Saturday, June 13, 2009

Saturday Sacrament, June 13, 2009

Sisters and Brothers, today your Chocolate Priestess reveals the essence of four types of chocolate covered fruits and nuts from Emily’s Chocolates while I’m traveling. I will always lead you in Saturday Sacraments unless it is absolutely impossible, as part of my service to you and the Divine.

As you can see to the left, each type of covered fruits or nuts from Emily’s comes in a bag and weighs 5 ounces, and each has a color associated with the type of product so they are easier to recognize. While each type has 3.5 servings of product per bag, the nutritional value varies, so I’ll highlight that in each review but, overall they have very little sodium – none to 10mg for the almonds – and 170-180 calories. One thing to note is that they are great for travel because the bags are designed to be resealable, but you’ll want these up front with you, because, as the bag warns, the chocolate may melt above 70 degrees F.

“Milk Chocolate Covered Almonds” have a distinctive nut scent when you open the brown and orange striped bag. These are big almonds, about an inch long, with a very slight waxy feel that is a result of the additives necessary to give the bags a shelf life of approximately a year. Individually the milk chocolate scent covers the earthy nut smell that was obvious when I first opened the bag. When I bite the nut crunches and remains crunchy, its texture and flavor contrasting with the milk chocolate shell. The almond is the dominant flavor, and it lingers after the cocoa flavor is gone. Each serving is about 10 almonds, has 170 calories, 4.5 g saturated fat, less than 5 mg cholesterol, 2 g dietary fibers, 11 g sugar, and 4 g of protein, with 6% of the daily calcium and 4% of the daily iron the USDA recommends for an adult.

The smallest candies of these four types are found in the blue-striped bag of “Dark Chocolate Covered Blueberries,” where ¼ cup equals a serving. You can see the relative sizes of these four chocolate covered treats from Emily’s to the right. Again, the blueberry flavor is strong when I first open the bag, but individually the chocolate takes command. Even though this is darker chocolate, the texture is the same, as are the listed ingredients, so I’m not sure of the cocoa percentages that define milk versus dark for Emily’s. When I eat one, the first flavor is the chocolate – an average quality of dark chocolate for such products – but as I chew the blueberry bursts forth, though it never covers the cocoa; this is true for the second and third pieces I eat as well. If you want a strong blueberry flavor you will not find it here but you will find 4.5 g saturated fat, zero cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 22 g sugar, 1 g protein and 170 calories in each serving, and 4% of the recommended daily amounts of Vitamin C, calcium, and iron.

I rinse my mouth out before moving on to the “Dark Chocolate Covered Cherries,” which are “dried red sour cherries” in the obvious cherry red striped bag. Each serving is 11 pieces, which are larger than the almond pieces but not as big as the next fruit I’ll reveal today. Once more the fruit scent is dominant when the bag opens but quickly fades for the individual pieces. The bite is chewy, and the sour cherry taste works forth with each chew to blend nicely with the bitterness of the chocolate. These are two deep flavors with very little sweetness, and I liked that a lot, but that’s probably because I prefer the more sour of the cherry varieties. A serving of these has 180 calories, 6 g saturated fat, no cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 23 g sugars, and 1 g protein, with 4% of the recommended daily amounts of calcium and iron and 2% of the Vitamin A an adult should get.

Finally I turn my attention to the “Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries” in the green striped bag, which are the biggest pieces you see in the above photo, and this is why it only takes 6 of these to equal one serving. Each serving has an amazing 35% of the daily recommended Vitamin C but 4% of the calcium and iron you want each day, along with 4.5 g saturated fat, zero cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 22 g sugars, and 1 g protein. Unlike the other bagged fruits and nuts, upon opening this bag the dominant scent is chocolate not strawberry. The bite is firm, but barely makes a sound. With each chew the strawberry flavor is slowly revealed, which really surprised me considering how big each piece is and the nutritional information – I thought the strawberry would surely overwhelm the dark cocoa taste.

While I have mentioned the initial waxy texture of the candies, I want to explore that briefly. We, Sisters and Brothers, need to judge chocolate products by their purpose. For more expensive handcrafted products our expectations need to be high to balance out the cost per unit, but even then, as I’ve mentioned before, taste or appearance may be important for different reasons . For bagged covered fruits and nuts we need to consider their shelf life and portability as well as taste. These Emily’s products are higher quality than your average chocolate covered raisins, more flavorful, less waxy, and more nutritious. If you are choosing between covered fruits and nuts, I think this is the superior choice for a decent price, but not as healthy as the fruits and nuts by themselves.

Sisters and Brothers, may you too take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate.

If you are reading this post from the eastern half of the Midwest, don’t forget The Chocolate Cult’s first CONTEST.

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