Saturday, January 26, 2019

Do Nut Butters with Raw Chocolate Make for Fine Bars?

I love it when a new to The Chocolate Cult brand reaches out to us because I love trying new chocolates and because it reaffirms my hope that there is a vibrant chocolate market out there that still has room for new companies of all shapes and sizes. At the end of 2018, the good folks from FINE & RAW chocolate contacted us. Hopefully you read our email interview with a few days back; if not, you may follow this link to find it. We have enough variety to give us three feature articles to see if any of their bars qualify for Sacrament status. Today we're going to start with two bars of different shapes and sizes which both include a tree nut butter as a main ingredient. I know that some of your reading have tree nut allergies but other bars from FINE & RAW will not have those allergens so please check back. For the rest of us, buckle up for this new chocolate experience. We were sent seven free bars from FINE & RAW to test and write about on this blog; no other form of compensation was received for our honest opinions about them.

The Mini Hazelnut Chunky bar is a large square measuring 1/2 inch thick and 1 5/8th inches across. It has a dark brown nearly black glossy color to it and weighs in at 1 ounce. This has an intense dark chocolate fragrance with only a hint of hazelnut though the nut share of the scent increased after I opened up the square. I cut the bar apart to find the inside is a lighter brown and the covering of chocolate is thick. The bar bites off easily but it isn't soft. Immediately I taste dark cocoa with a hint of hazelnut; both have a roasted flavor I was not expecting from a "raw" food but as we know chocolate requires both processing and that includes heat. Even cacao nibs some of you may have had are not truly raw, beans straight out of the cacao pod. The hazelnut here is subtle but I liked that. yes, it did dry my mouth out a bit but darker chocolate often can do that. The ingredients are all labeled organic, too. I have to say while I can get tired of hazelnut and chocolate, I loved this chunky bar.

The cashew butter bar is also 1 ounce but the dimensions are quite different at not even 1/4 inch thick but 3.75 inches long and 1 7/8th inches across. It looks quite different as you can see with 18 etched squares and etched leaf images that match the label as well as "FINE & RAW" written across 4 squares. This bar has a stronger nut scent to it and less of a dark chocolate fragrance. This bar is 54% cacao according to the label but the mini hazelnut chunky didn't say so I'm guessing it was more cacao per weight based on my nose. The squares break apart with a snap but a bite into them makes almost no sound. The initial flavor is the chocolate followed rapidly but the cashew which builds with each chew until it almost overwhelms the chocolate. I also get hints of the lucuma which was we know from another chocolate brand we tried last year can be quite intense. I justs don't like this one as much.

That is your and our introduction to FINE & RAW chocolate through two of their nut butter bars. I loved the Mini Hazelnut Chunky bar and at 130 calories is a winner. But the cashew and lucuma was a bit much for the 54% cacao of the cashew butter bar.

Readers, let me know what you think of these bars either from our description or your experience with them.

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