The Chocolate Cult

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Hidden Allergens in Iconic Kids Protein Drink

Iconic Chocolate Carnival Drinks
Everyone in my family has food allergies or intolerances. Mine are not unique but not among the more common. When I agreed to test out Iconic Kids Protein Drink in the Chocolate Carnival flavor it never entered my mind that my allergies might be triggered by this product. Yes, it does say one serving of veggies on it but who would put things like kale in a milklike product? Iconic did. Their "Greens Blend" includes Kale, Broccoli, and Spinach and I'm allergic to two of those. I spent the entire afternoon very ill after trying one of these. That said, I will attempt to be fair about the flavor but you all needed this warning. I got this product through the Amazon Vine program, this article on The Chocolate Cult is a bonus.

Glass of Iconic Chocolate Carnival
What should Chocolate Carnival protein drink taste like? Obviously chocolate, right? At the first few sips it does taste like chocolate, not a chocolate bar but something made with chocolate. The sweetness made me think of a baked good and given the image on the bottle, cake seemed a fair guess. However, after about three sips the sweetness built up and intensified. I knew that flavor because I've had it before in so-called healthier chocolates. A check on the ingredient list confirmed it: stevia and monkfruit, both of which are used too often in quantities that are overwhelming in chocolatey products. Stevia I've had no problems with in terms of aftertaste, just the overwhelming sweetness, but monkfruit? Oh, yeah, that's got an aftertaste that I and some other folks don't like.Cocoa powder is listed on the ingredients but only as the 6th ingredient. Don't fool yourself, this isn't milk because the first two ingredients are filtered water and grass fed milk protein isolate. The company never claims this is milk so don't lie to yourself about this if you decide to try it.

Perhaps as an adult, I just don't get what kids like so I offered some to a few parents I know. Don't worry, we social distanced while I gave it to them. The kids thought it was sweet but not too sweet. However, they did not like that aftertaste. I have to wonder who taste tests these sorts of products who actually likes the monkfruit aftertaste?

Iconic Chocolate Carnival Kids Protein Drink

Is getting just 80 calories for 8 fluid ounces worth the sweetness and aftertaste? Calories in a cup of chocolate milk vary from over 200 for whole milk to 120-140 for low fat or skim milk. I'd rather cut back on something else and fully enjoy my chocolate milk than have this with such a horrible aftertaste. Maybe your kids or you love monkfruit and stevia's flavor, someone must, and you aren't allergic to any of the ingredients but for now, I'm feeling sick it hasn't even been a half an hour since I tried this for all of you.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Adding Chocolate To Blueberries

Today is National Blueberry Day!

Blueberries are everywhere in my local stores and in the farmers' markets near me so it is easy to celebrate with fresh fruit. So here are some ideas on how to add some chocolate to you fruity treats featuring blueberries.


Muddied Blueberries
Muddied Blueberries

For every 2-3 ounces of fresh blueberries, mix in 5 g cocoa powder, and 10 g whipped cream.

Wash the berries (if you like, I do) then let them thoroughly dry.

Remove any stems that still are attached to your berries.

Top with the cocoa powder and cream.

Gently blend the ingredients together to make sure the cocoa powder is worked through the cream and it coats the blueberries.

Serve while it is still chilled.

Depending on the ingredients, this quick easy treat may be under 200 calories, too!

Slightly more calories but even more simple is just adding chocolate chips to you blueberries and cream. How many calories difference between this and the above idea will depend on the type of chips you use. I love to use semi-sweet or dark mini-chips because for the same serving size, I get more individual pieces of chocolate. This bowl you see was about 210 calories so not much different from the cocoa powder but I think it had more intense chocolate flavor in each bite.

I'd love to read about your ideas of how you add chocolate to your blueberries and blueberry baked goods so leave me a comment and let me know.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

5 Questions to Determine if Your Chocolate is American Enough

In the United States of America it is the

Even during our 2020 pandemic season, many of us will celebrate in some way. I put out our flag for example and we'll have special food for the entire day including some desserts.

Some folks get quite fancy with their holiday desserts.

But today I want you all to stop and think about Chocolate in a way that may not be how you commonly think about it. Can there truly be USA Chocolate?

There are five questions we need to ask about the chocolate we use in our homes to make our own treats and about the chocolate desserts and treats we may ready made.

#1 Where were the beans grown?

       Hawaii is the only place in the United States where cacao trees can and are being grown. However, Hawaiian cocoa butter and chocolate liquor are barely on the map when it comes to chocolate company usage. The bulk of American brands get their chocolate from five countries – Cote d'Ivoire, Ecuador, Ghana, Dominican Republic, and Papua New Guinea. If you want to know where a brand's beans come from, ask. If they don't know, they aren't processing the beans themselves but buying the ready to use couverture and cocoa powder.

#2 Where were those beans processed into chocolate?

     Some cocoa beans are processed on the farms where they are grown but most is processed after shipment to the company's that turn that into the chocolate products that you and I use. Generally, a brand will use beans from multiple farmers and from multiple countries which is why single-origin is a big marketing point for some chocolate. It is cheaper to mix the beans from different price points and quality than it is to single-source or fair trade them. Many companies that process their own beans are quite proud of that fact and will put that information on their websites.

#3 Where were the final products created?

     American companies are only three of the world's top ten users of chocolate in all its various forms for edible products. These three – Mars Wrigley Confectionery, Mondel─ôz International, and Hershey Co – grew everything from candy (not really chocolate) to fine chocolates. However, there are tons of smaller companies in the USA that make chocolate. Just find out where their beans are from and if they process the beans themselves. Look at the label of what you are thinking of buying and it should tell you where it was made.

#4 Where can you buy it?

     Obviously if you can walk into your store and you live in the USA, it can be bought there, right? But chocolate is an international business so just buying it at a shop is merely one step in this five-link chain of Americanism. You have to ask the final question.

#5 Who profits from those final sales?

     Small, independent chocolate and candy shops are likely to be the ones profiting from their sales but if this question is important to you, ask. Some businesses that seem local may be part of national or international chains, they may be owned by foreign entities, or they could be your neighbor's main economic source. The great thing about buying from local shops instead of online is that you know the employees there are putting money back into your community right away when they spend what they earn on their own groceries, housing, transportation, etc. You can still support non-local American chocolate through online sales. Right now, in July, you'd have to pay extra for shipping and some places simply stop shipping because heat and humidity can harm their creations.

Most of the brands we've covered here on The Chocolate Cult are American owned and made but most are not from Hawaii beans. Except for these and they no longer seem to be in business:

Ultimately you have to decide how many of these conditions -- where were the beans are grown, where the chocolate is process, where the products are created, where you can buy it, and who profits from it -- you want to be made in the USA before you'll call it American.

If you think your chocolate creations quality as truly made of and in the USA, send them our way and we'll share them with our worldwide readership.

Resources Used in this Article

The Stacker

Chocolate University

Hawaii Chocolate Organization

International Cocoa Organization

Amazon Recommendations

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