Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Divine Fair Trade Chocolate

Divine Fair Trade ChocolateOctober is Fair Trade Month, which makes sense since Halloween is the number one candy holiday. A few years ago I’m pretty sure few people, especially candy fans even know what that meant, happily much of that has changed, both through education efforts and the simple ubiquity of the products displaying the logos. Fair Trade guarantees the growers of raw materials & makers of products a fair and liveable wage for their products, you can read more about it here. Luckily all sorts of fair trade products are becoming more available to regular consumers, even at big box stores like Target, grocery & drug store chains.

I’ve tried quite a few fair trade candies over the years, including Divine Chocolate. Divine is expanding more in the United States and has a broader range of products now than ever before. One of their representatives sent me a nice sampling of their products, so I’ll be reviewing them over the next month or so. The motto is Heavenly chocolate with a heart.

First, their standard 3.5 ounce chocolate bars. While fair trade chocolate isn’t hard to find, fair trade candy bars are. Yes a nice dark bar is all well and good, but sometimes I want a little more in my decadent treat (without enslaving any children in Africa for it either). With a retail price of about $3 a bar, it’s certainly no hardship for the chocolate aficionado. But of course the larger question is, how do they taste?

70% Dark Divine Fair Trade ChocolateI’m starting with the Divine 70% Dark Chocolate.

I tried this chocolate back in 2005 and while I can’t say whether they’ve changed the formula or way that they’re making the bar, I like it much better than I did then.

The packaging is lovely. Before it was a simple black wrap with their logo. The new package is a matte paper with a foil inner wrap. The decorative icons are fun and attractive, I spotted hearts, turtles, geese and something that’s either a comb or a Menorah.

The bar inside is wonderfully tempered. Shiny, even and no hint of bubbles or bloom. I like the thickness of the pieces and that the bar snaps easily into the little portions.

70% Dark Divine Fair Trade Chocolate

The scent is a little grassy and fruity.

On the tongue the cocoa butter melts quickly into a silky puddle. Flavors are middle of the road, there’s nothing difficult or loud about this bar. I get a little bit of coffee, cherries, olives, woodsy eucalyptus and very little acid. The finish is smooth and with only a slight bitter note but no dryness.

The high fat content makes this very munchable. I like that in a chocolate bar, though I know that some fans prefer a more intense concentration cacao.

99% of the ingredients are fair trade certified for this bar (this includes the sugar, vanilla and cocoa products - only the non-GMO soy lecithin is not).

Rating: 8 out of 10

Divine Milk Chocolate with HazelnutsThe Divine Hazelnut Milk Chocolate is completely new to me. I tried the 27% cocoa plain milk chocolate and was struck by how the milky flavors reflected the European-style.

I think this package is the prettiest of the three. I liked the brown wrapper with gold and cream colored icons, it feels elegant, playful and subtly conveys that this is a milk chocolate product.

The ingredients in this bar, like the dark one go for fair trade when possible, though this one only clocks in at 69% with the cream, soy lecithin and chopped hazelnuts as traditionally sourced.

Divine Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts

The bar is softer than its dark counterpart. Snapping it in half it’s clear that part of the reason is the plethora of crushed hazelnuts.

The bar smells milky, a little nutty and a little cheesy.

On the tongue it melts quickly but is a little sweet and sticky at first. Then come the flavors, the dairy flavors lean towards powdered milk, have a great smoky cocoa flavor and of course the hazelnut.

It’s not quite giaunduia, but it’s close. The bar overall is a bit sweet for me but fills that gaping hole out there for fair price fair trade candy bars that are more than straight chocolate.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

Divine White Chocolate with StrawberriesI’ve fallen in love with real white chocolate. The Divine White Chocolate with Strawberries bar provides an additional confectionery twist. It has little “strawberry crisps” mixed in.

The cocoa content on this bar is a staggering 25%, which means it’s one quarter cocoa butter. Milk solids make up another 26%. (And the fair trade percentage here is 71%.)

Strangely enough the calcium content on a single serving is 16% of your RDA and 4 grams of protein. I wouldn’t call it a full serving of dairy, but it’s certainly not completely junk food.

Divine White Chocolate with Strawberries

The bar smells like Frankenberry cereal.

The little berry crisps dot the bar and look to be evenly distributed.

