Monday, April 11, 2016

What the hell is Chocolate Leather? Let's find out together!

What the hell is Chocolate Leather?! When Rich first asked me about reviewing it, a few different scenarios ran through my mind. Could it be a replica of the Fonz’s jacket made entirely from milk chocolate? Maybe a few slabs of flank steak carved out of the cows that they use to make chocolate milk? Or perhaps he had heard about my crippling loneliness and pitied me enough to send me out a top-notch hooker from Seattle? With high hopes it was the latter, I enthusiastically responded with a hell yea and I sent him my office address, because whatever the situation was, I’d almost certainly be receiving a very welcome stress relief in the middle of a very stressful day. 

A few weeks later I had completely forgotten about the offer as the paradoxically anxiety inducing and mind numbing work days cyclically rolled on like a wheel on Satan’s chariot. Upon my return from yet another lunch break that felt exactly 7.5 times too short, I was welcomed back by two large packages behind the front desk for a co-worker, or so I assumed, as I hadn’t had the time to order office supplies for at least a month. I brought the packages to her desk and as I passed them to her, the shipping label on the larger one caught my bloodshot eyes. The sender: Manhattan Chocolates. The recipient: yours truly. At that moment it dawned on me that the mysteries of Chocolate Leather were about to be revealed.

I didn’t even wait to get it back to my desk. I ripped open that box like it contained a life less depressing than my own. Well in a way, it did, because this treasure chest contained not one Chocolate Leathers, not two, but five beautiful boxes of them- three original, three dark chocolate. 

Things were finally looking up. 

I took the bounty back to my desk and opened one up. I chewed it… and I chewed… and I kept on chewing. These bars are extremely chewy. But as I chewed my mouth filled up with genuine chocolate flavor. The flavor of the dark chocolate flavor is indistinguishable from a traditional chocolate bar. The original flavor has more of a caramel like taste. But the consistency is a bit strange- not just the chewiness but it actually becomes kind of a grainy texture from the brown rice crisps. I ate a couple of each flavor, which I enjoyed, and then decided I was satisfied, what with bikini season coming up and what not. A few minutes later I found myself mindlessly reaching for another, and another. After about eating six or seven, I noticed that they were only a mere fifty or sixty calories each! So I gleefully and gluttonously snacked on them guilt free for the rest of the day. Not bad for a dude who just came back from his lunch break.

With my brain now saturated in chocolate covered serotonin, I decided to share my good fortune with some of my coworkers, blissfully unaware that I would quickly creating a whole office full of ravenous chocolate craving monsters. A mere half hour later people I had never seen before were asking me for one of these mysterious treats that had taken the building by storm. My co-workers didn’t like them, they LOVED them. Seriously, it’s been a few weeks since that awesome day and they are still asking me if I have any left (I do, but I tell them I don’t because I want them for myself). 

As an added bonus for our friends with dietary restrictions out there, they’re gluten, dairy, soy, and GMO free. They also use fair trade certified ingredients- which, admittedly, I don’t exactly know what that means but it sounds like something I’d probably be on board with. Anyway,  I think Chocolate Leather would be perfect for chocolate lovers to take on hikes or a long bike rides, because they won’t get all melty in your backpack or picnic basket like regular chocolate (although a bit gooey if you pocket them for too long). Look, I know they sound pretty weird, but everyone I’ve shared them with so far has enjoyed them and eaten more than a few. With this in mind, here’s my report card:
Chocolate Leather Original Flavor: B
Chocolate Leather Dark Chocolate Flavor: B+

The one constructive criticism I might give is that given they’re aimed at the health conscious consumer, it’d be nice to see some protein worked in there. But then again, I’m a lowly food blogger, not a food scientist- this suggestion is probably easier said than done. Truth be told, I’ll binge eat them either way.

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