UPDATE : these products are no longer made by Loving Earth. Visit our Loving Earth Chocolate category to see what's currently available in the range.
One of the best parts of my job is choosing the amazing products that end up on our shelves. We road test a decent portion of products, some arrive on our doorstep by research alone, brand reputation or a request from customers. When Loving Earth announced they were launching a range of chocolate coated nuts, fruit and cacao nibs, there was no question - they were going to end up on our shelves!
This week our shipment arrived and rather than just doing the typical "copy & paste the text" from the supplier website (so many online stores do this - it makes me wonder if they've ever seen or touched the products) I decided to open up each packet and do a taste test so their true flavour & texture could be described to you. It's a tough job, but ...... someone has to do it.
This is by far my absolute favourite in the range and I'm obviously not the only one, because Loving Earth have already sold out of their first run of these, and I'm kinda annoyed at myself now for only ordering in one box. I will admit, I have a 'thing' for chocolate coated almonds. I also have a 'thing' for caramel chocolate. You can imagine what happened when I realised these almonds are double dipped - first in caramel chocolate then in mylk chocolate. For those of you not familiar with Loving Earth chocolate, it s a raw chocolate, which means it doesn't have that typical 'snap' when you break it or bite in to it like tempered chocolate does. When it's raw chocolate that's coating nuts (or fruit), the second you put it in your mouth, it slowly starts to melt. There's no need to 'crack' the chocolate with a bite, it just gently melts and fills your mouth with an amazing coating of rich raw chocolate.
My tastebuds gave these the runner up gong. Why? They're super tangy, way more so than cranberries are. Incan Berries (sometimes called goldenberries) have such a unique flavour and it's a complete contrast to the sweetness of the chocolate. Sometimes when I eat chocolate, it's just too sweet. When you eat it wrapped around an Incan Berry, this doesn't happen. If you have never tried one and you like your food with a bit of twang, grab a bag on your next order.
When I first saw these in our catalogue, I wondered why Loving Earth was making these. I have never really 'gotten' the whole cacao nibs thing. They're quite bitter, as they are the 'chocolate' without the sweetness. In the interests of research, I grabbed a handful and tossed them in my mouth. They're really very tiny when compared to the rest of the range. What I noticed is that they're crunchy. I LOVE texture in food when I eat. As a kid I always preferred toast to bread because I liked the crunch. I am fairly certain that next time I make banana ice cream in my Vitamix that I'll be throwing a handful of these in and blending for 2 more seconds on the lowest speed to stir them through.
Last, but by no means least, we have the Cranberries. They are coated in the same Mylk Chocolate that the others are coated in, and we all know what cranberries taste like. I will take the opportunity to explain to you why these choc coated delights are not all shiny. When conventional chocolate coated nuts are produced, they're run through a machine that makes them shiny & buff. This process requires the addition of an ingredient that usually contains gluten. While most chocolate is naturally gluten free, if it's round and shiny, chances are it's not (or Organic Times chocolate coated nuts are produced in this way). The Loving Earth range is rustic and rough, which you can see up close in the detailed photographs on each product. It adds to their charm and means that they truly are a gluten free product if you have intolerances or allergies.
Loving Earth chocolates are sweetened with evaporated coconut nectar and not agave (a switch that was made a while ago now) and from the bean through to the processing of the cacao powder and then in to the chocolate, it's all done in Melbourne Australia, making their antioxidant levels up to twice as high as conventional chocolate which goes through more processing and more transport. The chocolate range is pictured above with a selection of organic tea from Pukka.