Sunday, September 21, 2008

Gimme Some Mo' Cocoa

As promised, today I present you with a few product reviews. I've noticed that the new products I've been trying over the past few weeks have a common ingredient...cocoa! There's just something about that intense bittersweet flavor that keeps me comin' back for mo'. Most recently, I've been satisfying the craving with Jocolat bars, Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips, and Living Harvest Chocolate Chili Hemp Protein.

Put simply, the people at the Larabar HQ are geniuses. Every product I have tried has been truly delectable, and the chocolate Jocalat bar was no exception. The flavor was nothing but deep, rich, (dare I say it?) fudginess.

I am reluctant to use such phrasing because I find it hard to believe given the list of ingredients. Larabar has created a name for itself on the fact that its products feature short but sweet ingredients lists, usually consisting of no more than dried fruit and nuts. The Jocolat varieties include a few more ingredients to get that brownie-like taste, but the list is still impressively simple. The chocolate bar that I tried included dates for that luscious sweetness, plus organic almonds, walnuts, cocoa powder, cocoa mass, and cashews.

While many choose Larabars for convenient on-the-go or on-the-job snacks, I enjoyed mine within the comfort of my own home and washed it down with a glass of chilled almond milk. Perhaps eating the Jocolat bar this way enhanced its brownie-ness; I siezed the opportunity to relax with a healthy indulgence.

Healthy indulgence? Isn't that an oxymoron? Not this time. The chocolate Jocolat bar contains 190 kcalories and 10 grams of fat, only 2 of which are saturated. The fats in this bar are derived from all those heart-healthy nuts in the ingredients--there is no need to feel guilty about the fat content on this bar. Additionally, there are 5 grams of protein and a whopping 5 grams of fiber, a combination that will assuredly keep you satisfied for a while. The 18 grams of sugar present in the bar is a bit high, but the sugar content comes not from added sugars but from a natural and whole ingredient: dates.

Other nutritional benefits include 10% RDA for iron, 8% RDA for magnesium, plus 3 grams of Omega-6 fatty acids, and each bar counts as one fruit serving.
I can't wait to try some of the other flavors!!
Other flavors currently available include chocolate orange, chocolate cherry, chocolate mint, chocolate coffee, and chocolate hazelnut. What are your favorites?

Warning: Jocolate bars can be pricey--at Whole Foods they cost upwards of $1.79.

Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
In case you haven't noticed, I like to make shakes...a lot. A few weeks ago I was in search of the perfect Choco-nana shake topper when I stumbled upon these chocolate chips. As the package proudly proclaims, they are dairy, soy, and gluten free, making them perfect for allergy sufferers and vegans alike.

I was immediately struck by the short ingredients list: evaporated cane juice, chocolate liquor, and non-dairy cocoa butter. Sounds like a good combination to me. These chips are actually miniature chocolate chips, and each tiny piece packs intense cocoa flavor. They have made a great addition to my evening shake indulgences, but you could also include them in your favorite chocolate chip cookies or mix them into a trail mix.

Each serving contains 75 kcalories, 5 grams of fat (3 gram saturated), and 7 grams of sugar. The saturated fat is a bit high, but the likelihood of my eating multiple servings in one sitting is low, so I think it's alright to live a little:)
Each 10 oz. bag costs just $1.99 at Whole Foods, much lower than other brands that charge as much $4.39.

Living Harvest Chocolate Chili Hemp Protein
Thanks to a recommendation from a certain VeggieGirl, I have a new recent obsession: Living Harvest Hemp Protein. I use this powder in my blender concoctions almost every night. Its taste and nutritional profile are nearly impossible to match.

It wasn't until recently that I got a chance to try the chocolate chili flavor; I had formerly been a devoted vanilla spice fan. All it took was one rendezvous with a frozen banana, and I was hooked on this flavor too. The chili flavor is almost indetectable except for a slight kick in the background; the most prominent component of the taste is cocoa by far.
Yet another pleasantly brief ingredients list for this product: Hemp Protein (100% Organic Hemp Seed), Organic Unrefined Whole Cane Sugar, Organic Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, Organic Cinnamon, Organic Pure Ground Vanilla Bean and Organic Chilies.

