There's milk chocolate, and then there's MYLK chocolate. The first can be good, but the dairy ain't so great for some folks. The latter . . . well, THIS bar is quite something else, something wonderful. It gets a bit of creaminess from coconut milk and a ton of flavor from the darkly decadent cacao content, organic and fair trade. This is Endorfin's Dark Mylk Bar; your creamy-dark-seeking heat missile of a tongue has never had it this good.
Let's talk about "Mylk", first. You might think it is a little gimmicky, a little silly. Those things could be true, but for the chocolate bars from Endorfin they are deadly serious and seriously delicious. You see, the bars have creamy flavor with zero dairy: that's awesome for those with allergies but seriously milky chocolate cravings. How does Endorfin do it? Simple, really: add some coconut milk to a great dark chocolate formula and watch the smoothness factor go through the roof.
What's it like to taste this bar? First of all, it is still a dark bar, so the cloying sweetness of regular milk chocolate is nowhere to be found. Your tongue will gently melt each piece, savoring the complex whole cacao flavor, but detecting just the right amount of smoothness. You'll wonder if there is dairy; of course there is not. You will never taste the coconut itself, so have no worries if you thought this would taste like a coconut candy bar. The coconut milk is so mild and miniscule that all it adds is that perfect creaminess. Each bar is easy to crack apart and savor, or share, or just savor in solitary delight. However you want to do it is totally fine by me.
I chose the solitary option, but was able to split the bar over a few days of noshing. Later on, I wondered how did I not eat the whole bar over the course of a few hours. Hard to say. Maybe it was an especially busy day at work. Perhaps I exercised just a wee bit of self-restraint, all the better to enjoy some more the next day. That seems as good a reason as any to hold off on immediate chowing down: future enjoyment. Like that famous marshmallow experiment, holding off for a little bit of time does make future experiences sweeter.
The look of the whole package is lovely, a simple paper wrapper with spare graphics and geometric patterns. The name Endorfin scrawls across the top, whimsical and promising merriment. Before long, that paper is parted and the bar reveals itself, shiny with asymmetrical patterns defying any neat break points. I kind of love that – no telling what size piece you'll get. Again, it just makes the eating of this bar joyful and a bit unpredictable.
Honestly, much of the goodness is the simplicity of the ingredients.
Despite the silky richness and creaminess, there is not one bit of dairy in this bar. The name "mylk" is a play on words, hinting at the coconut milk used in each bar to mellow the cacao's potency. I've had dark milk bars before (with dairy); this Endorfin recipe has that same unctuousness without any risk of casein allergies or digestive issues. It's win-win.
Here's what Endorfin says about this bar. See if you agree (I do!).
"A product of over 3 years of research and development, our pure, unflavored coconut mylk chocolate bar is adored by lovers of dark and milk chocolate alike. As with all of our products, this smooth & creamy organic milk chocolate bar is dairy-free and vegan friendly. We utilize coconut to deliver a luxurious mouthfeel, with only a touch of coconut flavor. The finish is crisp and light, without the sticky, cloying aftertaste all too common in standard milk chocolate. After years of perfecting this recipe and countless awards for this unique invention, we are proud to be able to deliver this work of confectionery art to our fans and customers."
Raw cacao is one of the most phytochemically complex foods on earth. Many of its constituents have yet to even be discovered!
Here are just a few compounds found in raw 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 one's sense of well-being) neurotransmitter dopamine (increases one's 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) and sitosterol (helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels). Amazing!
Coconut has been used by many cultures worldwide for thousands of years, and is well known for its many amazing properties. Coconut is so nutritious, its list of benefits reads like a patent medicine bottle. It’s full of health-boosting lauric acid and medium-chain triglycerides, has antimicrobial and anti-viral qualities, and has been shown to help with weight loss, Alzheimer’s, cognitive function and athletic performance. It nourishes the thyroid, helps prevent candida overgrowth, boosts the metabolism, and makes skin and hair softer. Also, it’s one of the tastiest things a person could eat. (No offense, sea veggies.)
Storing your raw cacao bar is not to be taken lightly. Because the raw chocolate has been tempered oh-so-gently, it will melt easily. Store between 50 and 80 degrees (but I wouldn't throw it in the fridge or freezer, either) for long shelf life and little risk of squish.
From Brian Wallace, the founder: "My spark for chocolate began when I had my first sample of raw cacao beans - the seeds of the Theobroma cacao tree and the botanical source of all things chocolate. A subtle euphoria gently washed over me, awakening my mind & enlivening me from within. I quickly realized that the “chocolate” I’d had most of my life was so over-processed and diluted with refined sugar & milk that it barely resembled the original food crop it was derived from. A few months later, I quit my job to travel the world in search of the perfect cacao bean, and to apprentice with any teacher who would share their skills with me. I became inspired to create a new style of chocolate, one that synthesized classical European technology, modern nutritional research, and the ethereal aspects of cacao familiar to the ancient Maya & Aztec. I founded Endorfin several years and hundreds of recipes later, to reintroduce cacao to the modern world as the highly nutritive, uplifting ‘food of the gods’ that it once was."
But wait, there's more. It's not enough to just feel one with your cacao bean, study the plants, and hope that magic happens. There's a lot of work, and a lot of focus. The result is obvious in Endorfin's statement about their ingredients:
"All of our organic vegan chocolate bars are crafted with care & integrity in Oakland, California using ethically traded, unroasted heirloom cacao, coconut mylk, and coconut sugar (a low-glycemic whole food sweetener). We are committed to making pure, wholesome chocolate with real ingredients, which means every bar we produce is approved for vegan, paleo, and/or whole foods diets. All of our chocolate bars are dairy free, soy free, gluten free, agave free, GMO free, and never contain refined sugar. Additionally, we strive to make the earth a better place one chocolate bar at a time, and are committed to utilizing plant-based biofilms, vegetable-based inks, and compostable/recyclable materials for 100% of our packaging."
Brian's quest for amazing superfoods might have reached a recent pinnacle with chocolate making, but his ethnobotany is the guiding foundation behind everything he does. Hear about their latest feats and adventures on their feed, or their Facebook page.
Here's their aim when making chocolate, "We formulate each of our recipes from scratch using the highest quality cacao we can find, employing just the right amount of whole food sweeteners, spices, & essential oils to let the brilliance of the ingredients speak for themselves. We have chosen not to roast our cacao beans, which allows us to deliver the maximum range of flavor & antioxidants possible with every bar we make. We never adulterate or dilute our products with anything that would cheapen or minimize the vitality-promoting aspects inherent to our unique style of processing, hence the lack of any dairy, soy, or refined sugar in anything we create. In essence, our products unite our old school purist ethos with modern technology & craftsmanship, resulting in a timeless picture of indulgence that is intrinsically sustainable and nourishing to the soul."
Honestly, that's up to you. This is a rich and sweet and wholly ethical piece of chocolate. But it's not a super high percentage cacao wedge meant to drive up your tolerance for limited sugar. This bar is sweet in a way that will bring over your Paleo-reluctant relatives, hoping to not give up their conventional dark chocolate. It's the bar that changes hearts and minds. How about that for a side benefit?
Well, yes, true. But you don't really want it to say Milk if there is no dairy involved - that just confuses the heck out of folks. So with the sweet creaminess of coconut milk included in the bar, let's just agree on mylk. Good, that's settled.