Saturday, October 10, 2009

Halloween Treats: Taraluna

It's October, and Halloween is celebrated around the world.  In general, it is a festival to honor the dead, but in some countries, like the United States, Canada, the UK, and Ireland, with some incursions into Mexico, it is also a time for Trick or Treating and the giving out of candy.  In the USA, Halloween is the number 1 candy season, so wise companies might want to think of offering spooky choices for handing out to kids and sharing at parties.

Taraluna, a woman-owned, fair-trade, organic and vegan retailer, sent in the first challenge for this year's Best Halloween Treats contest.  They sent four samples, three in Halloween themed boxes.  Two of these are milk chocolate, and two are dark chocolate.

The decoration did not stop with the boxes but continued on to the candies themselves.  The Divine milk chocolate coins came in two sizes, the one you see on the left and a smaller size, and in two colors, a gold and an orange foil.  These are a Netherlands import and are distributed by Divine Chocolate, which is a Ghana farmer-owned cocoa company.  The coins are embossed with the details of the foil, which requires my fingernails to unwrap.  The coin has a very milk chocolatey smell to it when I lift this 1.5 inch diameter piece to my nose.  It tastes creamy and easily melts in my mouth.  There is also a hint of vanilla, though none is listed on the ingredients.  This is a deeper chocolate than many Americans may be familiar with since it contains at least 27% cocoa solids and 10% milk solids.  The result is an amazing two-bite coin that leaves my mouth tingling.

The ingredients for the Spooky milk chocolate foiled balls are basically identical, with 76% of the ingredients certified fair trade.  The tiny ball is half an inch in diameter and has the same smell as the coins.  However, it does not taste quite the same.  It makes a snapping sound when I bite into it because of its thickness, and the taste is less creamy — more earthy, and without that vanilla hint.  These are imported from the UK and distributed by Divine Chocolate as well.  Each ball has almost a gram of saturated fat, so don't eat the entire 2.5 serving box at once.  The foil has five designs: bloodshot eyeball, pumpkin, green skull, purple skull and orange skull.

The other two Taraluna Halloween treats come from Sjaak's and are both certified fair trade and organic.  When you unwrap them they resemble flowers of dark chocolate.  The Orange Bites have a definite orange scent, while the Peanut Butter Bites certainly smell like peanuts.  The Peanut Butter Bites have a bit less saturated fat and fewer sugars, though both products have 150 calories per four-piece serving.  The bottoms of the bags have shredded paper in them to help them stand, but each bag also contains about 24 pieces.  Each flower is about 1.1 inches in diameter and slightly more than a quarter inch thick.

Inside the Orange Bite is a very intense orange gel housed between the thick layers of dark chocolate.  The sweetness and tartness of the citrus at first overpowers the cocoa, but soon they blend together, leaving behind a very solid cocoa buzz.  The Peanut Butter Bite has a solid cream of peanut butter inside that is not too sweet or salty.  It quickly blends with the dark chocolate so that the cocoa is the primary taste after you chew it or let it melt.  Letting these pieces melt releases a lot of high-content cocoa, so unless you like dark chocolate — I'm guessing 60% plus here, since the bags do not say — don't let it just melt. 

Now, I'll be honest, Sisters and Brothers; these are not cheap treats, but each and every one of them is superior in taste and ethics when compared to the average mass-produced treats you can buy in grocery and discount stores around the USA.  If you have only a few dozen trick-or-treaters or are having a small party, seriously consider going fair trade and organic from Taraluna.  For children, go with the milk chocolates; the bitterness of higher cocoa content is an acquired taste.

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


Mellionie Noelle said...

These look awesome, yet yummy and scrumptious.

TammyJo Eckhart said...

Yeah, Taraluna does a good with their Halloween items. And they seem to have the same products year after year so our article should still be good for finding treats.

Thanks for commenting, Mellionie, and bringing the commenting problems to our attention on the FB page.

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