Although Zorba’s Chocolates is based out of Ashland, Oregon, founder and chocolatier Todd Bjornson calls Sedona, Arizona the place where he was first introduced to raw chocolate; this is of interest to me since I spent most of my time growing up less than an hour away from Sedona, the town known for its beautiful Red Rocks and, er, hippie tendencies. Zorba’s started as an in-home thing that soon expanded out to friends and family. The company believes in being local, raw, organic, and sustainable; their chocolate is sourced from a co-op of farms in Ecuador and is never heated above 118 F (48°C).
I have received several items from Zorba’s, starting with this clear bag of Spiced Chocolate Almonds. The chocolate ingredient is raw cacao powder, accompanied by such things as coconut palm sugar, ginger, cinnamon, vanilla, Cayenne, Himalayan Sea salt, and essential oils of orange. Since they’re raw, the almonds are more chewy than crunchy; this suits me just fine as I usually eat almonds raw, anyway.
What occurs, though, when you eat these is the forgetting that you’re even eating nuts–there is so much flavor that it’s almost more like eating a brownie or even a truffle. Note that the name says “Spiced,” not “Spicy.” I imagine only those most intolerant to spiciness would call these spicy. It’s the ginger that’s fairly strong, with the vanilla and orange oil having as much say as the Cayenne and cinnamon. Being accompanied by all this, the chocolate tastes rich and not black-dark. These are the perfect flavor complements for raw almonds.
The coating on the almonds is difficult to properly describe. It’s like chocolate, but more crumbly. Yet it stays in place and doesn’t make a mess, which is a very nice characteristic. Although a couple of the almonds are lone, most exist in clusters. Personally, I would prefer more individual almonds. Eating individual pieces is part of the fun of eating nuts.
Yet this is a great product, the perfect treat for the health-conscious person. As a hiking snack or something to keep in your desk, a bag of these almonds will do you and your palate good.