I am a chocoholic, oh yes I am, but how to keep this habit a healthy one? Enter Gnosis Chocolate—vegan, gluten-free, raw, AND low-glycemic! Even with all this, they taste delectable! Now these chocolates are sweetened with agave, so I was delighted to learn they are offering a “sweet choice” of coconut sugar in lieu of agave: basically the same flavor with two options for sweetener: agave or coconut sugar. In the name of science—and my excited tastebuds—I decided to take the challenge of trying BOTH sweet choices! Oh be still, my heart! The flavors I tried were Gratitude (vanilla hazelnut), Mayan Heat (chili) and Rejuvenate (pomegranate-acai). I liked the original agave for these, so I wanted to see how the new kid, coconut, would compare.
The first I tried was the Mayan Heat. I excitedly tear open the wrapper to get to the chocolate. Xocolat: food for the gods; with the chili, berries and nuts, it is indeed ambrosia. I break off a square, touch it, sniff it, eye it, and only then do I pop it into my mouth to let its flavors roll into my tongue. Chocolate is indeed a multi-sensory celebration of the senses.
I start with the new coconut sugar option, as indicated not only by the ingredient list but by the little green coconut trees on the package. The chocolate snaps crisp, it smells like chili and burnt sugar and dark velvet night. I pop one in, and the flavors come in real subtly, all robed in the dark crystal sweetness of the coconut sugar. The chili comes as a slow burn throughout, punctuated first by the black currants, then the soft pecans. I would pair this with a dark roast coffee, or a full-bodied red wine.
I then try the agave. Like an old flame, it still invites me. The chocolate breaks with a sigh, a bit more of a give. It smells of ritual and dark treacle and tart berries. I taste it, and the flavors come languidly in but all at once, like a fiery fudge. I taste the pecans, then the black currants, with the chili enrobing it all. For the agave, I would go for a medium roast coffee, and a sweet port.
The Mayan Heat is my favorite; however chocolate is still queen of my heart, and she has other flavors besides. I next try the Pomegranate-Acai in coconut sugar. Sure enough, it snaps clean. I taste more tartness, with the sweet burnt sugar somehow reminiscent of the sugarcane fields I visited in my youth in the Philippines, the tassels waving the summer breeze. I would love this with maybe a Muscat.
I then try the agave version of the Pomegranate-Acai. The agave gives its softer texture, more treacly sweetness. I taste the acai here, but sweeter. I would maybe try a nice prosecco or champagne with this: bubbles with berries!
Then for a more classic flavor, I try the Vanilla Hazelnut. As always, I try the new kid on the block first, coconut sugar. I’m loving that crisp break now as I snap off a square from its partner inside. The coconut sugar Vanilla Hazelnut is darker, more subtle, and I taste the hazelnuts prominently. This would be pretty good with a cup of chicory coffee.
However, to compare, I try the agave version, and this…this reminds me of Ferrero Rocher, a childhood favorite, but now SO much better, and without dairy, or transfats, or rancid oils, and so much FRESHER! The agave just brings it all together somehow: the hazelnut, vanilla, raw chocolate all melt in my mouth with the agave tasting like delicious almost-can’t-believe-it’s-good-for-me syrup. SO, so good. This would be great with a port....while soaking in a bubble bath. Ah, bliss.
Yes, I love chocolate, and I will be the first to spout off the improbability of me allergic to it, and instead point to how healthy it can be! And I am glad I am not the only chocoholic health nut out there: thank you, Gnosis for fresh, healthy chocolate manna.