From shakes, toasts, and even beer, we’d like to think that we’ve seen it all when it comes to avocado-flavored food iterations. But this latest sweet, an avocado chocolate bar with actual tortilla chip bits inside, is one that comes out of left field. Yet even though the combo is a head-scratcher on paper, and either open or curious mind will lead you to a chocolate bar that is surprisingly delicious and hits familiar flavor profiles and textures.
From the creative chocolate minds over at Compartes, namely founder and owner Jonathan Grahm, this new avocado & chips chocolate bar is a limited-edition flavor that capitalizes on the success of last year’s avocado chocolate bar.
What sounds like the wrong flavor duo to make into a chocolate immediately becomes validated once you realize the valuable crunch that the bits of tortilla chips provide. Think of the satisfying crip you get from a Nestle Crunch bar, only with the complimentary saltiness that plays well with the smooth and creamy avocado-based chocolate.
Availableonlinefor shipping nationwide and select retailers for $9.95, this new Avocado & Chips bar is a new take on the tried and true salty and sweet dynamic that we all love.
Cold vapor filled the supersized metal bowl, spilled out onto the counter, and crawled under the glass panel between me and said bowl. Here at Creamistry, in Irvine, CA, the ice cream is made to order using ultra cold liquid nitrogen that insta-freeze’s the contents of each ice cream. I’m waiting to try their newest flavor, ruby cacao, the “fourth type” of chocolate.
Chocolate ice cream isn’t usually my thing but, hey, this one is pink. So I had to try it, right?
The ice cream’s initial flavor isn’t chocolate. Mildly sweet, almost floral at first, the initial lusciousness is more reminiscent of berries. Eventually it gives way, leaving a slight acerbity to remind you that you’re still eating chocolate.
Creamistry’s special flavor comes served as is or in a sundae that’s loaded to the brim with fresh strawberries and blueberries, whipped cream, and chocolate chips. While relatively simple, in terms of Creamistry’s creation (we’re talking about a place that makes an Elvis Presley sundae with banana ice cream, peanut butter, and candied bacon), the fresh fruit and the whipped cream work together to accentuate the fruitiness of the ice cream.
Ruby cacao sent the chocolate industry into a frenzy in 2017 when the manufacturer Barry Callebaut announced that it had discovered a fourth kind of chocolate, one that was a milky pink color.
The exact making of the treat is a secret, but it’s theorized that the chocolate is made using unfermented cacao beans. The fermentation is where the cacao beans get their usual brown color before being made into chocolate. Instead, the beans are instead acidified before they’re made into chocolate, causing them to retain their original red color profile.
The different production process leaves ruby cacao’s taste somewhere in between white and milk chocolate.
For ice cream this works perfectly. The flavor isn’t overwhelmingly sweet, but it’s enough to fix anyone’s sweet tooth.
This flavor is only available for the summer, though. And who knows when ruby cacao will become publicly available en masse, so you’ll want to scoop up a sundae soon if you want to try the fabled fourth chocolate.
Easter is weeks away but Tim Hortons has already begun celebrating the spring holiday with the release of their newest donut. For fans of the time-honored Cadbury Mini Egg, this is a must-cop.
Tim Hortons locations across the United States have begun selling these new Cadbury Mini Egg Donuts.
The donuts are covered with white fondant, green sprinkles, and finished with a nest of three Cadbury Mini Eggs resting on top. Cadbury’s mini eggs are made with a rich and creamy milk chocolate and covered in a crispy candy shell that come in a variety of pastel colors.
Visually, it’s one of the coolest fast food donuts I’ve seen. Part of me, however, wishes these were also filled with Cadbury’s famous egg creme. But perhaps that’s a discussion for another Easter drop.
Those looking to sink their teeth into this Easter addition can find them at all Tim Hortons locations across the US through April 21.
Because of global warming, scientists are pretty sure we will be witnessing chocolate extinction sometimes in the next three decades. But some researchers are trying to save cacao plants by then.
Climate change, no matter how disputed in certain narrow but very loud circles, is very much a reality and if we don’t do something about it now, it will affect us in many ways in the years to come. Sure, chocolate is definitely not the most horrific thing we might have to deal with. But it is something we might lose soon, as well as coffee and other daily delights. Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are warning that cacao plants might disappear in the next 30 years. And along with them, we will face a chocolate extinction.
How do we solve chocolate extinction?
