Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Dark Chocolate Pear & Almond Bar - Whole Foods: Marlton, NJ

Dark Chocolate Pear & Almond Bar - Whole Foods: Marlton, NJ
Unlike my last post, this was a food item that I was really looking forward to.

Pears are one of my favorite fruits and it's very rare to see them used in American candies, let alone mixed up in a dark chocolate bar. (Which is my favorite type of chocolate. The darker the better!)  Even though all of the the ingredients sounded really appealing, my track record with items from Whole Foods has been very hit or miss. Maybe this item will tip the scales in their favor?

The packaging for this candy bar is similar to Ghirardelli, Lindt, and other higher-end chocolate bars, but I feel like the overall design is more modern and a bit less sophisticated. Since I am more of a modern art fan, and I love faux texturing, I really like this package. Nothing is perfectly centered, and I think that makes everything a lot more interesting, plus there are little detailed design elements everywhere. You can see a hint of the UV gloss scroll pattern at the top of the packaging, and the rest of the matte cardboard box has a faux marble overlay. This little candy box makes me very happy as a graphic designer, although I feel like the text on the back is a little bit too large. (Then again I have a tendency for my designs to have thin and small texts, and I have very good eyes. It might just be my personal preference.) Inside the box, the candy bar is sealed inside a sheet of shiny silver foil. The foil wrapping is plain and unmarked, but it's actual foil! It's been a while since I've had a candy bar that was sealed in foil and not a silvery plastic. It might seem a bit plain, but the cardboard sleeve more than makes up for the lack of design.

I peeled back the foil and...

Oh dear, is it supposed to be spotted? I scratched at one of the spots with my nail and it turned into a power, so it isn't bit of exposed pear or almond, but maybe it's supposed to look like that? I have a feeling it isn't, maybe the chocolate has been sitting on the shelf for a while? Welp, spots or not spots, I'm gonna eat it.

The candy snapped into nicely portioned squares, about the size of an individually wrapped Ghirardelli chocolate square, and it smelled like bitter dark chocolate with a hint of fruitiness. Even though I love pears, I'd never be able to tell that this was pear infused chocolate from it's scent alone. The aroma is more generically fruity, almost like a trail mix, than distinctively pear.

I took a bite, and it was absolutely delicious and everything I had hoped it would be. The chocolate has a satisfying snap and it melted slowly in my mouth with a nice amount of bitterness. Inside, there were crispy bits of pear and almond to add texture as well as flavoring. I could tell that this was meant to be pear after my first bite, but I was really looking forward to this fruity flavor, so those of you who aren't so keen on pears might have mistaken this for another fruit. Personally, I am not only happy that a pear infused dark chocolate bar exists, but that it actually tastes like it says it will!

The most surprisingly thing about this candy was that the little slivers of pear were so crisp and flavorful, especially when they were sliced so thin. The slivers of almond and fruit were almost the same size and thickness as shredded coconut, but they stayed really crispy in the dark chocolate. How do they do it?

It's safe to say that I absolutely loved this candy bar, and I would gladly repurchase this in the future. It didn't seem like the spots caused any damage to the flavoring, but maybe they are supposed to be there after all. I'll have to buy another bar to find out. (Or maybe two...or three...)
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