Trader Joe’s Chocolate Passport – Papua New Guinea 70%

Chocolate of the week: Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean and occupies the eastern half of the island of New Guinea.

Chocolates made from the local cocoa beans are somewhat hard to find because the volume of cacao grown and exported from PNG is pretty low compared to other cacao growing nations.

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Trader Joe’s Chocolate Passport – Dominican Republic 70%

Chocolate of the week: Dominican Republic

Today’s chocolate bar is a 70% dark chocolate from the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic shares the tropical island of Hispaniola with Haiti.

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Trader Joe’s Chocolate Passport – Ghana 70%

Chocolate of the week: Ghana

Ghana is a West African nation located on the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean. Ghana shares a border with the Ivory Coast in the west, Togo in the east, and Burkina Faso in the north.

Cacao is Ghana’s main cash crop to export. It is the world’s second largest exporter of cocoa beans. The number one exporter is their neighbor, Ivory Coast.

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Trader Joe’s Chocolate Passport – Venezuela 70%

Chocolate of the week: Venezuela

Venezuela sits along the northern coast of South America. Colombia borders on the west, Guyana on the east, Brazil on the south. The islands of Trinidad and Tobago are off the northeast border.

Like many cacao growing countries, Venezuela has regional climates that produce cacao of different flavor profiles.

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Trader Joe’s Chocolate Passport – Ecuador 66%

Chocolate of the week: Ecuador

Ecuador (situated in northwestern South America, bordered by Colombia, Peru, and the Pacific Ocean) is known for its very special regional cocoa beans called Arriba.

These cocoa beans have a finer flavor and aroma than “bulk” cocoa beans grown in other countries.

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Trader Joe’s Chocolate Passport – Peru 60%

Chocolate of the week: Peru

Peru is situated in western South America, bordered by Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, and the Pacific Ocean.

Cacao is grown in many regions throughout the country. (As an interesting aside, in 2007, a rare variety of cacao called Pure Nacional was rediscovered in Peru. Decades earlier, disease had destroyed 100% of these trees, or so it was thought. Pure Nacional was put on the extinct species list. Pure Nacional is a white cocoa bean, not the common purple color.)

Peru’s diverse microclimates provide unique growing conditions for cacao - different varieties of cacao growing at different altitudes.

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Trader Joe’s Chocolate Passport

This blog post marks the beginning of my series on single-origin chocolates from Trader Joe’s Chocolate Passport variety pack.

Each week I will review one of these country of origin chocolates: Peru 60%, Ecuador 66%, Ghana 70%, Venezuela 70%, Dominican Republic 70%, Papua New Guinea 70%, Sao Tome 70%, and Tanzania 73%.

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Special K Chocolate Coconut Cashew Bar

Today I decided to try the Special K Nourish® Chewy Nut Bar. I grabbed the new Chocolate Coconut Cashew flavor.

First and foremost, this bar is sweet and chewy. When you pull it apart, there are long, gooey strings of what I’m guessing is mostly corn syrup. It reminds me of thin, soft caramel strands but not the color of caramel. This is more whitish or even translucent.

The peanuts, cashews, and coconut really stand out with their strong nutty and coconut notes. The dark chocolate coating, on the bottom of the bar, along with the chocolate chips wrap your taste buds in chocolatey flavor, too.

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Kind Healthy Grains – Popped Dark Chocolate

These Kind Healthy Grains granola bars are certainly different. They contain some grains you don’t normally see in the mainstream granola snack world. For example, they have sorghum, millet, amaranth, quinoa, and buckwheat.

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Lakefront Brewery Double Chocolate Stout

Everything I’ve read about the craft beer boom in Milwaukee intrigues me. I’ve lived in the area since graduating from college. At that time, all I knew (and everyone else in the United States) was Milwaukee meant Miller. Boy have things changed! Craft breweries have been popping up fast over the past couple of years.

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