Friday, April 13, 2007

CocoaVia Bars

After my pleasant first experience with CocoaVia last year I was happy to find that CocoaVia was at the ExpoWest trade show back in January. It meant that I could try more of their products without shoveling out oodles of dough. They were sampling their milk chocolate covered raisins, which I thought tasted like milk chocolate raisins. They also had a large assortment of their bars out there. It was hard to talk to the folks at the booth for all the attendees grabbing the free samples by the handful, but I stood my ground in the crush and had a nice conversation with the CocoaVia people.

I like the idea of portion control. I had a little problem with those big tubs at Trader Joe’s sometimes, because I will just keep eating from it. I learned a long time ago to take a handful and put it in a little dish, close up the tub and put it away and then enjoy my treat.

I think CocoaVia’s idea for a portion controlled sweet is two-fold - small individually wrapped packages sold only five at a time. And charge $20 a pound.

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Chocolate Snack Bar - the package on this one is a bit deceptive. It just shows some chunks of chocolate but it’s really a bar of crispy/chewy grains with a chocolate base. It feels much more filling than the 80 calories might ordinarily seem.

The crisped rice and grain crunch is mellow and malty while the chocolate gives it a creamy and tasty component. Yeah, it could be bigger, but it’s a supplement bar, not dessert. (The ingredients on this bar list Almonds and Peanuts.)

80 calories and 25% of our daily RDA of Calcium, 15% of your Vitamin E and 10% of your B6, B12, Folic Acid and Vitamin C.

Rating: 5 out of 10

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Crispy Chocolate Bar - seemed to be more accurate on the picture front, little chunks of chocolate with itty-bitty crispies mixed in. The bar is dark and has a very green and smoky taste to it. And a bitter aftertaste. This was a seriously strong bar with a dry finish. Not really an indulgence, I felt like I was working to find the pleasant flavors instead of just enjoying it.

I waited a couple of days and tried again and I’m gonna have to pass on this one, it’s just too bitter. It’s like eating a spoonful of cocoa.

90 calories and 10% of your RDA of Folic Acid, Vitamin C & B12, 15% of your Vitamin E & B6 and 30% of your Calcium.

Rating: 3 out of 10

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Milk Chocolate Bar - was very nice. Super creamy and smooth with great chocolate notes and some caramelized milk flavors. This bar was softer than the other ones (you can see it even melted a little bit under my hot studio light when I was taking the picture).

It reminds me a lot of the Dove milk chocolate, which shouldn’t be surprising since they’re both made by Mars. However, there is an odd bitter (and only slight) aftertaste for me. It’s a little metallic and it could just be the fortifications, but it makes it less like candy for me.

110 calories and 20% of your RDA of Calcium, 15% of your Vitamin E & B6, 10% of your Vitamin C, Folic Acid & B12.

Rating: 5 out of 10

These are all okay, but I still have to say that their best innovation so far is the Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds. I even found them locally at Shim’s Produce (it’s kind of like the 99 Cent store of grocers). They had stacks of boxes for only 99 Cents. I thought there must be something wrong with them and only bought one, but it was just fine (expiration date of July).

That brings me back to the huge drawback of the CocoaVia line. The price. At about $5 a box of five, it’s pretty harsh for the pocket book and not terribly satisfying to the sweet tooth. If anything I’d feel obligated to finish something I don’t like because I paid so much for it.

Name: CocoaVia: Chocolate Snack Bar, Crispy Chocolate Bar, Milk Chocolate Bar
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: CocoaVia (Mars)
Place Purchased: samples from ExpoWest
Price: retail $1.00 each
Size: .71 ounces to .81 ounces
Calories per ounce: 99 / 127 / 141
Categories: Chocolate, Cookie, Nuts, United States, Mars, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:29 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

Comments
  1. Ahh I found the dark chocolate bars tasty if you are on weight watchers, they are a nice indulgence compared to other diet things out there.

    Does Cocoa Via still make the chocolate covered almonds? I haven’t ever seen those ANYWHERE!!!

    Comment by Erin on 4/13/07 at 10:50 am #
  2. Could you define what you mean by “green” taste for chocolate?

    Comment by Dave on 4/13/07 at 2:08 pm #
  3. A while back I found a really great selection of dark chocolate items at a Walgreens—including the whole Cocoa Via line.  Unfortunately the dark chocolate almonds I bought were spoiled.  Walgreen’s gladly refunded my money.  I wrote to the folks at Cocoa Via via their website but never heard from them.  By “spoiled” I mean the chocolate was grey, granular and mishapen as if it had melted.

    Comment by Brad on 4/13/07 at 5:28 pm #
  4. I also bought some CocoaVia which had been melted.  It was dark chocolate with blueberries and almonds, but it came from Big Lots.  I figured that was why it was there and didn’t take it back, but I didn’t buy more.  I used to get some Lindt tile-like squares and Droste pastilles there, which I’ve been watching for.

    Comment by Dave on 4/13/07 at 9:44 pm #
  5. I found coco via at my dollar store. really. My favorite had dried bluberries and almonds in dark choclate.

    Comment by April on 4/14/07 at 10:30 am #
  6. Cybele's avatar

    Erin - well if they’ve discontinued the Chocolate Covered Almonds it’d explain why I found fresh ones on clearance. Dangit.

    Dave - green is that taste that cucumbers and green beans have. It’s fresh and clean but not sweet. Big Lots scare me, but that doesn’t stop me from taking a chance every once in a while.

    Brad - sounds like they didn’t store them correctly. It’s usually the store’s fault, not the manufacturer. I went through about five KitKat’s last winter trying to find one to photograph that wasn’t bloomed. I went to three different stores. Never did find one. (I’m guessing it was probably the wholesaler on that side that didn’t store them properly.)

    April - it’s funny that no one seems to be buying them at full price!

    Comment by Cybele on 4/18/07 at 10:31 am #
  7. On Feb. 29, I melted a Cocoa Via Milk Chocolate Bar in the microwave and added milk, to make hot chocolate.  About 3 hours after I drank it, I started having diarrhea plus I was so sick on my stomach.  For a few weeks I could eat very little as the thought of eating most things turned my stomach.  I’m eating better now but still not eating anything.  My doctor said to stay off of dairy and fried foods which I’ve done.  I called MasterFoods, maker of Cocoa Via and told the person to whom I talked about this experience.  That person said, “send back the remaining bars in the box and we will send you another box”, like there was something wrong with the box I had purchased.  Then I found this report by FDA:  http://www.naturalproductsinsider.com/articles/473/67h71146818371.html.

    Comment by Jo Ann Leifeste on 4/01/08 at 2:52 am #
  8. Where can I find this candy. They use to sell it in Walgreens and CVS pharmacy but don’t have it anymore.

    Comment by Lorene Precht on 10/21/09 at 9:36 am #

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