Saturday, April 19, 2014

Chocolate for Earth Day 2014

Sjaak's Chocolate are organic and fair trade but today, just four days before Earth Day 2014, we are going to look at three of their bars specifically geared toward eco-concerned consumers: Eli's Earth Bars.  I was assisted with this feature by our own original Coconut Acolyte who took one of the bars to test; her report is in italics.  The sales of these bars generate 5% of their profit toward different children's charities. So you may want to look into this further when you can, Sisters and Brothers, if supporting charity is a concern for you.

The Celebrate Bar is made with coconut and almonds so our dear Acolyte tried this out for us.  The bar is approximately 4" long and 1 1/2" wide. At its highest point (one of the almonds) it's about 3/4" thick.  The covering is the light brown that I normally associate with milk chocolate.  The predominant scent when the package is opened is that of cocoa. Closer inspection still is heavily cocoa but some of the almond scent is also noticeable. Breaking it open reveals just how soft it is. I had it bent to nearly a right angle before it finally broke into two pieces. Even at this point there's no way of knowing just from the smell that there is coconut or caramel involved. First bite has no almond in it. The milk chocolate is not overly sweet and the cocoa taste is somewhat mild. It's at this point that the flavor of the coconut develops. Due to the coloring, I'm not sure if the coconut is toasted but I suspect it is since that would heighten the flavor.  The caramel adds texture but not flavor and even though there is no nut in this bite, I can taste the bitterness of the almonds. The second bite has one nut in it and it provides a nice crunchy counter-balance to the chewiness of the caramel/coconut filling. It's at this point that the flavor of the almond becomes overwhelming. The other ingredients add just a hint of sweetness in contrast but none of them are predominant enough to readily be identified. I would recommend this only for people who really like almonds. If you're not so enthusiastic about them, I'd look for some other way to get a chocolate and coconut fix.


The Dream Big Bar has caramel, peanuts, and peanut butter; you can see the peanuts even in the unbroken bar, just beneath the milk chocolate.  The bar has a very milk chocolate candy scent of light chocolate and sweetness. Breaking it in half is a bit of work because the caramel on the bottom is so thick and sticky, I have to twist it a few times to get it to separate into two pieces.  I can see that the peanut halves are in the bottom layer of caramel and a top layer of chocolate the same color as the coating.  From the inside there is a strong roasted peanut fragrance with a touch of tangy caramel and milk chocolate.  Taking a bite reveals that the caramel and chocolate inside is thick and that what I thought was chocolate inside is more a peanut butter chocolate mixture.  The peanuts are very crunchy and blend well with the caramel and chocolate though I'm not getting much of the peanut butter per se.  This is really good for someone who likes a more earthy chocolate flavor and not so much peanut butter or sweetness; I loved it!

The Treasure Bar has peanut butter, toffee crunch, and vanilla caramel comes in at 240 calories per 1.5oz bar.  As I hope you can see from the photo this has a big layer of peanut butter under a milk chocolate (made from rice milk), then some crunchy toffee bits, and a strip of caramel along the top.  There is a strong peanut butter scent with a light undercurrent of chocolate.  It breaks apart fairly easily though the caramel is sticky and pulls away from the halves a bit.  The bar doesn't make a sound when I take a bite and sink my teeth into the creamy but not salty peanut butter yet each chew hits a toffee piece that makes a crunchy and gives a burst of buttery flavor while at the same time the caramel sticks to my teeth adding a vanilla aftertaste especially when I try to lick it off of my teeth.  The milk chocolate is a very subtle flavor here, the principle flavors are really the peanut butter, toffee, and vanilla.  But the milk chocolate is made from cocoa butter and cocoa paste, not artificial ingredients on the label though it does have both rice and almond milk if those are allergy concerns for any of you.

There you have it, three Eli's Earth Bars for your enjoyment.  Both Lisa and I think the chocolate could have been stronger in these candy bars but given the mixture of the ingredients I think that the two I tried are balanced fairly well.  If you've ever had an Eli's Earth Bar before leave us a comment and let us know (and Sjaak's) what you think about them.

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