have the same ingredients so I organized them according to what I think their chocolateness will be. The bulk of the caramel is in the head and body but surprisingly the ears of a little bit as well   The caramel is more sweet than tangy while the chocolate is very creamy.  Choose this if you or your loved one really prefers very, very sweet chocolate.





The "Kris P. Pretzel" bunny in milk chocolate show specks of pretzel through the chocolate; I hope you can see that in our photo.  This has more sodium than the other varieties because of the pretzel pieces but still not as much as a handful of pretezels by themselves.  In terms of the flavor the salt really comes through strong as you crunch up a bite and I found it overwhelming personally.

What to know how huge our next bunny is? Just telling that this is a 7oz versus a 3oz bunny means little to most of your reading so look at this photo comparing the previous bunny with the crispies one.

The Crispies and Milk Chocolate bunny is identical to the others in terms of the etched designs on the same basic bunny form.  As with the previous bunny you can see hints of the crispies through the milk chocolate.  This is even more crunchy than the pretzel bunny and it has almost no salt flavor so the creamy milk chocolate come through strong.  It is a bit huge so share it, trust me, share this or eat it over several days otherwise one of these bunnies has well over 1000 calories!

Finally there is a Dark Chocolate bunny from Russell Stover and you can see the difference in this photo comparing the dark with their traditional milk chocolate bunny.  See the difference?  Can you tell which is dark and which is milk?

The Dark Chocolate Bunny has chocolate, cocoa butter, and cocoa in it so it is the most intense of these five varieties.  It has zero sodium and no dairy (obviously) so this should be good, pure chocolate.  It has a slight bitterness that you should get with darker chocolate but also surprisingly a creaminess and hint of vanilla as well.

There you go, Sisters and Brothers.  How many of these varieties of bunnies from Russell Stover have you tried?  Are there any new ones out that we need to know about here on The Chocolate Cult?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Easter Chocolate Recalls April 13, 2014

Well, drat!  I have two chocolate related recalls from the FDA to share with you all. One of these is about Easter candy so I'm going to start with that one while the other is about gelato -- not the one we recently featured.

Bissinger’s Announces a Voluntary Recall of Its DarkChocolate Bunny Ears Due to Undeclared Milk

Consumers Contact:
800-325-8881

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - April 10, 2014 - Karl Bissinger’s LLC today announced a recall of its Dark Chocolate Bunny Ears because one lot was mislabeled and contains undeclared milk.

People who have a severe sensitivity to milk run the risk of a serious or life threatening reaction if they consume this product.

This product is labeled as:

Bissinger’s Dark Chocolate Bunny Ears are packaged in a clear film with an ingredient card.
Lot Code: 4981 Best By FEB 2015 UPC: 846107009795

The product was distributed to retailers and wholesalers nationwide from January 28, 2014 through April 4, 2014. Those who have received this are asked to destroy product and report affected quantities to Bissinger’s for a full refund.

No adverse reactions have been reported to date for a milk allergen in association with this product.

The recall was initiated after a customer discovered milk chocolate products in the dark chocolate product packaging. The dark chocolate labels do not list milk as an ingredient.

Bissinger’s regrets any inconvenience this may cause and customers may call 800-325-8881, Monday-Friday, 9am to 5pm CDT to discuss questions or concerns.

About Bissinger’s: Granted the title of “Confiseur Imperial” in honor of confectionery excellence in 17th Century France, Bissinger's has been crafting fine confections sourcing premium ingredients ever since. We are committed to crafting high-quality, healthful confections sourcing all-natural ingredients with social and environmental sustainability.
-----
Sinco Inc Issues Allergy alert on undeclared Peanut Protein in Archer Farms Chocolate Hazelnut Swirl Gelato

Consumers Contact:
617-395-6900

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - April 11, 2014 - SINCO INC is voluntarily recalling from sale Archer Farms Chocolate Hazelnut Swirl Gelato 30 FL OZ (UPC 085239-703618), imported from Italy and sold exclusively at Target stores nationwide. This product may contain traces of peanut protein, which is not declared on the label. Printed on the edge lid is the following:

L13-102 BEST BY: 12OCT2014

There have been two reports of an allergic reaction associated with this item. People who have an allergy or sensitivity to peanuts should not consume this product. No other Archer Farms gelato items are included.

