Having swapped snacking on biscuits, nuts, cakes, crisps and anything else I shouldn’t have for dark chocolate whilst I work I just feel much better for it. I even feel more on top of my game, and this is no word of a lie, when I have raw chocolate – I now have a pretty collection next to my desk that I nibble on when I just can’t look at the screen any more. In fact, I’m so convinced about raw and functional chocolate that I bought the domain name with a view to building a resource about it. The problem, however, that with anything new or that goes against the conventional wisdom of popping of pills it is often classified as the same lines as David Icke and Elvis Presley still being alive and working in your like dry cleaners. To me, however, there is no conspiracy theory nor anything heretical when it comes to the health benefits of craft dark raw chocolate. I’m convinced that allowing as much of what Mother Nature put into the cacao bean to remain in chocolate can only be a positive thing.
There’s a growing trend of people looking more closely at the naturalness of foods. We’ve passed through the idiocy of the 1980’s when we were told that margarine was good for you and that you should take vitamin pills just because you couldn’t get sufficient nutrients from your diet. Today, we are being increasingly told to think about the nutritional deficiencies of processed food, and that concept is no different when it comes to chocolate – leave as much awesomeness in it as possible. Potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc – they’re all minerals that are crucial to your well-being and apparently improve brain function. The same with vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and C. The great thing is that these are all present in good quantities in fine raw chocolate.
There must be balance, however. Anything that is great for you has to be enjoyable if you’re actually going to consume and benefit from it. It’s taken me a few years to appreciate raw chocolate. Perhaps it’s because the raw chocolate making processes have improved? Even over the past eighteen months or so since I last tried some IQ Chocolate I believe they’ve improved. Just tasting the 72% Peruvian you still get the metallic edge that all raw chocolate seems to possess to some degree, but here you get a much more muted acidity and an almond-like nutty backdrop. There’s a hint of rich espresso. This isn’t the one-dimensional experience of the past. It’s a much deeper, more enjoyable experience than that. It even tastes roasted just like the Pralus Chuao and that’s some achievement.
I also had a bar of lime chocolate. I know that citrus and flavoured chocolate sells well. When you add refreshing flavours such as lime it seems to lift the natural flavour of chocolate much in the same way as sea salt. But unlike fleur de sel the lime flavours are kept in check – they don’t dominate the chocolate but just lift it. This makes it more of chocolate to munch on continually until the entire bar is finished.
The wild raspberry bar had an aroma that actually reminded me of Christmas with the tins of Cadbury Roses. I know, I’ll be slated for that. but the aroma was sweet, luscious and infinitely more enjoyable than those festive ‘treats’. The flavour, too, was significantly more pleasurable. There were decent dose of sharp, savoury tones which contrasted with the natural complexion of the chocolate and contrasted greatly from the previous lime bar.
The aroma of the ‘Espresso-Kick Coffee’ was sensationally punchy but with a rustic edge. The crunchy texture was fully expected given the nose. For some this may be a bit of a distraction, but I feel you just can’t beat a bit of crunch when it comes to chocolate. The coffee flavour did subside too quickly for my liking. I would have loved it to dominate the full length of the melt, but, alas, I was left wanting more of that kick.
When it comes to the packaging I found it informative. You’ll find out that the chocolate is dairy free, gluten free, nut-free, soya free, suitable for vegetarians and vegans, and contains not GMOs. You’ll also find a full mineral breakdown along with all the usual nutritional information you’ll find on supermarket chocolate. If you really do want to learn about what you’re munching on then you won’t be left disappointed.
Far too many of us will stick to the bland Dairy Milk ‘chocolate’. You would have been brainwashed by expensive adverts in magazines and TV. You’ll crave fats and sugars. You’ll think your body needs them, when in actual fact, your body absolutely needs the ingredients contained in these chocolate bars – and a few others beside. I’d wager my chocolate collection that the vast majority of people with Fruit and Nut bars hidden on the top shelf of their kitchen cupboards will, if they had to be true to themselves, actually prefer chocolate such as this. I’m actually keeping the remaining morsels on the top shelf in the office to kick satisfy my chocolate cravings and, hopefully, make my brain function that little be more effectively.
You can find out more about IQ Chocolate here.