Product Review: Organic Mint Chocolate from Equal Exchange

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Today I sampled a new chocolate product from Equal Exchange, which in addition to chocolate sells a variety of fairly traded products.

First off, I thought the packaging was very nice. It features a photo of a cacao farmer and some nice graphics. The inside of the packaging includes a description of the benefits of buying fairly traded chocolates.

The smell is light and refreshing when you open the package. Also, I loved the texture. The chocolate has organic “peppermint crisps,” which are made from cane sugar and peppermint oil. It also has ground vanilla beans. This makes for a hard chocolate with a slightly crispy texture.

As for flavor, I was almost expecting a stronger mint taste after smelling the chocolate, but found the light bitterness of the dark chocolate was the first flavor to hit to tongue. The mint is softer and more delicate. There is almost an initial conflict of the two flavors, but as they combine, the effect is very pleasant.

This chocolate contains:

*Organic cocoa liquor, *Syramenaâ„¢ Organic Raw Cane Sugar, *Organic cocoa butter, *Sucanatâ„¢ Organic unrefined whole cane sugar, peppermint crisps (*Organic cane sugar, Organic peppermint oil), Organic ground vanilla beans. May contain traces of milk, peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios & pecans. Cocoa 67% min. (*Fair Trade Certifiedâ„¢)

The Bottom Line:

• Great texture and aroma
• Good flavor with delicious aftertaste
• Excellent packaging with lots of useful information
• A stronger mint flavor would be nice, but overall the flavor is excellent
• I appreciate the fact that Equal Exchange chocolates are tasty and provide well written educational material about the chocolate industry.

Overall Rating: 8.5 of 10.0

You can purchase this chocolate and other products here.


Product Review: Dagoba Organic Chocolates, Good for You and the Environment!

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While a student, I spent some time working at La Montanita Co-Op Supermarket in Albuquerque, New Mexico. During that time I was privy to some of best organic chocolate makers out there. One of my favorites was (and is) Dagoba Organic Chocolates. Not only is their chocolate amazingly tasty, they’ve also got a great philosophy. Here it is (from their website):

We are dedicated to full circle sustainability: crafting exquisite chocolate that blends quality, ecology, equity and community. We have been honored with Food & Wine’s 2005 Tastemaker Award, the EPA’s Green Power Leadership Award, “World’s Best Chocolate” – CNN/Money and “Best Dark Chocolate” – San Francisco Chronicle. Our greatest honor is exceeding your expectations through the ancient jewel of cacao so please share your thoughts with us.

My favorite is their 59% dark chocolate, which is the perfect blend of bitter and sweet.

Check out www.exploringchocolate.com for more information on organic chocolates, chocolate history, etc.


Product Review, Annie’s Naturals: Great Food, Happy People, Healthy Environment

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Annie’s Naturals has been producing excellent natural salad dressings, sauces, barbeque sauces, etc. for over 20 years.

Based in Vermont, this small company uses only natural ingredients and you can find some awesome and unusual products on her website including salad dressings using sea veggies, sesame seeds, etc. Her website also has ingredients and nutritional info so you can see just what you’re getting into.

My absolute favorite dressing of all time is Goddess dressing. This dressing has Tahini, which gives it a wonderful flavor. It is creamy and slightly exotic.

While many of her products aren’t necessarily easy on the waistline, I think you’ll feel better slopping on some Goddess dressing with tahini and fresh herbs than that Hidden Valley crap.

Enjoy!