The recall was initiated after lab testing detected a possible presence of peanut protein in one production lot with a Best By date of October 12, 2014. Other production lots tested negative for traces of peanut proteins are also being voluntarily withdrawn as a precautionary measure.

Consumers who have purchased Archer Farms Chocolate Hazelnut Swirl Gelato imported from Italy may return the product to a Target store for a full refund. For further questions please call SINCO at 617-395-6900, Monday - Friday, 9am to 5pm EST.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Tons of Chocolate Easter Bunnies

Some days I feel overwhelmed by the samples we get to test and share with you all around the world.  Some days I'm so blown away by the quality of the products that I just want to tell you to go buy them.  Some days there is so much to write that our feature can't go live for hours after the normal time.  Today's post is based on one of those "some days" starting back on Wednesday and ending today. Now let me assure you that Your Chocolate Priestess did NOT eat all of these, I didn't even try all of these, only one of the milk chocolate and one of the dark chocolate minis that we'll get to... Moderation is one of our hallmarks here on The Chocolate Cult.  I'm not sure what to do with the rest but if you have a suggestion, let it in a comment please. Come, Sisters and Brothers, and look at the Easter art from Emvi Chocolate.

Emvi Chocolate was so generous that they sent us 17 Mini Dark Chocolate Easter Bunny that come in at 0.5oz each of just dark chocolate.  We'll use for our description of the dark chocolate in these cute creations.  The Dark Chocolate has a strong cocoa and vanilla scent and feel very cool to my fingertips.  It makes a sharp snap when I take a bite and the first flavor is a light cocoa and vanilla, a slight bitterness, what you want with dark chocolate, builds with each chew and lingers pleasantly on the tongue.  If you let it melt in your mouth you actually get less bitterness and more vanilla so chosen which you prefer but in fact letting it melt also increases that cocoa buzz that makes your eyes feel a bit wider and your breathing seem a bit deeper. Wonderful!

Likewise we'll use the Mini Milk Chocolate Easter Bunny for our testing of Emvi milk chocolate. Four of these minis were included in the see-through box containing the Box Bunny Milk Chocolate that you see in this photo's center. The minis are exactly like the dark ones above but the Box Bunny is the largest bunny we were sent weighing in at 10.6oz.  This largest bunny is primarily made of milk chocolate but it has a dark chocolate layer on the nose and eyes and white chocolate (made with cocoa butter and no other fats) on the ears, teeth, all four paws, and tail.   The Milk Chocolate in these bunnies (and chick) has a very strong vanilla scent with a current of creamy chocolate under it.  Taking a bite makes a snap and the initial flavor is creamy chocolate with a growing vanilla and chocolate nature with each chew. If you let it melt in your mouth the creaminess remains stronger than the vanilla but it also lets more of the chocolate out.

The rest of this review is really going to be a series of photos with a basic description so you can understand them more fully. The ingredients and methods used for each bunny (and chick, you'll see) strongly suggest the scent, flavor, texture, and sound will be the same or have very little variation.


Only one of all of these samples were damaged in transport; that is a risk you have whenever you order most things.  The Basket Bunny Milk Chocolate is 5.5oz and the second largest sample we were sent.  If you look closely you can see that he has dark chocolate on his eyes, nose, and in the center section of the basket he is sort of cuddling.  White chocolate forms the inside of his ears, his prominent teeth, and the bulk of his eyes.



One good thing about him breaking is that this allows me to show you that these are hollow molds.  You can see they are have varying thickness based on what body part we are looking into.

At 4.5oz the Easterly Bunny is the largest dark chocolate sample from Emvi Chocolate that we received. This is a lot like the minis were, far less anthropomorphic than most of the other samples but still very adorable, don't you think?  The only points of milk chocolate are in the eyes and the nose while white chocolate can be found on the inside of the ears and most of the eyes.




The funniest critter of this set from Emvi Chocolate has to be the Hunz Bunny Milk Chocolate, a chubby fellow with tummy exposed by his too short shirt as he chills out almost shyly.  He weighs 3oz and he's not ashamed of that fact, just a bit laid back with his flopped down ears and overalls as he waits for you to enjoy him.

Not everything is bunny, bunny, bunny at Easter nor it is all crosses if you saw our previous essay this season.  Chicks or other types of young animals are common because they represent birth and spring and so Emvi Chocolate has this Chick Milk Chocolate just coming out of his white shell that sits on head and around lower body.  This is the most white chocolate of any of the molded Easter samples but it only is on the front, the back is milk chocolate.  You can also see some dark chocolate in the eyes as well as an orange that is likely colored white chocolate.

