Chocolate for breakfast? If one would take the time to sample the array of coffee and espresso-flavored candies on the market, it’s possible chocolate could fast become a morning staple to replace healthier alternatives. Of course, dark chocolate is not without it benefits, as recent medical research has revealed how dark chocolate, which is rich in flavonoids and antioxidants, can help promote good circulation when enjoyed in moderation. Even so, it may be best to wait until later in the day to indulge.
Yet, coupled with the rich, pungent flavor of ground coffee beans, chocolate becomes taste treat to keep you alert any time of the day. But which bar is best, and which truffle trumps the rest? Let’s take a tour through a caffeinated, chocolate wonderland to survey the top brands of coffee-flavored and coffee-enhanced chocolate.
Moonstruck’s Dark Chocolate Espresso Bean Bar. Based in Portland, Oregon, this nationally-known confectioner offers a deliciously dark (68% cacao) bar sectioned into triangular quarters, bearing a stamp of the company’s cresent moon logo. Unlike other bars produced by the company where the flavor may be detected with every other bite, the deep espresso of this bar is savored throughout. Open the wrapper and you’ll find the texture of the bar’s bottom is stubbled, indicating reasonably sized chunks of bean are present rather than grains that have been crushed into powder. Moonstruck bars are available in select boutiques around the country, in any of the company’s fourteen retail stores throughout the U.S., or online at www.MoonstruckChocolate.com.
Vosges Creole. This is a single origin bar featuring bittersweet Sao Thome chocolate (70% cacao) with chicory and cocoa nibs. If you are familiar with artisan chocolates, you can smell the difference of this particular bar compared with other darks. This has such a rich aroma, alsmot stronger than other brands of the same cacao percentage. Texture-wise, it isn’t very glossy, and the bottom is raised to show evidence of the coffee and cocoa bits inside. The flavor of chicory is strong throughout, grainy with each bite as the bitterness of the chocolate melts around it. Vosges exotic chocolate bars are available nationally around the U.S. in select retail and boutique outlets, or online at www.VosgesChocolate.com.
Starbucks Mocha Dark Chocolate. The casual chocolate lover will be more familar with this omnipresent brand. The cacao percentage isn’t presented on the label, presumably taking a backseat to the brand’s primary product. The coffee used in the bar is Starbuck’s Guatemala Casi Cielo, which offers a pungent aroma and flavor. Each bite is grainy with the ground beans, but it doesn’t wholly distract from sharp tang of the chocolate. The actual bar design is attractive, with embedded cacao beans, plants, and curvy lines. It does make it a challenge to measure pieces of the bar if you are counting calories or sharing, but the taste makes for a pleasant diversion. Starbucks chocolate bars may be more accessible retail-wise, having been seen in grocery and drugstores, online at Starbucks.com, and in Starbucks coffee shops around the world.
From the obscure to the commercially-known, a delectable coffee-flavored chocolate treat provides a delicious diversion for the senses. Break off a square (or triangle) today and savor the kick.