The melt of the white chocolate isn’t quite as even as the other two bars, it has a slightly fudgier grain to it, but it is smooth. The strawberry crisps are more than just little dried bits. They’re crunchy and tangy, with the floral scent of berries along with the high pitched tartness. But the tangy part isn’t intergrated into the white chocolate like the Meiji bar I tried recently.

If you have a soft spot for white chocolate and strawberries, I’d suggest giving this bar a try. I enjoyed it a lot more than the Frey but the Green & Black’s White Chocolate (plain) is still the gold standard for me.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

All of the bars are Kosher. I don’t know the full distribution of the bars but you can find some of them places like Whole Foods and other stores that carry natural products. Look for wider distribution soon as well as new products from Divine for the holidays. I saw some little foil wrapped milk chocolates themed for Halloween (available web only) on their site.

Related Candies

  1. Askinosie Chocolate
  2. 3400 Phinney: Fig, Fennel & Almond and Hazelnut Crunch
  3. Zotter Candy Bars
  4. Terra Nostra Pocket Bars
  5. Theo 3400 Phinney Bars
  6. Endangered Species Halloween Treats
Name: 70% Dark Chocolate, Hazelnut Milk Chocolate & White Chocolate with Strawberries
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Divine Chocolate
Place Purchased: samples from Divine
Price: retail ~$3.00
Size: 3.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 159, 153 & 153
Categories: Chocolate, Strawberry, White Chocolate, Germany, Divine, Kosher, all Natural, Fair Trade

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:19 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

Comments
  1. Wow!  I had to comment since I just discovered the Fair Trade chocolates this week! Trader Joe’s carries Fare Trade coffee but not sure about the chocolate.  Please go to: http://www.globalexchangestore.org/
    and find out more about the importance of buying Fair Trade items, also to buy the Divine Chocolate and other fair trade chocolate items. Thanks for this blog Cybele, raising awareness is really helpful. Oh, and I discovered the Fair Trade products through the “Battle in Seattle” movie website.

    Comment by Kimberly on 10/01/08 at 12:05 pm #
  2. I’ve been searching for the White & Strawberry bar, now I’m even *more* antsy to find it!

    I’ll certainly picking up the other two as well now. wink

    Comment by Sera on 10/01/08 at 4:52 pm #
  3. We <3 Divine chocolate at my house. Esp. the milk chocolate one. Why yes, since you ask, I am foisting MY choc prejudices onto my children wink.

    The symbols on the front are taken from African languages and inside each wrapper is the meaning to one of them. So far we have only found the one which is spoken as (phonetically here so work with me)‘Funtunfunifoodunkeyemfunifoo’.  It means something along the lines of liberty and justice (I think). Another reason for <3 Divine chocolate.

    Comment by trashalou on 10/01/08 at 10:22 pm #
  4. Grassy and fruity? Silky puddles? I love it, so glad I linked people over to your review. The dark grew on me in a way I can’t explain, but didn’t care too much for the Hazelnut or White.

    Comment by Jeanna on 10/02/08 at 3:37 am #
  5. Wow, those all sound so nice! I’m nto a big Hazelnut person, so I might skip that one, but I’ll definitely look for the other two next time I’m at Whole Foods.

    Comment by Debby on 10/02/08 at 6:39 am #
  6. Funny story. I read this review and just HAD to try some, so I started frantically searching for places this brand is sold in my city. My roommate asked what I was doing and when I told her she said that the place she used to work (Lutheran World Relief) owns a big chunk of shares in their company and sells them from their office. Luckily one of their offices was ten minutes from my apartment so I immediately went down there and bought a ton of their stuff! So for anyone who lives near a LWR office building, you should definitely check it out! It really is the cheapest way to get some of their bars as they sell them at price.

    Comment by Meredith on 10/02/08 at 12:52 pm #
  7. i really like white chocolate. regular….not my favorite. tis white chocolate strawbey dounds so yummy! i have to try one!

    Comment by Katie on 10/03/08 at 2:59 pm #
  8. OMGGG
    although these chocolates may be pricey; they taste absolutely delectable. It basically melts in your mouth. the best part is they’re fair trade

    Comment by tusah on 10/06/08 at 12:29 pm #
  9. I had to comment on this article because I recently tried the White Chocolate Strawberry bar and LOVE it! I love the Hershey’s Cookies and Cream. I have been an avid reader of this blog for a couple years and decided to try searching to see if the bar had been reviewed. I got it at a supermarket near my house that has a section catered to the organic and natural products. Yummy!

    Comment by Kimberly on 8/29/10 at 2:58 pm #

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