Tag Archives: Ecuador

Antidote Organic Dark Chocolate

Anitdote Ginger and Goldenberry chocolate

Anitdote Ginger and Goldenberry Dark Chocolate – 77% Cacao

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, I thought I would review some chocolate with a distinct feminine vibe.  Antidote Chocolate blends organic and raw dark chocolate with innovative flavorings such as lavender and red salt.  This is not the first chocolate bar line to focus on exotically flavored chocolate, but most of those bars are milk chocolate with too much sugar and cacao of unknown origin.  Antidote Chocolate has gone somewhere completely different –  taking single-origin organic beans and working their culinary magic to produce fresh new flavor combinations.

The creative force behind Antidote is founder Red Thalhammer, a successful communications designer with experience in packaging design for fine foods.  Red conceived the flavors and oversees the whole process from sourcing of beans to making of the bars.  It’s all wrapped in artful packaging extolling the  virtues of women.  Each bar is named for a Greek goddess and embodies her admirable qualities.  By keeping the cacao % high – at least 77%, she respects a women’s desire to stay healthy and indulge at the same time.  She also employs an unusual recipe of 50% raw cacao and 50% roasted to optimize the health benefits and flavor.

I approached the tasting with some trepidation for fear that I might experience a Mel Gibson-like transformation as in the movie “What Women Want.”  You know, he plays the ad executive who tries out products in a Women’s market research package and in a freak accident, gains the ability to hear women’s thoughts.  I mean, as much as I would love to exploit the skill of reading women’s minds, I’m not sure I want to know everything my wife is thinking after ten years of marriage.  Thankfully, that’s all fiction, so I went ahead and ate the chocolate.

The back side of Antidote Ginger plus Goldenberry dark chocolate

With a generous helping of ginger and goldenberries, you won’t be searching for flavor in this bar.

WHAT:  Antidote Ginger + Goldenberry Dark Chocolate.  A.K.A. Aletheia: Greek goddess of truth and wisdom.  77% Cacao. A blend of raw and roasted beans.  50 g (1.8 oz). Ingredients: cacao beans, whole cane sugar, gooseberry, ginger, soy lecithin (gmo-free).  Dairy free, gluten free and vegan.

Where to buy Antidote Ginger + Goldenberry Dark Chocolate.

WHEN:  April 14, 2013

OVERALL RATING: 88.

AROMA:  Orange blossom, wine, citrus, cream.  There’s more balance of cocoa aroma than with the next bar.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS:  Immediate tart fruit from generous helping of goldenberry sitting on the outside of the bar, raisin, ginger,cherry.

MIDDLE TASTE:  It’s quite an adventure – tart berries, lively, but not burning ginger, then the chocolate becomes fluid just before the fruit and ginger form a compote in your mouth, with notes of apricot and prune.  I tasted a piece that was only chocolate and found warm lavender notes with prune and raisin.

FINISH:  You’re left with some ginger and lavender notes at end.  The finish is overall very clean with not much chocolate at end.  Still not bitter.

TEXTURE: Chewy with plenty of fruit.

The Coffee + Cardamom bar typifies the latent feminine virtues of power and passion.

The Coffee + Cardamom bar typifies the latent feminine virtues of power and passion.

WHAT:  Antidote Coffee + Cardamom Dark Chocolate.  A.K.A. Kakia: wicked Greek goddess of vice – Strong and passionate.  77% Cacao. A blend of raw and roasted beans.  50 g (1.8 oz).  Ingredients:  cacao beans, whole cane sugar, coffee beans, cardamom, soy lecithin (gmo-free).  Dairy free, gluten free and vegan.

Where to buy Antidote Coffee + Cardamom  Dark Chocolate.

WHEN:  April 14, 2013

OVERALL RATING: 80.

AROMA: Heady, awakening, earthy, burnt parchment, aromatic herbs, molasses, anise, cardamom.  The aroma was fantastic.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS:  All cardamom.

MIDDLE TASTE:  Grilled meat, mouth-filling roast, aromatics, and raisins.

FINISH:  You get a pop of sweetness as the coffee and sugar compete then lingering coffee and cardamom at the end.

TEXTURE: Expect some residual grittiness from the coffee and cardamom towards the end.  This should be no surprise as ground spices are used rather than extracts of some sort.

