Monday, October 04, 2010

Chocolate Review: Endangered Species' 70% with Cocao Nibs, Yacon & Acai

By Benjamin Skipper

The bar tasted this time is Endangered Species' 70% dark chocolate with cocao nibs, yacon & acai. I never had cocao nibs or yacon before, but I know I love acai berries, so I had high hopes for this bar. To date this has been the biggest disappointment I have faced in my chocolate eating. It tastes almost exactly like the version with goji berry, pecans, and maca. The only real difference I can detect is that the present variety doesn't taste sickeningly sweet, but it still does taste like overly sweet milk chocolate nonetheless.

The biggest problem I see is that the flavors all fuse together in a way that eradicates their individuality, so while I know what acai berries taste like from having drank their juice before I could not isolate their flavor contribution. I thought for sure cocao nibs and yacon would add an unfamiliar dimension, but alas, no individuality! That's a real shame because I know that acai berries at least have a very unique and wonderful flavor that is so uncommon that many people may have never tasted it, and to cloak its individuality for those who actually want to try it is an injustice. I don't care about its health benefits, whether over or understated, I just think they taste like dynamite.

Unless Endangered Species wants to tout its organic line just for its nutritional benefits rather than unique flavor blends, I think ES should segregate these ingredients to give them their own podiums. They could, for instance, resist blending the ingredients together and instead incorporate them into the chocolate in inconsistent pieces, much like they did with the fruit flesh in their raspberry bar. Or maybe, say, they could utilize an extract of one ingredient and then add the others as chunks. For example, chocolate with acai extract and yacon and cocao nibs bits.

All in all, I just think the acai berry deserves its own bar. Other fruits do, so why does this berry need to play with others? Even cacao nibs has its own, though I haven't tried it. If Wikipedia is to be trusted, the flavor description makes yacon sound like it too deserves its own bar. Since these flavors are so uncommonly consumed, what better way to introduce them than in isolation?

I'll be one to finish the bar I've started, but I'm not going to buy or eat it again. It's simply too sweet tasting and eradicates the individuality of its major players.

Keeping track of things, I see my wish list of desired chocolates is growing, though I don't know whether they're being produced or not. In the future I'd like to see, whether by Endangered Species or another company, 70% cocao or higher chocolates that feature in isolation: apricots, peaches, goji berries, acai berries, strawberries, yacon, and tart apples.

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