The great fake chocolate taste-off

I know the exact moment that I became addicted to chocolate.

When Dad used to make lunch for me and my brother Bjorn, he used to put a couple of pieces inside a buttered bread roll.

Understandably, at school Bjorn and I were very popular at lunchtime. While all the other kids had to contend with dreaded Vegemite (I’m a Marmite gal myself), we were getting buzzed on a lunchtime sugar high.

Several years later, I gave up chocolate in bread disguised as lunch, and took up including a Milky Bar/Caramello/Dairy Milk/KitKat in my daily diet.

With becoming a healthy person, I’ve had to give up my chocolate friend which has nurtured and sustained me through childhood and into adulthood. It was hard.

Now that I’m on a regular, sustainable healthy wagon, I thought it was time to be brave and investigate the world of healthy(ish) chocolate.

Chocolate tasting in the name of science

Chocolate tasting in the name of science

Consider this a public service announcement, Jeff and I have tried and tested six different types of non-GMO, raw, organic, sugar-free, dairy-free, bars of goodness. With varying results. I’m wary of a laxative effect any moment now.

I should warn you, if you’re going to give up your KitKat in favour of raw, organic or sugar-free chocolate, you should prepare yourself for the financial fallout.

Put it this way, for this wee experiment, six chocolate bars – none weighing more than 45 grams – cost me over $30. Ouch.

My favourite was over $8 for 45 grams. Double ouch.

The other thing to mention is that sometimes you just want a Creme Egg and I say go for it. Eating everything because it’s good for you is great, but don’t forget that sometimes, it’s nice to eat something for no other reason than you enjoy it. Everything in moderation, including moderation!

So, based on the very scientific evaluation formula that Jeff and I established for this experiment – ratings out of 10 for taste, texture and assumed quality – and in order of least enjoyed to most enjoyed… Here are the results:

Damn you sweetner.

Damn you sweetner.

Cavalier – Praline Milk – 3/10

By all accounts, this should have been my favourite. I love milk chocolate. And I LOVE praline with chocolate. There are no two things that should go better together than chocolate and praline.

Well I can tell you that this is just down right terrible. I blame the Maltitol.

Something about the taste of it made my tongue retreat into my mouth. Jeff summed it up perfectly when he said it tasted like an old bed sheet. Shame.

 

Raw cacao dirt

Raw cacao dirt

Wild Heart – Raw Organic Chocolate with Cacao Nibs – 4.5/10

Aside from the sweet packaging, this chocolate bar is also 73% raw cacao and has only three ingredients – cacao nibs, coconut sugar and cacao butter.

It tastes like it’s good for you. It’s bitter and raw tasting with just the right amount of sweet. Unfortunately, it has the texture of soil and makes you want to clean out your mouth with a high pressure hose.

Melted with hot almond milk might be a total winner.

 

Cacao kick up the pants

Cacao kick up the pants

Rapunzel – 85% Kakao Bitterschokolade – 4.75/10

Jeff and I were completely divided on this bar. While Jeff thoroughly enjoyed it, I couldn’t get past a strange aftertaste akin to something industrial.

No translation is needed for ‘Bitterschokolade’. At 85% cacao this was the most bitter of the bunch. It also was the only one that contained actual sugar, though, as I can’t read German, I couldn’t tell you how much.

Also, this bar was the cheapest at under $2, but it was also only 20 grams which doesn’t even touch the sides of any true chocolate lover.

 

Would you like algae with your chocolate?

Would you like algae with your chocolate?

Loving Earth – Mint and A.F.A Raw Organic Chocolate – 5/10

Now this is a crowd who’ve nailed their packaging. This isn’t a review of packaging however.

Again, Jeff and I were split. I really enjoyed the fresh and bitter minty taste of this bar while Jeff thought it was a big powdery mess. Harsh words.

With blue-green algae in the mix, you know it has to be good for you. For added goodness, it also contains all organic ingredients and it’s specified as vegan. Ok then.

