Saturday, May 21, 2011

Healthy Needs to Taste Great for Chocolate Lovers

With the rare recipes your Chocolate Priestess shares, you hopefully have noticed that we do some things in my house that are because of health concerns.  I grew up with a mother always in poor health and I have high risk factors from my genes alone.  I try to feed us healthy but there is one thing I've learned in four plus decades: Healthy has to taste good or no one will eat it.  This is especially true when it comes to Chocolate.  Cacao itself, very dark Chocolate is actually healthy in moderation.  It's the things we add to it -- animal fats, unnecessary plant fats, artificial flavors, added candies or over processed flour and too much sugar that can make it unhealthy even in small doses.  Thus when we have the opportunity to reveal some healthy chocolate to you, we jump at that chance.  The following potential Saturday Sacrament was eaten some time ago, during the period the creator, Healthy Chocolate, said was it's best to eat even though we knew this post itself would be some time in coming because of holiday schedules and earlier received Offerings.  In other words, as often happens here, we pre-wrote this review.  We stand by our experiences with this product, as volunteers on The Chocolate Cult, and while we have tried to be objective in our descriptions, we will make a declaration as to whether or not this product fits into the lives of anyone following our Path of Moderation and Purposefulness with Great Chocolate.

We received two 4.23oz bags of their Healthy Chocolate with Herbs, microencapsulated herbs the bag and website raves about as a very healthy chocolate and new way to introduce healthy supplements into your diet.  There are five herbs listed on the website along with organic cocoa liquor, organic cocoa butter, Xylitol, Organic Vanilla Extract and Organic Lecithin.  Organics sound good and we've had both bad and good experiences with organic products here on The Chocolate Cult.  cocoa liquor is just another name for chocolate liquor which is more common on packaging.  But Xylitol?  That's a type of sugar alcohol and it may be the reason for the rest of this review you will read.  The Assorted Flavors bags we were sent had six colors of wrappers and six flavors; no information is given on the bags or the website about these flavors however.

Before we begin let me say that I shared these with over a dozen other people, including five of our six Acolytes and a variety of friends and family all of whom were willing to give me their opinions.  All of them agree with the final conclusions of this featured review if individual descriptions of the flavors varied.  Since I don't know what the colors are supposed to represent (there was no information on the bags, the wrappers or the website), you'll have to go with my attempts to describe what I tasted and smelled.  I'll label them by color.

The Gold wrapper smelled a lot like dark cocoa and that was promising.  It was the first flavor I tried and as you'll see each piece is nearly identical in looks with "Healthy Chocolate" etched on the top, the top is also slightly textured and the sides slop gently inward to make this more than merely a rectangular chunk of chocolate.  The base of this rectangle is 1 9/16 inch by 1.25 inches with a width of 0.25 inches.  A nice substantial piece of chocolate whose specifics I won't bore you with repeatedly, Sisters and Brothers.  When I take a bite it has a grainy texture, perhaps these are the herbs, and the taste is not cocoa or chocolate but a very brief hint of our Sacred Substance then a stronger and bitterly sour taste along with a cooling sensation.  That bitter sour combination built up in an aftertaste that proved challenging to handle for everyone who tried these.

The Red wrapper revealed a solid raspberry fragrance when I opened it and the piece looked just a touch lighter in color to my eyes and to my friend (stillrose) who tried it at the same time as me.  It has a light raspberry flavor and at first a weak cocoa flavor as well but very quickly that bitter sour taste over took everything else and there was that odd cooling sensation again.  The aftertaste was long and I believe I said some unpriestesslike things during those 15 minutes between pieces.  Yes, I washed my mouth out each time with a cup of water as I always do for our featured reviews.

The Brown wrapper had a darker appearance and a coffee as well as darker cocoa scent.  I was hopeful and eager for our Mocha Acolytes to try this but I think they both wanted to hurt me after trying this.  To me this had a definite coffee flavor and a lot more crunch; to them .  It had less of a cooling sensation but that feeling was still there and that combination with the coffee was not pleasing to stillrose at all.  The bitter sour taste was still dominant at the end but at least the coffee fought back more than the other flavors to this point.

The Blue wrapper contains a chocolate that has a light generic berry scent and some flavor I can't decipher beyond generic berry either though some of my tasters speculated it was blueberry I have to say I wasn't convinced by their assessment.  It is not as cool as the Gold wrapper was but more than the Brown one.  The aftertaste is as bitter and even a hint more sour than the previous; no decent blueberry should be bitter, Sisters and Brothers, sweet, yes, sour, no.


The Orange wrapper covered a very strongly scented chocolate that was almost a blood orange in the intensity and darkness of the citrus fragrance I smelled as soon as I opened it.  It had a light citrus flavor with a bit of tang to it that turned to the cooling sensation and then the bitter sourness that also seemed a bit burnt in some fashion this time.  Very odd and very disappointing.


Surely the Green wrapper would contain a mint flavor and then the cooling sensation would make some sense finally I hoped.  There was a light mint scent when I first unwrapped it but I'm almost dreading taking a bite for fear of being disappointed after five other samples.  The subtle mint flavor and an immediate cooling sensation grows but then fades to the bitter sour dominant essence and the linger aftertaste.  The cooling sensation stays much longer this time probably a combination of the mint itself and whatever is causing the general feeling and flavors we find repeated in each piece.

I really wanted to love Healthy Chocolate's products. Everyone who tried it, really hoped it would be the only healthy treat we received so far on The Chocolate Cult that would win our approval.  So far no so-called "healthy" chocolate has lived up to its promises and sadly this fell farther from the claims than most.  The strange cooling sensation with the bitter sour flavor was common to every variety regardless of what it was.  Either this was the herbs or it was the Xylitol we were all tasting and it was horrible.  It is a common problem with sugar alcohols that they do indeed taste different from plain old sugar but this was extreme in the poor taste department.  With over a dozen tasters agreeing with my initial assessment, I have to declare this product unworthy for The Chocolate Cult.  Herbs or not, low on sugar or not, if it tastes bad, it is not a healthy substitute for anything, especially our Sacred Substance.

If you want to try these yourself please try only one to see if you also do not like the taste. The claims on these bags and their website says that this product is part of the "Women Legislators Healthy America Campaign" but I looked into that claim by emailing the group and they did confirm the connection nor did the "Women Legislators" list Healthy Chocolate as one of their connections.  Over all a deeply disappointing chocolate.

6 comments:

Jill Colonna said...

Enjoyed reading your review and disappointed with you about the chocolate. Loved the photos and packaging, though! Interesting observations.

TheChocolatePriestess said...

Thanks, Jill. I'm not looking forward to giving that company the link tomorrow, on Monday, but every company and chocolatier should know that we do honest reviews here and sometimes it just isn't very good, isn't really chocolate, or just tastes horrible. I have to be honest for you, our readers, right?

Katrina {In Katrina's Kitchen} said...

Oh dear! How sad

TheChocolatePriestess said...

Yup, indeed, Katrina. It is sad when chocolate isn't allowed to be itself. Dark chocolate by itself in moderation is all ready fairly healthy. We really don't need more chemicals or additives to make it better.

Christine's Pantry said...

I appreciate you being honest. Love reading your post. Thanks for sharing!

TheChocolatePriestess said...

That means a lot to me, Christine. I have made ZERO money on this Cult so far -- guess I'm not much of a cult leader, huh? But I have my honor by not charging money for reviews so I and those who help me can be honest with our experiences.

Your words make this worth more than any money to me... though making some cash to at least go back into chocolate might be nice at some point.