Colored white chocolate is also part of the last two samples in the eggs that are part of the Small Bunny with Egg Barrel.  We got this model in both dark and milk chocolate variety. The milk chocolate version has white on the front of the egg he's rolling around as well as on his feet, tail, teeth, and eyes; dark chocolate highlights his eyes, nose, but also form the wheelbarrow tray.  The dark chocolate bunny has white chocolate on his tail, eyes, and teeth but I suspect also the yellow egg he's moving is really white chocolate; milk chocolate forms the tray of the wheelbarrow, his nose, and part of his eyes.

Look at the photos again, Sisters and Brothers, consider the fine details and adorableness.  Know that these real ingredients resulted in a very wonderful dark chocolate and great creamy milk chocolate.  Small American family produced only adds to the appeal and makes it easy to declare these Sacrament Worthy.  Please do check out Emvi Chocolate and let them know what you think about their creations that we've shared with you today.  If you live in Brooklyn you may be able to find these today but don't want because these guys should be hopping into cars for Easter fast.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Hershey's Six Bunny Packs


Last year after Easter I went shopping and found several chocolate items.  I don't know whether or not you'll still be able to find these six packs of Hershey bunnies or not but let me share how they were well over a year ago.  Hang on, here goes our time machine, Sisters and Brothers.


The Cookies 'n' Creme bunnies are not really white chocolate. Sure there is cocoa butter but it is merely the first of five different ingredients listed under "vegetable oil."  There is cocoa and chocolate in the cookies but wouldn't you think that Hershey could also come up with a good white chocolate?  There's my challenge to Hershey if any of them are reading this review: Make real white chocolate and share it with the world.  Back to the bunny.  The cookies are crunchy and cocoa intense and that stands out against the creamy white stuff.

On the other hand the Milk Chocolate bunnies are made from chocolate and cocoa butter and has no added fats or oils.  This makes it real chocolate and worthy of our reviewing.  This bunny is pretty much identical to the previous non-chocolate cousin.  It has that Hershey's milk chocolate scent and each bunny is 1.2oz is you get a good amount of chocolate.  There is good detail on the front of the bunny and he looks very happy. It has a chocolatey and creamy flavor as well. Just what we expect from Hershey.

So have you seen these available in your stores this year?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

One Organic Chocolate Recall for April 6, 2014

Recalls based on the fact that a label wasn't done correctly always annoy me. Yes there may still be a threat for someone who isn't careful or logical when they select food but most often I've found these recalls have to do with an ingredient not on the label that it only makes sense for there to be some of in the product in question.  In this case a chocolate drink mix that left out the "milk" on the ingredients -- it's a chocolate drink mix, what would you think it would have it?

Well, in this case the packaging claims it is non-dairy so not only is the fact they left out milk a problem for folks with allergies there is no reason why the average person would assume it had dairy in it given the label you'll see below. Makes me wonder what else is wrong on the packaging. What do you think, Sisters and Brothers?


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - April 3, 2014 - Tracy, CA. KORU Pacific Packaging, today issued a voluntary recall of AH!LASKA®, because one lot (LOT# 3280 BEST BY APR/2015) of the product may contain milk, which is not labeled in the ingredients. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk run the risk of a serious or life threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product.

The powdered mix is packaged in a canister containing 12 oz.,with the product name AH!LASKA Organic Cocoa Non-Dairy Chocolate,12 oz, UPC# 7-60519-10028-7. One LOT# is affected: LOT# 3280 BEST BY APR/2015, which appears on the shipping case sticker and on the metal canister bottom. ONLY this Best By date is being recalled.


The product was distributed to retailers nationwide.

The recall was initiated when lab testing confirmed the presence of milk allergen in the finished product. While milk is not listed in the ingredients, the label does include the allergen advisory statement "Made in a facility that also processes peanuts, sesame, dairy, eggs, fish, and soy."

This action is being taken as a precaution. No illnesses have been reported to date for milk allergen in association with this product.

Consumers who have purchased the recalled product can return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumer Contact: (209) 832-1704 OR korupacificpackaging@gmail.com  Consumers with questions can contact the company at phone number, Monday - Friday,Sam to 5pm PST.

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