MULTIPLE Chocolate Bars Review?!

Helloooo chocolate!

I know that it has been quite some time since I posted a review (or anything really- damn you essays!), but today I am making up for that. With a review of not one, but FOUR chocolate bars. I also figured out how to create a little collage of pictures at the top of the post- impressive, no? So, below is a quick review of four different chocolate bars, all of which would probably class themselves as “healthy”. But which ones taste great? I’ll leave links to the places you can buy all of these down below, and leave you to read on, because there is an iced coffee with my name on (literally) in the Starbucks around the corner…

Cavalier Hazelnut Milk Chocolate

RATING: 3/5 stars

This was okay. The chocolate didn’t have a weird aftertaste (which was an issue with two of these bars, as you will see). However, as I’m used to dark chocolate I also didn’t think it tasted of much. It was milk chocolate, but wasn’t super-creamy. Perhaps if you aren’t a dark chocolate or a super-creamy chocolate person you will find your perfect balance here. There are pieces of hazelnut in it, they are evenly distributed- they are also VERY small. However, kudos to Cavalier, there is more hazelnut here than in a bar of dairy milk. Sugar free, which for diabetics or the sugar-conscious is always an upside. It wasn’t the best sugar-free chocolate I’ve had (I love The Lite Company, and Discover for sugar-free), it wasn’t the worst.

Ombar Blueberry & Acai

4/5 stars

This was the highest scoring bar of the bunch. Seriously rich, dark chocolate. Really fruity blueberry-acai taste. Its not one I would be eating all in one go (very often) because of how strongly flavoured it is. This could be an all-time favourite chocolate though. Looking at the ingredients this is suitable for vegans, if you’re a vegan on a chocolate hunt, and love berry flavours. Highly recommend.

Ombar Coconut & Vanilla Centres

3.5/5 stars

I didn’t not like this bar. But it did have a slightly odd aftertaste. The texture though, was amazing. Creamy, smooth, super-decadent truffle-y centre (not too much, not too little for me- though I know some of you may find the amount slightly disappointing, I think it would be too sickly with any more). It’s vegan, so its also obviously dairy-free, in-case this is something that you look for. Intense coconut flavour, slight vanilla undertone. It was okay, but I personally would rather buy a different flavour if purchasing again.

Doisy & Dam Toasted Rice, Maple & Pink Salt

1.5/5 stars

This was the most disappointing chocolate I tried out of all of the bars. I bought Doisy & Dam because it has recently been all over my favourite YouTube and IG accounts. Perhaps it was just this one flavour? There are LOADS of beautiful flavours on the website, and the majority sound very appealing. I only went with this bar because I ADORE salty-sweet, and this was available in a small bar. However, this was both too salty and too sweet. I have no idea how they managed this. I usually LOVE super-dark chocolate, opting for around 80%, so this wasn’t particularly too dark- but it was a bit too bitter for some reason. This could possibly be due to the super-sweet maple and the super-salty pink salt throwing my taste buds off. Disappointing. Still ate it. Still going to try the other flavours- but wouldn’t recommend this one. Coconut & Lucuma, or Goji & Orange, or Lemon, Poppy Seed & Baobab (that’s a white chocolate one) are on my to-try list. Fingers crossed that they taste better than this one.

 

 

Cavalier Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts right here

Ombars right here

Doisy & Dam right here

The Lite Chocolate Company: Mint Dark Chocolate Review

wp-1489248086265.jpgIf you remember me falling in love with this brand a few posts back, then you won’t be surprised to hear that I had high hopes for the rest of the chocolate bars. Queue mint dark chocolate (I’ve left a link to where you can buy it just there, if you fancy trying it after the review), which is actually my favourite kind of dark chocolate, and so had a lot to live up to.

This bar still has the smooth chocolate of the orange bar that I reviewed, but doesn’t have any bits in it. Which means anyone who likes purely smooth chocolate can rejoice. The mint flavour is delicate, cool, and crisp. The chocolate is rich, being of the Belgium variety. I actually finished this bar in two sittings, which means it greatly impressed me. At approximately 200kcal per half a bar (40g of chocolate), and containing a tiny amount of sugar,  I  still class this as a treat- but a slightly healthier version of a treat. Not to mention that dark chocolate is also a probiotic apparently, and contains some antioxidants. Totally justifiable…

Which brings me nicely to nutritional values, because I know that if you’re looking for a lower sugar chocolate to take care of your teeth a bit more, or because you’re diabetic, or simply to switch up your regular Cadbury’s/Galaxy/Lindtt (have to say, I do love the latter) – then this is probably what you want to know. The chocolate is sweetened with stevia, which comes from a species of plant, and after research is currently considered to be a healthier alternative to regular sugar by the NHS. If you’re a coeliac, then this chocolate is also gluten free. If you track macros (I don’t) it’s low carbohydrate (my love of carbs prevents me from caring about this to be honest, but its a fun fact for you all).

