Saturday, August 26, 2017

A New Sugar Free Chocolate Option

"Sugar free" chocolates and candy has been around for decades. With the raise in diabetes a market for no-sugar treats has grown and grown. But replacing sugar with sugar alcohols or sugar substitutes can be problematic for some people as well causing digestive issues, headaches, or just tasting horrible to them. As you may recall from our interview with John Troy a couple of days ago, instead of refined cane sugar he used several different types of very intense sweeteners so that legally they didn't use enough to need to list sugar on the nutritional information. We're going to look at those sweeteners and at the resulting bar itself today. I tested it myself and with others over the course of a week and a half and what we discovered shocked us. I was sent an entire box of Macalat bars for from in exchange for testing out the product and writing as objective an article as I could; no other form of compensation was received in exchange for this piece.

Let's look at the ingredients that sweeten what is organic cacao from Peru at the 70% level of darkness. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol derived from corn, lucuma which is a fruit that is native to the same regions that cacao is, maca root from the Peruvian area, and monk fruit which is a sub tropical fruit. Many of those ingredients have been called "super foods" as has cacao itself. But we can't test those claims, only how they all work together in this bar.

I first tried this bar at the end of June and the beginning of July. I took two bars with me to a convention so I could ask several people I know who like chocolate and candy what they thought. The rest of the bars I left at home under temperature and humidity controlled storage. The eight sections the bar has were easy to snap apart and they oddly didn't make a loud sound when I did so. The scent wasn't particularly chocolate, it was oddly unfragranced so I asked a few others to give the pieces a sniff; not much scent but that's happened before with chocolate bars though generally not at anything above the 55% cacao level. There was an initial snap when I bit one in half but otherwise they were quiet to eat. The first and most dominant flavor was an intense sweetness that was a bit like caramel with an edge of cinnamon. This flavor so dominated that any chocolate required focus for me to pull out and the ending flavor I did not like. It also has a creamy and smooth texture. Half the people who tried it like it but they all thought it was a low cacao bar. The other half of us didn't like the level of sweetness and were very disappointed that at 70% we barely got any chocolate flavor or bitterness at all. But remember what John Troy said; he doesn't like chocolate.

I left the reminding bars in storage for over a month until I had a coloring party back at the beginning of August 2017. I got out two bars and broke them out to set up in case visitors wanted to try them out. I wasn't planning to try it again because I had been so disappointed a month before by the product. One guest tried it and just nodded her head but didn't have more than one piece. Another had it and shook his head and refused to eat the rest of his piece so I asked him why: too bitter, tastes like coffee. What?! At that point I had to try again and I was shocked by what the chocolate tasted like. While I didn't get a strong coffee flavor, the bar was at least 50% less sweet than it had been four weeks before. The aftertaste that I didn't like wasn't nearly as strong, the caramel flavor was more tangy, the cinnamon was still there, there was an edge of bitterness, and I could taste more of the cacao itself. It was as smooth and creamy as better. Since it had been stored well and none of the bars unwrapped this could only mean that they had undergone a chemical change on their own simply over time. That has never happened with any other product we have test here on The Chocolate Cult. That isn't a good or bad thing, just merely a result we needed to share with all of you.

While "superfoods" sound like a great idea, they like the "healthy herbs" that has been in chocolate we've been sent to review before may not improve chocolate. If you don't like chocolate, why eat it at all? If you love or even like chocolate, especially darker chocolate, you'll be disappointed in this bar. If you like very sweet milk chocolate this might work for you but it soon after you get it because the flavor changed. But be careful about the claims that this is better for you. While the nutritional label has 50 in large print for the calories, look closer. There are 4 servings in a bar, a bar at 1.6 ounce is about the size of a normal candy bar and indeed smaller than other candy bars but this still clocks in at 200 calorie per bar. I didn't have any digestive problems with the Erythritol, sugar alcohols, but then I could only eat 1 square worth at any time because of first the sweetness then the coffee like flavor.

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