Saturday, November 13, 2010

Amber Lyn Sugar Free Dark Chocolate & Mint


1.2oz (34g) bar
Ingredients: Chocolate, maltitol, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, vanilla, mint extract
0g sugar; 15g maltitol per bar

I'm wary of sugar free chocolate because I've had bad experiences with it: Too sweet for my taste, overwhelming sweetener flavor, low-quality chocolate, and...well...gastrointestinal side effects. Occasionally I'm tempted to give it another shot, in this case because of a gift from a gracious relative who bought some from an enthusiastic Amber Lyn representative at Costco. It's a sampler of 15 bars in seven flavors, so I'm either in the money or saddled with a lot of junk. For tasting purposes, I've selected a mint bar. Yes, I could try the plain dark chocolate or dark chocolate with nibs to get a purer sense of what Amber Lyn has to offer, but I wussed out and went with something that, if need be, might better hide lousy flavor.

The bar is simply molded, quite glossy and in a medium brown. There's no percent cacao on the wrapper, but by weight it's about 56% non-sugar, and since there isn't much else in there I'd say we're talking a 50-something-percent cacao bar. It smells minty and sweet, without a strong chocolate scent, like most lower-cacao chocolate. When I tried to break a piece off in the chilly room I'm writing in, it snapped hard down the middle, so to taste it I gnawed along that edge. Moment of truth...it's actually quite pleasant. The mint is bright and fun, the chocolate is dense and sweet, and while the sweetener doesn't taste like sugar, it's pretty inoffensive.

For my purposes I won't be eating too much of this chocolate. I don't want my palate to get used to sweets again, and I don't want to bring on maltitol's side effects. But if I could tolerate the maltitol and I were reeling from, say, a diabetes diagnosis, I might be happy to keep a big ol' Costco box of Amber Lyn's chocolate around—though I'll have to taste the plainer varieties to be sure.

Conclusion: Amber Lyn Sugar Free Dark Chocolate & Mint is a fine substitute for low-cacao mint dark chocolate.

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