So, the nutritional values, per half of a bar, as that’s what I ate:

195kcal, 15g fat (9.5g saturated), 6g carbohydrates, 1.2g of which are sugar, 14.7g fibre, 2.4g protein, 0.09g salt.

The chocolate is still high in saturated fat, at 9.5g per half a bar. However, a) you don’t have to eat half a bar in one go, I just did because it was delicious, and my diet tends to be low in saturated fats generally so I felt entitled to treat myself (#balance), and b) this is still chocolate, and so of course it will contain cocoa butter, and so will contain some fat.

The ingredients:

cocoa mass, fibre, cocoa butter, sweetener (miltitol), fat reduced cocoa powder, mint flavour, emulsifier, sweetener (steviol glycosides), natural flavours.

Not too bad when you check out the back of a regular chocolate bar! The cocoa content of the bar is 52% (that’s how dark the chocolate is), which did make me sceptical about how much I would like the chocolate itself, being a fan of super-dark varieties. However, the lower cocoa content does work here; still dark, but it allows the mint flavour to come through wonderfully. The lack of sickly-sweet flavour also means that the cocoa flavour itself isn’t lost. Equalling one well-balanced chocolate bar in the taste department.

All in all I would 100% recommend this chocolate as a healthier treat. It is still chocolate, but it’s a great alternative to some of the more artificial flavour/colour packed bars out there. I’d also purchase it for diabetic friends and relatives, should they be looking for a sugar-free chocolate. As with the orange bar though, this has probably become one of my favourite chocolate bars, full stop, in the universe of chocolate bars- whether they contain sugar or are sugar free.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pear & Chocolate Protein Smoothie

wp-1484842033994.jpgAfter the gym, if I need a snack instead of a meal, then I always opt for a smoothie. Usually a banana and chocolate smoothie, as I’m not generally a fan of tropical smoothies. However, pear and chocolate is one of my other favourite chocolate combos- and so that’s that we’re doing today.

I used a mixture of cacao and pea protein powders to give me both chocolate flavour and protein, making this suitable for vegans and those who can’t eat dairy- but a chocolate whey protein is also an ideal substitute for these ingredients.

Happy blending!

Ingredients

  • 1 large pear, chopped into small chunks, microwaved until tender, and stored in the fridge overnight (ALTERNATIVELY, you can use 80g of canned pears for ease; this also gives a smoother texture- but make sure that they are chilled. As these blend more easily than fresh pear, you could even freeze them to ensure a super-cold and refreshing drink)
  • 200ml unsweetened almond milk
  • 1tbsp cacao powder (I used Seven Hills)
  • 1tbsp pea protein (I used Pulsin)
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • OPTIONAL: 1tsp maple syrup (if you really have a sweet tooth; I personally didn’t add this), ice

Method

  • Into a blender place all of the ingredients, and simply blend until smooth. My blender isn’t too high-tech, and so there were still some pear chunks, but as I’m not fussy this was no issue for me! (If chunks are an issue, then see the “alternative” in the ingredients).

Healthy Chocolate & Berry Pancakes

wp-1477143214901.jpg

This recipe was going to be a sweet potato and fig pancake stack. Clearly, it is not a sweet potato and fig pancake stack. However, I’m fairly confident that a lot of you love chocolate, and what with the root veg overload going on due to it being autumn (sweet potato, butternut squash, or pumpkin anyone?) I felt as if you may be fancying a bit of a change. Don’t worry though, sweet potato pancakes will be making an appearance in the next few weeks.

This recipe is super simple (as per), and require minimal effort. It takes about 10 minutes start to finish, and you’ll end up with bittersweet chocolate pancakes, with little pockets of juicy berries throughout. You also have the added bonus of knowing that they contain nothing bad for you- instead, you get some fibre from the flour, protein from the Greek yoghurt and egg, some fruit, and a hit of antioxidants from the cacao. If you’re vegan, then omit the honey and Greek yoghurt, using agave and soy or coconut yoghurt -or similar- instead, and a flax egg should work just fine (fingers crossed. Let me know if you try it).

