What makes caramel, well, caramelly? Typically sugar and butter are cooked until brown and flavorful. Honestly, the butter isn’t the crucial bit; all that is needed is the “brown” to bring out notes of decadence, and sweetness to enliven our palate. Enter the Crunchy Caramel chocolate bar, flecked with tiny nibs of golden brown crunch, by eatingEVOLVED. Take natural coconut sugar toasted to an amber hue and sprinkle it over this bar for texture in sweet spades. The deep dark chocolate sets off the barely-sweet bits in perfect harmony from bite to tasty bite.
I don’t quite know why I love this bar so much. Perhaps it is the perfectly stern and serious 85% cacao content of the bar. Perhaps it is the little nubbins of sweet that speckle the back of the bar, interrupting that bittersweet 85% just a touch. Or, perhaps, it is the utter simplicity of the makeup of the confection. With caramel nibs you’d expect to see the cacao, the sweetener, the caramel as a separate ingredient with some kind of sugar and salt and such. But no. This bar’s ingredients are cacao and coconut sugar, period. Nothing else gets in the way, not additives nor embellishments. You might be tempted to turn over the label to look for more ingredients; you’ll find none. Your tongue, on the other hand, will find everything to love.
The first time I tried a bite of the eatingEVOLVED Caramel Crunch bar was right after a swig of milky sweet coffee. The contrast was welcome and wonderful. I let the bar melt on my already-warm tongue and gently bit on the caramel nibs as they appeared like life rafts out of the sea of dark chocolate. The well-tempered bar has a perfect sheen and clean snap when breaking off a piece. Some primally-friendly chocolate bars (often raw) have a bit more of a grainy texture or a softer feel, but eatingEVOLVED has perfected what any high-end chocolatier strives for with each batch: shine and snap.
When you hold the bar in your hand, a little bit will melt on your fingertips. That's normal for a great quality chocolate. Your sign of awesome ingredients is their relative fragility, compared to mass market bars with stabilizers and low amounts of cacao. Keep them at a nice cool temperature—not too cold, but definitely not warm—and you'll be rewarded with texture as intended. By only using fair trade chocolate and coconut sugar, these amazing folks have created something previously missing in the paleo snacking world. All this fun and deliciousness comes from eatingEVOLVED, a wonderful company who makes nothing but Paleo/Primal chocolates from bars to spreads. Just two ingredients: cacao, coconut sugar. Period.
On top of the organic ingredients, the wonderful chocolate and cacao, eatingEVOLVED has happily switched from maple sugar to coconut palm sugar! Read what they have to say about this right from their own folks:
"Coconut palm sugar is fitting with our products, especially our Coconut Butter Cups. We felt that the change would help create a more cohesive product.
One of the core foundations of this company is that we create our chocolate using unrefined sugar. This change allows us to adhere to this principle and continue this tradition. We are extremely excited about this change and can’t wait for you to experience it!"
Sugar has gotten a bad rap over the years for its effect on our blood sugar, hormonal system, and the overall inflammatory effects it can have within the body. EatingEVOLVED uses only coconut sugar to sweeten their products. This sweetener is made from crystalized coconut nectar harvested directly from the coconut blossom. Mildly sweet, very low glycemic, and caramel-like in flavor, these sugar crystals fuse perfectly with raw cacao nibs in the stone grinders, producing an ultra-silky texture.
The glycemic index of foods can play a huge role in your overall health. Here are 6 amazing benefits of stabilizing blood sugar levels through a low glycemic diet: a lower risk of heart disease, less overall inflammation, a lower risk of diabetes, less yeast or microbial imbalances within the body, easier weight management, and a more stable mental/emotional state.
Coconut sugar is also one of the healthiest and most sustainable sweeteners available. Tropical coconut palms require little water to thrive and can actually restore damaged soils and regenerate ecosystems which help support wildlife.
Cacao: chock-full of health-giving and beautifying fatty acids and minerals, as well as antioxidants, and nutrients that support mood and the immune system. Cacao is one of the most powerful known superfoods, and had been used for thousands of years to boost health and energy levels. Cacao is one of the most phytochemically complex foods on Earth. Many of its constituents have yet to even be discovered! We could write a dissertation on the health benefits of cacao, but here are just a few compounds found in cacao beans,: neurotransmitter anandamide (the "bliss" chemical), neurotransmitter phenethylamine (also known as PEA, the "love molecule"), neurotransmitter serotonin (a brain chemical that acts to shield against stress, increasing ones sense of wellbeing) neurotransmitter dopamine (increases ones sense of pleasure and elevates the mood), phytochemical coumarin (suppresses appetite, and also has anti-tumor properties and helps with blood circulation) enzyme asparaginase (a special enzyme with anti-cancer properties) ergosterol (a necessary chemical for Vitamin D assimilation), sitosterol (helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels), and magnesium (helps combat osteoporosis and weak bones/teeth, heart disease, migraines, muscle spasms, painful menstrual periods, and even diabetes.)
"At eatingEVOLVED we have a guiding principle that influences every decision we make: Chocolate: It’s Food, Not Candy.
When chocolate is done right, it’s a delicious, antioxidant-rich, superfood – a far cry from the commoditized, sugar-filled milk chocolate candies that line supermarket shelves.
Our mission is to handcraft dark chocolate done right.
All eatingEVOLVED chocolate is free of gluten, dairy, or soy (that’s right, no soy lecithin!). In fact, we use the fewest ingredients physically possible to create chocolate. No junk, no fillers, just the highest quality, Fair-Trade cacao lightly sweetened with organic coconut sugar. It doesn’t get any cleaner than that!"
Chocolate is a real food, and as with real foods, best if eaten within six months. We recommend storing in a cool, dry place. All of our flavors may be frozen to extend shelf life.
Chocolate has an excellent shelf life, but keep in mind that we use no preservatives and the environmental conditions where you store the chocolate has a direct effect on freshness. Dry, cool and out of direct sunlight is always best.
All of our chocolate fits within the Paleo/Primal lifestyle. Our company proudly adheres to the principles of evolutionary nutrition, using natural, organic, and nutrient-dense ingredients.