Saturday, April 26, 2014

Rainforests and Chocolate Barks

May is fast approaching and there are a lot of May month-long "holidays" including Rainforest Awareness Month.  Why should you care about rainforests?  In honor of this month we are going to look at two chocolate barks from XOXO Chocolates -- their Rainforest Bark and their Dark Almond Bark.  Before get to that I want to mention that also in May we'll be doing an article on the problem with palm oil something you may notice on the ingredients list on candy bars and sadly even on "fine chocolate" even though chocolate has a natural fat ingredient called cocoa butter that can be used right from the same tree and the same beans.  I'll really want to read your comments when we do that post but today please leave a comment to let us and XOXO Chocolates know what you think about the products we tested and revealed to you today.

We'll start with the Rainforest Bark that our Fruit Acolyte tested.  The Rainforest Bark is very attractive, with white chocolate drizzled over the dark. The portion is hefty! There are no scores on the bar to help break it up into more manageable pieces to you just have to snap some off.


The smell is very much a dark chocolate with fruity notes. The chocolate has a nice snap when biting into it. The chocolate itself melts almost instantly on the tongue to a grainy syrup that leaves a floral aftertaste. It's not too sweet, which is exactly what I want from a dark chocolate. The texture is definitely grainy. The dried fruit scattered throughout provides some textural variety but its flavor is overwhelmed by the dark chocolate. I couldn't differentiate the white from the dark chocolate, so the white drizzles are basically for decoration only.  I wouldn't be able to tell you exactly what kind of fruit it is without looking at the box. Most of it is chewy and orange so I'd guess mango but the fruit really doesn't hold its own flavor-wise. There's a LOT of chocolate here and very little fruit in comparison.

I'm only able to eat a couple of bites; the chocolate is heavy and leaves a syrupy mouthfeel that doesn't make me want more anytime soon. A bar this big would literally last me a month.

I'm not exactly sure why it's called "Rainforest" bark. Is it "rainforest-friendly" cacao? The fruit is a hodgepodge that includes cranberries, strawberries, and raisins. The chocolatiers might want to stick to pineapple, mango, and papaya specifically and bump up the quantity. Having tasted it, as a person who prefers a high fruit:chocolate ratio, I wouldn't buy it.

The Dark Almond Bark is made primarily with dark chocolate and almonds with white chocolate drizzled over it all made from simple ingredients without additives.  Your Chocolate Acolyte tried it with one other friend.  This comes in redbox like the previous bark and weighs in at 8oz.  You can see the whole almonds under the dark and milk chocolate.  It has a strong dark cocoa scent but also a creamy white chocolate one.  Breaking it into pieces to share made a loud snap yet it was easy to do.  Taking a bite makes a slightly softer sound. Immediately my mouth is flood with a nice blend of bitter dark chocolate and the sweet, creamy white chocolate.  The almonds are not salted or covered in any coating and I really liked just having their basic meatiness there as a counter to the sweet and bitter flavors.  This was excellent, I'd gladly eat it again and again.

There is our first view of XOXO Chocolates.  They don't have a walk-in store at their headquarters in Las Vegas but you can find them and their creations online.  We have several more products left to tell you about, Sisters and Brothers, so please let us know if you liked this report today.  Today our bark report was a mixed bag; I really loved the Dark Almond Bark (I'd say Sacrament worthy) but our Acolyte who tested the Rainforest Bark thought the fruit just didn't stand out enough. Consider our words and decide if you'd like to try these barks yourself.

2 comments:

David Lambert said...

Really dark chocolate should be at least 70% cacao and white chocolate, altho just drizzled is not chocolate. Can't count this as healthy chocolate.
Dave Lambert
David's Delicious Chocolates

TammyJo Eckhart said...

David, I'm unsure why you are bringing up "healthy" chocolate when that's not a topic of this particular post.