Chuao Chinita Nibs

April 28, 2008

It took a few bites over a few days, but Chuao’s Chinita Nibs and I have developed a respectful relationship. It’s a 4×6 tablet wrapped in gorgeous purple foil. In fact, that purple color is what roped me into buying the bar in the first place.

At first bite, I really disliked it. The nutmeg flavor is quite potent, and it reminded me, honestly, of crab boil seasoning. Now, Chuao’s tagline is “unusual, unexpected, and delicious.” This was the unexpected part I guess, but it wasn‘t delicious. Crab boil is not a flavor that I really want mixed with my chocolate.

I pulled the bar out again the next day with little enthusiasm, but I wanted to write this review. I was quite surprised to find myself appreciating the bar’s earthy flavor. Now that I knew what to expect, I found the bar to be quite pleasant, and the unfortunate crab boil comparisons faded. The bar is grassy and spicy, but not hot.

The bar is full of nibs; they’re quite visible along the bottom of the bar. They’re crunchy and not fibrous at all. The chocolate is 60% cacao, not too dark but still substantial. However, it definitely plays second-string to the nutmeg’s start. It seems lovely and makes me want to get my hands on more of Chuao’s stuff.

Nutmeg is a spice that is easy to overdo, and I think Chuao crossed the line here. That didn’t stop me from enjoying the bar in small doses, but I don’t have any desire to buy another one. Still, I think a lot of people will love this bar, even if I didn’t.

Nutrition Breakdown: Serving size is 1/2 a bar. There are 200 calories, 15g of fat (6g saturated), 16g of sugar, and 2g of protein per serving.

Rating: 6/10

Name: Chinita Nibs
Brand: Chuao Chocolatier
Store: World Market
Price: $3.99 (sale)
Weight: 2.82 oz. / 80g

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Hershey’s Cacao Reserve Dark Chocolate with Nibs

February 6, 2008

I was checking out Target’s candy clearance again and found these little gems for 24 cents. They are usually a dollar and were well within their expiration date, so it was a nice deal.

When Hershey’s Cacao Reserve line was introduce a couple years ago, I was a little skeptical. It seemed a little weird for Hershey to be dipping into a more “upscale” market. However, I think it’s a good way to introduce the average consumer to dark chocolate and nibs. The Hershey brand name makes it seem more accessible – there are still plenty people out there who aren’t too keen on trying dark chocolate, believe it or not.

This bar is 65% cacao, so it’s still fairly sweet. It’s slightly bitter and woodsy, but mostly just straight chocolate. I think that’s good for the general consumer. There is an ample amount of nibs, which add a good crunch to the bar.

Nutrition Breakdown: Serving size is one 1.3 ounce bar. Each bar contains 190 calories, 14g of fat, 11g of sugar, and 3g of protein. (Note that you can buy this bar in bigger sizes.)

Rating: 8/10 (but a 9 or 10 at the price I got if for)

Name: Cacao Reserve Extra Dark Chocolate with Cacao Nibs
Brand: Hershey’s
Store: Target
Price: $0.24 (reg. $0.99)


Frey Cafe and Cacao

October 22, 2007

I noticed the Frey Supreme line of chocolate bars in the Target aisles a while back, but I’ve only just got around to trying them. They come in a wide range of flavors. I picked up the Cafe and Cacao, and I was going to get the Tiramisu, but decided to have some fun with the Hot Chili Pepper instead. I’ll have a review of that one later.

The bars are 100 gram tablets. They are rather thin, which I think gives them a nice snap. They are split into 10 pieces, so it’s easy to snap pieces off to share. A serving size is four squares (so 2.5 servings per tablet). One serving of the Cafe and Cacao is 210 calories.

The Cafe and Cacao is supposed to be “extra fine milk chocolate with coffee and crispy cocoa nibs.” That’s right up my alley; I love nibby bars and coffee flavor. So, naturally, I ripped this open as soon as I got into my car and ate half of it for lunch (healthy, I know). The rest of it disappeared over the course of the next day, so I’m writing this from memory. This also means that I don’t have any pictures, which I’ll try to include in the future.

The bar smells like a sweet hazelnut coffee, and upon checking the ingredients I see there are ground hazelnuts in there (another favorite of mine). The chocolate is sweet and milky with a fairly creamy texture. The coffee comes through, but not overwhelming so. It’s definitely sweetened by the hazelnuts. I really enjoyed the texture of this bar. While the chocolate is creamy, the cacao nibs (and I suppose the ground hazelnuts) give it a nice crunch and an extra chocolate punch.

Now, I am biased towards this bar because it combines some of my favorite flavors, especially coffee, which I don’t think is used enough in candy. So my final rating?

Rating: 8/10

Name: Cafe and Cacao
Brand: Frey
Store: Target
Price: $1.66