I would keep a pack of this in my handbag. Just in case.

 

Supermarket find!

Supermarket find!

Well, Naturally – Sugar-Free Dark Chocolate with Almond Chip – 7/10

Well this one was a surprise.

This bar was from the supermarket and the second cheapest of the lot. Both Jeff and I enjoyed the crunchy almond pieces and sweet yet not-too-sweet taste.

It does contain Erythritol, which seems to be the hot new sweetener in the club, but research so far says it’s the lesser of sweetener evils.

This bar also containers Stevia but without the weird Stevia taste a lot of other products get. Not bad. Not bad at all.

 

Basically a health food

Basically a health food

Raw Hearts Hine Cacao – Stoneground Raw Organic Chocolate infused with Wildcrafted Manuka and Orange Essential Oils – 8.25/10

Yum. Oh my god yum. I would bathe in this if I could (and if it didn’t cost me over $8 for 45 grams!).

This chocolate is crazy delicious. It’s sweet at 67% cacao, with a hint of orange and a hint of Manuka honey.

It has the most glorious texture that melts in your mouth like chocolate should!

A slightly unusual extra is the addition of raisins, which it doesn’t really need but they add a nice little something, something rather than just being weird.

This chocolate has our friend Stevia and also coconut sugar. Pleasingly, no weird Stevia taste which makes me extra happy.

If it wasn’t for the price, I would buy this in bulk. In fact, I still may! Delicious!

So there you have it. Now you don’t have to eat all that chocolate because we’ve done it for you. You’re welcome.

I’m keen to hear what other delicious healthy chocolate is out there so leave a comment and let me know!

Until next time. Enjoy the ride!

 

 

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Tips for new players from a new player

It can be ridiculously difficult to eat healthy when you’re unprepared. The temptation to snack overcomes you, what ever is closest to your reach “will do”, and the offer of a cream donut becomes impossible to resist.

This is why I’m always prepared in case of any food related emergencies that might occur (this planning has come in handy since we’ve just had our third severe earthquake in six months!)

So a few tips on preparation and planning from one new player to another:

  • Make lunch the night before. If you’re not a morning person, then what is the likelihood of you getting up early to make yourself a nice healthy salad before you head to work? About slim to none. Prepare your lunch the night before so that when you’re late again and about to miss the train, all you have to do is reach in the fridge. Voila!
  • Becoming a baking God/Goddess. I love baking. For me it’s relaxing. And now that i’m baking healthy food, it’s become even more satisfying. The added benefit is that I always have my own healthy snacks to munch on. There’s no temptation to grab one of those nasty packaged, processed, plastic snacks when I have my own delicious baking (check out these yumbo Apricot and Cashew Energy Bars from Nutitionist in the Kitch).
Homemade snacks

Paleo Chocolate Fudge and Apricot and Cashew Energy Bars

  • Substitutions aren’t as scary as you think. Before my rebirth as a health conscious vixen, my motto may as well have been ‘the more sugar the better’. As I’ve removed processed white sugar (actually, just about all sugar) from my diet, I’ve discovered that there are a ton of delicious sweetners you can use that won’t send your pancreas into overdrive. You just have to know how to use them properly. Maple syrup and honey are two great examples. Just don’t go overboard, you don’t need much!
  • Pick and choose the best bits. I like a lot of things about a lot of different diets. With whole food diets, I love that you can still eat everything you want, you just take out all the processed rubbish. I love the back to basics of paleo. I love the gluten free introduction of almond meal and coconut flour into my life. I love my new found dairy free appreciation (I’m learning to love almond milk). But… I also love a good sandwich. Pick and choose what feels good.
  • Put down that soft drink. Pick up your water. Along with my own snacks, I carry water everywhere I go. If you’ve already got a drink then you have no good reason to buy something to quench your thirst (it also helps you save the planet a one-use bottle at a time).

So there you go. Simple really. Until next time, enjoy the ride.