Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Kallari Chocolate (Product Review)

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A few weeks ago, I had an email from Gaby Cadena at Kallari Chocolate, offering to send me some sample bars and asking if I’d be willing to review them here.  You might imagine that my first response was “Free chocolate?  Are you kidding?  Yes, please!”  But the truth of the matter is, I get a lot of emails of this sort.  I don’t generally agree to review a product unless 1.) it’s a natural fit–and you’d be surprised how many people claim to have read and loved this blog, all the while asking me to feature their handmade jewelry or driver’s training course or some other product that, while it may be fabulous, has little or nothing to do with food–and 2.) it comes from a source that clearly needs free advertising.  Once I receive the product, it has to 3.) receive a positive review from the Foodie family, because I don’t write negative reviews.  I think stony silence is the most effective negative review on the market.

So you will be pleased to learn that Kallari Chocolate makes its appearance here today, both because 1.) it’s edible and 2.) it’s made by a small, farmer-owned cooperative in Ecuador that uses sustainable farming methods.  And, I am happy to report, 3.) they produce a truly superior product.  Seriously, this is chocolate worth the money.

Gaby sent me three bars of Kallari Chocolate–70% cacao, 75%, and 85%.   You’ll note that the 70% bar isn’t pictured above, and that’s because we ate it immediately after it arrived.  Sweet, creamy chocolate bliss.  Gone in seconds.  Then we decided we should have some sort of method to our review, so we agreed to eat the next two bars in order of cacao content.  Yesterday, we shared the 75% bar and discovered that we liked it even more than the 70%, though none of us really believed that would be possible.  Today, we tried out the 85% bar.  Although it’s pleasantly creamy, not dry and mealy as some dark chocolate can be, we all agreed it was a little too bitter for snacking purposes.  I’m going to buy additional bars and try out this recipe for Chocolate Tres Leches Cake from the Kallari website (although I’ll have to make a gluten-free version.  Naturally, I’ll report back with my results.)

Chocolate is one of those products that many people take for granted–it’s right there at the checkout stand at your local grocery store, and it’s right there on the shelf in the baking aisle.  Many of us don’t even think about the fact that chocolate starts with farmers.  In this case, chocolate starts with 850 farming families who want to support themselves by charging a fair price for a product that tastes the way it should.  We were all amazed that Kallari Chocolate (even the 85% bar) was so silky.  That, apparently, is due to the use of cocoa butter as an emulsifier.  Cocoa butter, you will be pleased to know, contains high levels of stearic acid,  which helps to control the levels of cholesterol in your body.   In other words, this is a snack you can feel good about eating for many, many reasons.

For the next month or so, Kallari is running a Kickstarter campaign in the hope of raising enough money to start producing chipped chocolate that will work in your favorite recipes.  Take a moment to consider, if you will, your favorite chocolate chip cookies made with truly exceptional chocolate chips.  Will you pay more for those chocolate chips?  Of course.  You always pay more for better quality.   But in this case, you’re also paying more because you’re offering a fair wage to the farmers who put that chocolate in your hands.  I’m hoping the Kallari chocolate chips will be available in time for the Christmas baking season, because they’ll make for some very special holiday treats.

I hope you’ll think about donating to the Kickstarter campaign–or, at the very least, try a bar of their chocolate for yourself, or buy a bar for a friend if you’re a crazy non-chocolate-loving person.  (You can use this link to find a retailer near you or an online chocolate source.)    I’m always in favor of buying straight from the farmer who raised your food . It’s important to remember that those farmers are involved with more than our fruits and veggies, though–they’re behind our favorite sweet treats, too.

 

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