I am going to Biagio tonight to pick up some new bars and old favs. I’ll post photos and reviews tonight or tomorrow. I can’t wait! Actually, I purchased a Divine chocolate bar from Whole Foods the other day and noticed that although the market did have a wide selection, most of their bars were not 70%-100% cocoa, and many of them had added nuts or fruit. Save for online items, Biagio is still my DC one-stop shop for pure bars. And what bars they are!!
As for an online quest, I happened upon this Health By Chocolate site. Looks interesting. I’ve not tried their bars, but having them doctor-formulated and sold in bulk doesn’t seem to foster unique sampling. It’s more geared toward dermatology and a new diet. Here’s some language from the site: “Now you can be bad to look and feel good!” This is something I’m prone to steer away from. Marketing like this from their FAQs is also a deterrent:
What happens if I go on a Health by Chocolate binge and eat more than one bar?
You’ll be in a very good mood. Chocolate contains a chemical called phenylethylamine, which is the same brain chemical released when we experience the euphoric feeling of being in love.
I know everyone has his or her own interpretation of a chocolate experience. I look for awesome art and marketing, origin, whether it makes the expert headlines (doesn’t always mean it’s the best), and of course the incredible complexities of flavor. Whenever I try a pure bar, I really get a sense of where those (generally four) ingredients come from and wonder how they can possibly taste so different from maker to maker, plantation to plantation. Health by Chocolate bars contain the following:
Organic Ingredients: organic cocoa liquor*, raw cane sugar*, cocoa butter*, dehydrated cane juice*, blueberry, vanilla, fructooligosaccharides, cranberry seed oil, mixed carotenoids.
Why eat something with fructooligosaccharides (FOS), which could have the following side effects:
FOS and inulin are fermented by most bacterial species in the intestine, including Klebsiella, E. coli  and many Clostridium species which are considered less-friendly bacteria in the gut. These species are mainly responsible for the gas formation (hydrogen and carbon dioxide), which results after ingestion of FOS. Most people can eat 5-10 gram of FOS without discomfort, whereas others already have problems with 1 gram. The estimated optimal dose for adult humans is around 5-10 gram/day.
Aside from minor side effects, are these actual healthful organic ingredients or just something else the FDA happens to deem as “safe”? For now, I’m sticking with simplicity.