Before we get cracking, my top tips to make sure this recipe goes smoothly are:

  1. Pick smaller mixed berries, or ones that can easily be mashed into smaller chunks. Go for red and blackcurrants, blueberries, or crushed raspberries. Frozen berries are something that is easier to have in that fresh right now, but just don’t go with whopping great strawberries. They release too much water as the pancakes heat up. Alternatively, you can use fresh berries- I just felt that frozen was a more accessible option.
  2. Don’t be tempted to overload your pan. About two pancakes will fit in at any one time. Make it too thick, and the middle will remain uncooked.

Finally, if you’re looking for more pancake recipes, then check out my chocolate, PB & banana pancakes right here– from way back when I was on BlogSpot, so enjoy the trip down memory lane.

Ingredients (Makes 3-4 pancakes, 1 serving)

  • 50g wholemeal self-raising flour
  • 2tbsp cacao, or unsweetened cocoa powder- I used Seven Hills Cacao this time around.
  • 50ml almond milk, unsweetened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2tsp baking powder
  • 1-2 drops vanilla
  • Scant 1/2 cup frozen berries
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tsp honey, optional
  • Greek yoghurt, optional

Continue reading “Healthy Chocolate & Berry Pancakes”

Healthy Chocolate-Chip Chickpea Cookie Dough

wp-1484392750797.jpgFinally, finally, I have a perfect chickpea cookie dough. This has taken three attempts and numerous cans of chickpeas to perfect, but I think that I’ve cracked it. It has the perfect thick, doughy texture, melting pockets of chocolate, a slight saltiness, a subtle sweetness…its just more than satisfying to eat. And it’s also just in time for biscuit week on GBBO.

Now, I am not a sweet person; if you are then one change I would recommend you with this recipe is adding in another 1/2-1tbsp maple syrup, or a couple of fresh medjool dates (do try it without first though, as it tastes great already). If you choose to add the maple syrup, then you may want to reduce the milk by 1tbsp to maintain the thick texture.  As I haven’t personally made this adjustment you’ll have to let me know how it goes!

For this recipe I decided to use some sugar free chocolate I was kindly sent by Discover (review right here:https://ecstaticallyem.wordpress.com/2016/08/24/discover-mini-gianduiotto-review/ ). The texture of this chocolate worked so well in this recipe, but I know that it can be hard to get hold of in shops as its made down south (you can order online), and it’s also a little pricy for the Gianduiotto. The bars themselves are cheaper if you can get hold of them, but alternatively you can use any chocolate you have to hand and it will work just fine. These little chocolates have a hazelnut taste to them, and it really adds something to the recipe, so definitely try a nutty chocolate in the recipe.

With all that said, enjoy this super-easy recipe and let me know what you think! You can eat this just as the dough, serve it with some ice-cream, spread it onto sliced apple- or any other way you can think of. Let’s get going…

Continue reading “Healthy Chocolate-Chip Chickpea Cookie Dough”

Discover “Mini Gianduiotto”- Review

If you’ve followed me since before I moved over to WordPress, then you may remember my review of three awesome chocolate bars I picked up at a farm shop down south (read it right here if you haven’t already: https://ecstaticallyem.wordpress.com/2016/08/09/discover-chocolate-review/ ) . Well, following that review, Discover offered me a bag of their Mini Gianduiotto (jan-dwee-ott-o) to review for you all. What are Gianduiotto? Well, you wouldn’t be the first not to know (I didn’t), but you can find out below…

Gianduiotto are a speciality chocolate from Turin (in the Piedmont region of Italy). They have a shape similar to a little upturned boat, and are usually made from a mixture of sugar, cocoa, and hazelnut paste. I can see Italians wanting to roast me in a pizza oven for this, but think solid Nutella. Solid Nutella blessed by the movie star of your choice, dusted with glitter from the realms of unicorns, and then dipped in chocolate melted in the holy grail (ooh-er). Nutella has dreams about being these chocolates. They have a super smooth texture, melt in the mouth, and it’s hard to find the genuine product in the UK. Until Discover stepped in.

Discover’s Gianduiotto have one difference from the original: no sugar. Yep, they are sugar free. Which makes them a great healthy alternative. They still have the super smooth texture, the upturned boat shape- and they are still dangerously easy to eat- but they have the advantage of being better for you. The high quality hazelnuts used provide good fats, protein, dietary fibre, and antioxidants (according to Discover’s website). Continue reading “Discover “Mini Gianduiotto”- Review”