A generous 4 tablespoon serving provides 130 kcalories, 3.5 grams of fat, 8 grams of protein, and a surprising 9 grams of dietary fiber. The sugar content remains low at 6 grams, despite the fact that there are no artificial sweeteners present. Love it!

You can purchase Living Harvest products online at their website or other e-retailers, such as Some Whole Foods may also carry canisters of the chocolate chili powder.

I hope you enjoyed this second round of product reviews. Happy Sunday!


VeggieGirl said...

LOVE. ALL. THESE. PRODUCTS!!!! Did you raid my pantry?!?!?! Haha ;0)

First of all, when you said, "Put simply, the people at the Larabar HQ are geniuses" - I couldn't agree more, my friend!! The chocolate-hazelnut variety is heavenly (since I love hazelnuts).

Secondly, I USE THOSE CHOCOLATE CHIPS FOR BAKING!!! Oh yes, they're divine.

Last but not least, LIVING HARVEST HEMP PROTEIN!!! Whoo hoo!! Haha. I make protein shakes with that stuff EVERY SINGLE DAY - such a great, nutritious addition to one's diet.

And thank you for the shout-out, Miss Chickpea :0)

sweetpotato said...

Looks like I've got to make a trip to Whole Foods for those chocolate chips! I am so sick of buying the expensive chocolate chips!

Anonymous said...

Chocolate Covered Vegan just did a review of the Jocolats too. They must be really good and worth trying.


ttfn300 said...

ooh, I just tried my first jocolat, but now I'll have to get my hands on some of that protein powder, too!

Kimberly said...

Mmmmm... cocoa. I'm so glad to hear that the chocolate-chili flavor was a success -- so many people run away screaming before giving that combo a chance! I got hooked on chocolate chili bites in Mexico.

I'll have to give those Jocalat bars a try!

Emma said...

mmm tasty eats- I am dying to try a Jocalat bar now after both you an CCV have posted about how great they are!

Unfortunately, they don't sell them here in the UK so I'll have to get them shipped over but I think they'll be worth it!

CeciLiA said...

Aw man! All these scrumptious health bar reviews are making me crave for Larabars, Jocolat bars and .... Why can't we get them here!!!!!!! T_T

U know I actually had a dream of me going to Whole Foods?!! BUT I woke up midway through it - SO MAD!!!

Nehoos, ya ... your posts are awesome, keep up with the excellent work girl!!

newcitygirl said...

Oh man, I LOVE the jocolat bars! Chocolate coffee is the next one you should try! I think it might be my favorite!

ChickPea said...

VeggieGirl: Glad you liked it! Many of them were recommendations from you!!
SweetPotato: Yep, those choc chips can be crazy expensive--take a deal where you can get it!
Sarah: You're right--they're worth it!
ttfn300: Yes, please do try it and let me know what you think!
Kimberly: Yes, Mexican brownies are one of my favorite kinds...but then again, I like almost all brownies.
Emma: Yes, I think having them shipped would be worth it. I notice that sells a variety pack of the Jocolat bars, if you're interested.
Cecilia: Haha, loved hearing about your dream. I wish that could dream could last forever!
NewCityGirl: Thanks for the rec! I will see if I can afford it on my next WF trip:)

eatingbender said...

Wow, you are really, really good at writing product reviews! Seriously, so thorough - I could almost taste each of them!

Of all the Jocolat bars, I've only tried the chocolate one - and like you, I loved it! I definitely think it's better to enjoy it as a dessert so you can savor the fudge :o)

Those chocolate chips and the hemp protein are both new ones for me, but they sound great! I've been meaning to snag one of the small servings of hemp protein from Whole Foods so I could try it out. I love chocolate so perhaps this one will be my first! And then I can top it with those awesome chocolate chips!

ChickPea said...

EatingBender: Thanks! I've had a lot of practice writing product reviews, as I spent a good part of the summer between freshman and sophomore years writing for Iateapie. I'm glad you liked them!
Yes, I highly recommend the chocolate and vanilla flavors, but sadly those are not available in the little packets. The original flavor is super nutritious though, even if it doesn't have quite the same flavor as the others.
As for the vanilla hemp ingredients, here they are from the website:
Hemp Protein (100% Organic Hemp Seed), Organic Unrefined Whole Cane Sugar, Organic Cinnamon, Organic Maca and Organic Pure Ground Madagascar Vanilla Bean.