Ever had a Turkish coffee? It's grainy, strong as heck for the tiny 2-ounce size, laced with cardamom, and sweetened perfectly. Go try one, or make a mental note to do so on your next Middle Eastern food excursion. Then, have this chocolate bar from Endorfin and watch your brain say, "HEY!!! It's Turkish coffee!!" This eerily awesome bar hits the flavor notes perfectly, from fruity cardamom to bittersweet coffee. Oh, and the creamy-deep chocolate. Don't forget that part, the reason you bought a bar in the first place. It's worth every last little nibble.
It's true, that story above. I bit into this bar and flashed back to wonderful Middle Eastern restaurant visits capped off by a teeny cup of sweet tarry coffee. The association was immediate and powerful. What makes the flavors so perfect? A few good reasons: coffee beans, raw cacao, and just the right amount of cardamom. That coffee is far from just a hint; the beans are ground whole into a fine powder then blended right into the base of the chocolate mass. There's no messing around with the java content here. Next, a bit of whole coconut is pureed to give the "mylk" creaminess to the confection. Finally, the coconut sugar and a bit of cardamom bring in the final components of what Turkish coffee can be. Thank you to Endorfin for giving that pleasant trip down memory lane.
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!).
"Our Turkish Coffee chocolate bar is definitely not for the faint of heart. Like the centuries old traditional recipe, our version includes leaving the whole ground coffee bean in, which we stone-ground to silky smooth perfection for a clean and smooth mouthfeel. The defining flavors of this bar are derived from the pairing of dark coffee with freshly ground cardamom, a combination that has made this one of our time-tested fan favorites. The combination of coffee and unroasted heirloom cacao in this bar make it a methylxanthine dream come true. Whether you pick up a single bar or an entire case, rest assured that we'll have this unlimited edition recipe around for years to come."
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.)
Cardamom, native to India, is a staple in Ayurvedic medicine. This warming herbal spice has a heady aroma, and is said to improve digestion, alleviate depression and help with cold and flu, among many other benefits.
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 goal, in their own words, "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."
"Coffee should be as black as hell, as strong as death, and as sweet as love." -- Turkish Proverb
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.