When I’m looking to eat dessert, I’m not always looking to be deluged in sugar or something extremely sweet. Sure, I’ve gone overboard on mango sticky rice, Skippy Peanut Butter and Chocolate, and at buffets, but these days, that craving has been slightly tamed. That’s where Portland, Oregon-based Honey Mama’s Cacao-Nectar bars come in.
So, what is it that helps keep the sugar-high at bay? According to Honey Mama’s, raw honey, cacao powder, coconut oil, Himalayan pink salt, and either sprouted almonds or shredded coconut. Not to mention, all of the bars are organic, non-GMO, direct trade (straight from the supplier)-sourced, dairy-free, gluten-free, grain-free, and soy-free. Those latter words usually scare me off, but in this case, I was hooked. Moreover, if you care about ratings/reviews/awards/pomp, Honey Mama’s recently earned a silver sofi award at the 2017 New York Summer Fancy Food Show. Sweet! Bad pun much intended.
Before we get into the flavors, there’s one particular phrase in the previous paragraph with which I had no understanding- “sprouted.” (Well, “organic” is a tricky one, but I’ll let it pass for now.) Basically, when you sprout something – almonds, in this case – you soak them to make them release their enzyme inhibitors. Removing the inhibitors makes them much easier to digest, and also lets you make almond (or cashew, etc.) milk.
I chatted with Christy Goldsby, the amiable founder of Honey Mama’s, at the Fancy Food Show. She founded the company in January 2012, and started selling her cacao-nectar bars in March 2012 in the Pacific Northwest. They must be refrigerated, otherwise they will quickly be eaten. (in other news, I hope that hazelnut and peanut version will be introduced…)
To date, Honey Mama’s offers seven flavors:
- Dutch – the original, with Dutch cocoa, sprouted almonds, and a hint of vanilla.
- Peruvian Raw – A bit more delicate than Dutch. It also contains raw cacao powder to add a boost of antioxidants. It’s still chocolate, but it’s chocolate with a feather in its cap.
- Mayan Spice – Cinnamon and cayenne join the fray. I didn’t get enough of a kick from this one, but I could see melting it into hot chocolate to win some over.
- CocoNoNut – Coconut meat in a Dutch bar. Yum.
- Lavender Red Rose – Surprisingly, I thought this to be the best of the lot. Lavender sounds like a typical gimmick these days in chocolate, but its essential oil worked very well here. Roses were a nice light touch, too, and serve to remind me that Portland, Oregon is nicknamed the “Rose City.”
- Oregon Peppermint – Infusing peppermint oil and shredded coconut sounded like it should’ve been my favorite, but I didn’t get enough of a hint of coconut. That said, it was still quite good.
- Nibs and Coffee – Peruvian cacao nibs and Ethiopian coffee combine to make an unusually successful bar. Wake yourself up (at any time of the day?) with this one.
Craving some Honey Mama’s? Buy some either on their site, or hopefully at a store near you.