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


Frey Cinnamon and Blood Orange

February 19, 2008

The first thing I notice when I open a product to review is the smell. That was definitely the case with this bar. No, there was no horrific odor or sublime aroma. It just smelled strange, and rather familiar at that. I stared at it for a minute before I realized what it was – this bar smells like a mix of Juicy Fruit and Big Red gum.

I know. Odd, right? I wasn’t too keen on tasting chocolate that smelled like chewing gum, but I sucked it up and tried it anyway.

This is a white chocolate bar with “a fruity touch of blood orange and cinnamon flavor.” I found the white chocolate to be slightly waxy, but not unpleasantly so. The sweetness isn’t too overwhelming, and the other flavors certainly stand out.

The cinnamon flavor is definitely of the fake Big Red variety. It more akin to Red Hots than the actual spice. However, it’s not spicy at all, as Big Red can sometimes be.

Now, I haven’t actually had a blood orange, so I can’t tell you if the fruit flavor is authentic. My assumption is that it isn’t. It’s citrusy, and yes, a little too reminiscent of Juicy Fruit. The little orange bits throughout the bar (blood orange granules, according to the ingredients) are rather tart and acidic.

I didn’t like this very much. I’m not a huge fan of fruit and chocolate to begin with, and the chewing gum comparisons were very off-putting.

Nutrition Breakdown: There are 2.5 servings per bar. Each serving contains 240 calories, 16g of fat (10g saturated), 19g of sugar, and 2g of protein.

Rating: 4/10

Name: Cinnamon and Blood Orange
Brand: Frey
Store: Target
Price: 1.66 (reg 1.99)
Size: 3.5 oz.


Choxie Fiery Truffle Bar and Cadbury Irish Creme

January 10, 2008

Here are the other two pre-Christmas reviews, sans nutrition info. They’re short so I bundled them together.

Choxie Fiery Truffle Bar

This bar is spiced with ancho pepper, cinnamon, and chipotle powders. It’s a truffle bar, but there is no visible difference between the coating and the center. However, it melts very quickly in the mouth, which is a sign of a truffled center (or at least the addition of palm kernel oil).

It does taste spicy – like red pepper flakes – but it doesn’t burn my mouth. It’s also smoky, though not the same smoky that I associate with chipotle powder. It doesn’t taste very much like chocolate though. In fact, I think it tastes a bit like plastic, or a crayon. No, not appealing at all.

After this and the Frey Hot Chili Pepper, I think that spicy chocolate may not be for me.

Rating: 3/10

Name: Fiery Chocolate Truffle Bar
Brand: Choxie
Store: Target
Price: $1.80

Cadbury Irish Creme

This is your typical sweet, dairy Cadbury chocolate. The bar is split into 18 little squares, each filled with a thick creme. The creme is viscous and beige-colored. It has notes of vanilla and caramel with a kick of alcohol.

I didn’t care for the creme on it’s own, but it did work well with chocolate. It’s not something I would buy again, but it’s not bad.

Rating: 5/10

Name: Cadbury Irish Creme
Brand: Cadbury (by Hershey’s)
Store: Walgreens
Price: $0.79


Larabar Apple Pie

November 7, 2007

Now, a change from all that candy!

Larabars are raw fruit and nut bars. They are unprocessed, gluten free, dairy free, soy free, non-GMO, vegan, kosher, and have no sugar added. Now, tell me that’s not healthy! There are several flavors, including (but not limited to) Pecan Pie, Ginger Snap, Cashew Cookie, and Key Lime Pie. Today I bring the Apple Pie flavor to you.

The best thing is that each flavor has 6 ingredients or less. The Apple Pie bar contains dates, almonds, unsweetened apples, walnuts, raisins, and cinnamon. I love it when I can recognize all of the ingredients in a product!

The bars average around 200 calories each. The Apple Pie contains 180 calories. It has 10 grams of fat, which seems like a lot, but keep in mind that 9 of those grams are healthy unsaturated fat from the nuts. The bar also packs 4 grams each of fiber and protein. It also counts as one serving of fruit on the food pyramid. Nice.

But I don’t eat Larabars just because they are healthy. No, I eat Larabars because they taste good.

I’m not going to pretend that Larabars are attractive. In fact, they look rather unappetizing. The dates hold the other fruit and nuts together in the form of a brick. The nuts are pretty finely chopped, but you do get a chunk of almond occasionally.


I’m not an apple pie expert; I’ve only had it on a couple occasions. But I think the taste is pretty darn authentic. While there are no crust notes, the bar tastes like apple pie filling/baked cinnamon apples. There’s no other way I can describe it. It’s good.

The bars are moist and very filling. I’m not recommending them as a meal replacement, but they do keep me full for more than a couple of hours, which is great when I have five classes in a row. This makes the expense worth it for me: a box if 16 costs about $20. When you consider the average cost of health/energy bars, this really isn’t that bad.

With so many bad-tasting, not-all-that-healthy health food bars out there, it’s nice to see a product that uses the simplest ingredients to give us something tasty and healthy.

Rating: 9/10

Name: Apple Pie Larabar
Brand: Larabar
Store: Amazon.com / Drugstore.com
Price: About $20 for 16 bars


Frey Hot Chilli Pepper

November 6, 2007

I’d never had a spicy chocolate bar before, so this was a first. It’s described as “extra fine dark chocolate with chilli.” It’s 55% cocoa solids, which I think of as classic dark chocolate. It certainly smells of chili, and when you snap it in half you can see the little reddish bits.

Like the other Frey bars, this is on the thin side. It is a 100g tablet with 2.5 servings per bar and 210 calories per serving.

Lets first talk about my expectations for this bar. I didn’t expect any heat or burn. I expected that the chili would lend more complexity to the chocolate. What I got was the total opposite. The initial taste was your standard, slightly sweet dark chocolate. A few seconds later, the heat started. It wasn’t really spicy, just hot; the kind that leaves a burn in your throat.

Now, I’m used to spicy/hot foods, so this was a fun surprise for me, but if you don’t like heat, stay away! I only ate two of the ten pieces, and I’ll probably share the rest. It’s a fun novelty, and I’m glad I tried it, but it’s not something that I really like. The chili just didn’t add enough to the chocolate; it was more like a special effect.

However, these could be good for practical jokes..

Rating: 4/10

Name: Hot Chilli Pepper
Brand: Frey
Store: Target
Price: $1.66