Luckily, people are quite motivated to do something about it. And as a sometimes-grumpy face, I want to point out that this is just curing a symptom of the disease, not climate change itself. But there’s also a future in it for chocolate, so I’m kind of for it.
According to NOAA’s report, this generation of crops won’t be affected by climate change, but the next generation will. So, scientists have plenty of time to figure it out or at least buy some time before the situation gets out of hand. And I hope they do. A future would be much sadder without some nice chocolate, chocolate cake or hot chocolate. Chocolate in all shapes, sizes, and desserts.
In late 2017, Swiss confectioner Barry Callebaut invented what they’ve since called the “fourth type” of chocolate: ruby. Made with unique ruby cocoa beans, the resulting product has a natural pink hue and fruity flavor, and is the first new type of chocolate to be discovered in 80 years.
To date, ruby chocolate has been hard to track down in the United States. A couple of high-end retailers have sold it before, and many other parts of the world have been treated to ruby chocolate Kit Kats. Until recently, though, no major retailer in the US was selling the coveted chocolate type.
Trader Joe’s changed that when they debuted their Ruby Cacao Wafers in early February. As the first major retailer to sell the chocolate, they’ve opted to present it in a more pure form. The “wafers” are more like baking chips that you can melt down and use for just about any standard chocolate application.
Foodbeast had the chance to try Trader Joe’s wafers, and found the flavor of the ruby cacao to be pretty intriguing. It’s definitely fruity and reminiscent of white chocolate, but also has some raisin-like notes. It doesn’t taste like any flavorings are used, but is naturally aromatic, something surprising for a sweet with such a vibrant hue.
This is the first chance USA consumers have gotten to get the ruby chocolate in mainstream form, and hopefully, more big brands will follow suit in the near future.
You can get the Ruby Cacao Wafers at Trader Joe’s for a limited time, with a 5 ounce package selling for $2.99.
The variety of candies available to us is truly a reflection of our tastes. Folks want fresh and unique ideas on their palates in the same way we want it for our technology. M&M understands our hankering for the distinctly delicious and has released three new flavors for us to judge to our heart’s content.
These new flavors spotlight the countries of Mexico, Thailand, and England for this year’s internationally inspired Flavor Vote, a yearly contest that gives consumers the power to decide which flavor deserves a permanent spot in the line-up.
And in the running this year, introducing: Mexican Jalapeño Peanut, Thai Coconut Peanut, and English Toffee Peanut.
M&M designed these flavors to genuinely represent their respective countries and guide taste buds on a personal vacation. Think of the right balance of chocolate and Mexican spice, the fresh coconut in the tropics of Thailand , and the elegance of Great Britain’s classic toffee candy.
True to the international theme, M&M is offering one lucky voter an opportunity to vacation in all three countries. “We believe flavors have the power to transport you, and this time, we are making that journey a reality by offering participating fans the chance to win a trip around the world,” stated Allison Miazga-Bedrick, Brand Director, M&M’s.
Cast your vote and enter for a chance to win on www.flavorvote.mms.com, or text “Vote” to 84444 and follow the instructions. M&M fans can vote once per day until May 17.
The winning flavor will be announced August 2019 and become available nationwide shortly thereafter.
Meet the food playing the food, disguised as another food.
If you’ve ever been skeptical about brands being a bit deceitful in the food they sell you, there’s good reason for it, as there’s a little something called “food fraud,” and it happens in the most unusual of instances.
Dr. Hellberg and her team at Chapman University have dedicated their lives to researching fraudulent food, identifying the specific genes within different foods, and ultimately discovering sketchy practices within the industry.
While some companies have been publicly exposed and corrected the course, food fraud is easy to repeat, and has been a problem for hundreds of years.
Here are the foods, and some fraudulent examples that will leave you walking around the grocery store with constant doubt.
“Pepper is really interesting ’cause it has a really long history of fraud,” Dr. Hellberg said. “Even dating back to Roman times, there are instances of… fraudulent pepper being sold.”
While you’d think pepper would get its act together over the last 600 years, fraudulent practices still occur today. From adding dirt, to dried juniper berries, pepper manufacturers still try to get that weight up on the cheap. If you ever feel your lemon-pepper shrimp tastes like dirt, now you know why.
Honey is the third most faked food in the world, according to New York Times best selling book, Real Food, Fake Food.
Dr. Hellberg said that with honey, a lot of times, sugars will be mixed in, so you’re not actually getting the 100 percent honey that’s put on the label.