LAST BITE:  I didn’t find the Coffee + Cardamom very feminine, but that might just reflect my preconceived notion of womanly chocolate.  The coffee doesn’t show up much until the end, which is fine because it doesn’t compete with the chocolate.  Still, this bar is full of bold flavors and potent aroma in keeping with its name sake – the strong and passionate Kakia.  I get it.

The Ginger plus Goldenberry bar was the clear winner in my eyes – the bright, tart fruit was potent and blended well with the ultra dark bar.  I’ve tasted many ginger chocolate bars and I’ve found that the marriage of flavors works only sometimes.  When it doesn’t work, it tastes a tad bit like, sorry, vomit.  When it does work, it’s a fantastic combination.  Maybe the key is the high cacao of the Antidote bars keeping the ginger in check or the tartness of the goldenberries helping to integrate it all.  Either way, it’s great stuff.

Antidote Chocolate avoids pompousness of some culinary-based chocolate bars and brings it down to earth while managing to be hip without being pretentious.  After all, this is single-origin, organic and fair trade chocolate – how much more grounded can it be?  This is chocolate worth trying for any healthy mom or woman or…why not…man.

NOTE: These bars were sent to me for free by Antidote Chocolate.

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Tasting Pacari Chocolate Covered Golden Berries

The golden berry AKA Inca berry.

The golden berry AKA Inca berry sits inside a papery husk. Photo credit: Flapdragon.

The golden berry or Inca berry is an antioxidant rich fruit indigenous to South America that joins the ranks of more famous superfoods such as the acai berry to emerge from the Amazon.  Scientific studies suggest golden berries have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and may help fight diabetes, cancer and aging [1, 2].  Take this exotic superfood, enrobe it in dark chocolate (already rich in antioxidants), and you have a nutritious and pallet-pleasing treat [3].  But what do golden berries taste like?

Pacari Chocolate Covered Golden Berries

Pacari Chocolate Covered Golden Berries

Pacari organic CHOCOLATE covered golden berries

Pacari’s organic berries are harvested in Ecuador where golden berries grow wild and are also cultivated.  They then take their organic single-origin dark chocolate and coat the organic berries to make little spheres of goodness.

WHAT:  Pacari Organic Chocolate Covered Golden Berries.  57 g (2 oz). Ingredients: Cacao beans, evaporated cane juice, golden berries, cacao butter, sunflower lecithin.  USDA Certified Organic.  Dairy and soy free. May contain traces of nuts.  Kosher – Parve.

Where to buy Pacari Chocolate Covered Golden Berries Online.

WHEN:  March 18, 2012                          OVERALL RATING:  Not rated since this is not a “straight” chocolate bar.  Overall, I give it high ranks for its unique flavors and potential health benefits.

AROMA:  Pronounced raisins, grapefruit and oranges.  Light tobacco, coffee and black tea.

Chocolate Covered Golden Berries Cut Open

The inside of chocolate covered Inca berries reveals a tart, golden fruit.

INITIAL AND MIDDLE TASTES:  Caramel starts up front followed by grapefruit, raisins and red wine.  Chewing some more releases a concen- trated tart citrus flavor that’s more complex than just one single fruit.  It’s more like a melding of pineapple, orange and grapefruit with a touch of mint and tea.

FINISH:  The end is almost all golden berry with the chocolate fading away first.  There are bits of seeds (or something like it) still hanging around, but they’re not like those annoying, impervious raspberry seeds that you get stuck in your teeth – these can be easily chewed away.  The finish is clean and slightly tart.

LAST BITE:  I like these a lot because the flavors are complementary rather than competing.  Whenever I have chocolate covered espresso beans, for instance, it’s a little bit like eating cheese with butter on top – two similar flavors made from potent, aromatic roasted beans.  I still love chocolate covered espresso beans, don’t get me wrong, but what’s cool about these chocolate covered Inca berries is the contrast of tart with sweet / roast.  Maybe there’s a reason it all grows in Ecuador.

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Notes and References:

[1] New cytotoxic withanolides from Physalis peruviana Lan Y.-H., Chang F.-R., Pan M.-J., Wu C.-C., Wu S.-J., Chen S.-L., Wang S.-S., Wu M.-J., Wu Y.-C. Food Chemistry 2009 116:2 (462-469)

[2] New cytotoxic withanolides from Physalis peruviana Lan Y.-H., Chang F.-R., Pan M.-J., Wu C.-C., Wu S.-J., Chen S.-L., Wang S.-S., Wu M.-J., Wu Y.-C. Food Chemistry 2009 116:2 (462-469)

[3] These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.  These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.