We live in an age when raw chocolate and vegan chocolate products are becoming ever more popular.
While I was shopping to restock my chocolate cupboard (everyone has one of these, right?), a bright blue box of Conscious Organic Raw Chocolate jumped out. I picked up the Coconut Crunch to review.
The 50g box of chocolate was a little shorter and narrower than the typical 100g offerings it sat alongside in the shop, but its bright blue packaging helped it to attract my attention.
The top half of the front of the packaging was a blue gloss covered panel with a motif I couldn't quite make out. Beneath the Conscious logo it explained the Coconut Crunch bar was filled with chia seeds, coconut chips, and pumpkin seeds. It all sounded terribly healthy! The text continued to explain that the bar contained 60% cocoa solids and that the recipe was free from dairy products, soya, and gluten. Rice syrup is used to sweeten the vegan-friendly organic bar, with the overall sugar content of the bar a mere 12.3%.
The rear of the box was awash with a lot of text, explained by the ingredients list appearing four times in English, Dutch, French, and German:
Conscious Organic Raw Chocolate Coconut Crunch ingredients:
Cacao butter, rice syrup (25%), cacao powder, coconut butter, wild carob, coconut chips (8%), pumpkin seeds (8%), chia seeds (8%), cinnamon, Himalayan salt. Cocoa solids 60% minimum.
The vegan and vegetarian bar can be enjoyed at room temperature or straight from the fridge. Their website explains the cacao in this certified organic product heralds from Peru. It also explains that the there are no refined sugars in the bar as it is sweetened by fructose-free rice syrup.
Organic Raw Chocolate Coconut Crunch Review
Inside the box was a silver metallised plastic wrapper that was heat sealed around the bar. While it locked the freshness inside, it was not resealable, so I had to decant the bar into a piece of aluminium foil to keep it fresh.
My bar had a soggy bottom - the bottom of the bar was incredibly moist and sticky. I suspected some of the rice syrup had leached out of the bar, creating this residue. It also meant that nibbling on this bar was a sticky affair, with the residue clinging to my fingers each time I stole a piece.
The initial aroma was bitter, with a musky tang that came through. There was a curious lactic overtone - akin to a ripe cheese - that crept through alongside the perfume of coconut.
The soft and pliable cake-like bar, littered with grooves, scuffs, and marks from the manufacturing process, was sectioned into six rectangular portions. The bar was so soft it divided up easily with the minimum of fuss.
The grainy texture of the bar derived from the generous quantity of seeds and coconut contained within, amounting to just shy of a quarter of the bar. The seeds added crunch to the bar, living up to the bar's name. I found the crunch, and the flavour from the seeds, almost distracting, masking the gentle flavour of the coconut which struggled to shine through on my palate.
The seeds helped to impart a distinctive yet unusual flavour that I wasn't completely keen on, which added the musky overtones in the bar.
The Peruvian cacao was earthy, rich, and mildly bitter, with a nice depth to it once I got past all those seeds.
In the aftertaste, I was left with an almost floral flavour, with gentle hints of cacao that sneaked through. Be prepared to spend a long time fishing seeds and coconut flecks from your teeth.
Contrary to what I would normally do, I popped the remainder of the bar in the fridge (as directed on the packaging) to compare. The cold helped to firm up the bar, removing its softness and stickiness. It felt more like a traditional bar of chocolate after a spell in the fridge. The cacao flavour also became more pronounced as a result. I'd definitely recommend popping this bar into the fridge beforehand, as the easting experience is far better as a result.
Conscious Organic Raw Chocolate Coconut Crunch Review
RRP: £2.99 | Conscious | Shop now°
A generously filled chocolate bar, although the very many seeds masked the taste of the cacao. I wasn't a fan of the soggy and crumbly texture nor the musky flavour.
Overall, it was an interesting bar to taste, but I think the cacao was masked too much by the seeds, and I wasn't entirely comfortable with the musky edge to the flavour. I wanted the coconut and the cacao to shine through most of all, yet the seeds stole centre stage. I wasn't too keen on the soggy, crumbly texture and would have liked to see something a bit firmer and more robust. I'm keen to try a seed-free bar from the Conscious range to see if the omission of the chia and pumpkin seeds helps let the cacao flavours come through any more clearly.
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Have you tried a raw chocolate bar before, and do you prefer these over 'regular' chocolate bars? Let me know in the comments below.
UPDATE: Since purchasing this bar, Conscious Chocolate has redesigned the packaging, changing the pack size and ingredients at the same time. The fabulous dark blue package for the newly named "Chia and Coconut" bar features a character reaching up to a tree in a night sky. There's a renewed focus on the provenance of ingredients with Peruvian chocolate, Bolivian Chia seeds, Chinese pumpkin seeds, Filipino coconut, Indonesia coconut palm sugar, Spanish carob, Sri Lankan cinnamon, and Israeli sea salt all used in this recipe. Green credentials are strengthened further by the fact that the factory is powered by 100% renewable energy sources and the packaging is now plastic-free and recyclable. The new bar is larger at 60g and now contains 62% cocoa solids. The RRP for this new size bar is now £2.99.