If you’re in the loop with bees being wiped out at a rapid pace, this one may or may not be that surprising to you.
“With wine there’s a lot of possibilities for fraud,” Dr. Hellberg said. “Some of the most common are mixing finished wines. You take one type of wine, another type of wine and mix them together.”
This one’s crazy because unless you’re a professional wine taster, how can you even tell they’re being mixed? Dr. Hellberg suggested the best we can do to avoid this, is to get to know the source, find their ethos, and go with wineries with good reputations. You can even ask if they’re actually doing anything to prevent wine fraud. While this form of fraud won’t hurt you, it might hurt your wallet if you’re paying for a premium wine and not actually getting it.
“With chocolate, one of the main things I found was counterfeit chocolate,” Hellberg said. “People are taking substandard chocolate and putting it under a fake label of a chocolate brand that’s well recognized.”
One widely publicized occurrence of this type of mixing came from the Mast Brothers’ chocolate, which was accused of using melted chocolate from Valrhona chocolates, and selling them for $10 a pop. This type of chocolate fraud is common globally, according to Hellberg.
“…In Italy, fraudsters were taking olives, and typically the substandard olives that are discolored, they were soaking them in a copper sulfate solution, which gives them a nice bright green color. Hellberg said. “They’re called, ‘Painted Olives.’ If you’re eating copper, you’re going to have some health problems.”
This happened in 2016, and Italian police seized 85,000 tons of those green olives. Believe it or not, this type of olive fraud is pretty common, so keep a close eye on your olives.
Like a few other things on this list, olive oils have been found to be mixed with lower quality olive oils. In 2016, it was reported that 80 percent of the Italian olive oil sold in markets is fraudulent.
“If you see something that’s out of wack, that doesn’t look right on the label, or the price doesn’t match, that’s usually a good indicator that it might be a fraudulent product,” Dr. Hellberg said.
While a lot of Italian olive oils are mislabeled, our own resident food scientist Constantine Spyrou argues that getting Spanish olive oils that are labeled “Italian” isn’t really a downgrade.
One of the most common forms of sushi fraud comes from the ol’ red snapper. It seems that every time researchers dig into the fish, regardless of year, or location, the fish has been faked.
It’s so bad, that you’ve probably never truly tasted real red snapper.
“Most of the time studies have found it’s not red snapper,” Dr. Hellberg said. “We actually just completed a study in my lab… and again, ‘red snapper’ was not red snapper.”
GMO (genetically modified) foods get a lot of bad rap in today’s society. Despite a breadth of scientific knowledge debunking claims to the contrary, many feel that they are unsafe and unhealthy.
To be fair, GMO foods also get their reputation from companies like Monsanto that have used them for unethical reasons. However, there’s plenty of good that GMO foods can bring to the world, and a new chocolate brand is hoping to educate consumers about that side of the story.
Photo courtesy of Ethos Chocolate
Called Ethos Chocolate, this brand was developed by pro-GMO farmer coalition A Fresh Look to help showcase how GMO foods have already been a benefit to society. Their four introductory brands each involve a key crop whose future has been altered or saved through genetic engineering.
Examples include “The Survivor,” which features papaya, a fruit that was all but wiped out in Hawaii after a ring spot virus spread across the archipelago. Genetic engineering variants resistant to the virus was key in restoring the crop back to sustainable levels.
There’s also “The Hero,” which utilizes oranges, a crop facing a similar issue today from citrus greening disease. Scientists are working hard to develop an orange that inherently prevents citrus greening from ever taking hold. Apples, which have undergone both natural and genetic modification to prevent browning, also take a major role in “The Trendsetter” bar that Ethos is selling.
One of the big reasons why this product line was developed was because of the issues surrounding chocolate itself. Studies have predicted that climate change and pests could significantly reduce the available land for cacao trees (the source of chocolate) within the next few decades. While not an actual extinction threat, it does put stress on a burgeoning demand for chocolate around the world, and scientists are working on using CRISPR (a gene-editing technique) to help combat against potential viral and fungal diseases as well as climate change.
It’s definitely going to be difficult for Ethos to get started as a brand, since most consumers are against anything to do with GMO Foods. To help, the chocolatiers are giving out their first limited batch of product for free as a Valentine’s Day gift. If you fill out a form on the Ethos website by February 10th (or before supplies run out), a special box of the chocolates will be sent to whoever you want (including yourself) this Valentine’s Day.