We often get a lot of questions related to the percentage of cocoa in our bars, so I wanted to take a moment to address these concerns today. In a bean-to-bar dominated industry, the quality of chocolate products is often determined by the amount of cocoa that goes into each bar. It seems like everyone nowadays wants to chat about percentage. While we love a good 85%, organic, fair-trade bar as much as the next guy, Honey Mama’s Cacao-Nectar bars can’t really be judged under these standards. Without really trying, we created a treat that is somewhat undefinable. A cacao-nectar bar isn’t a chocolate bar, per se, but it does contain oodles of antioxidant-rich cocoa powder as an ingredient. It isn’t a “performance” bar, but it is incredibly nutritious, and sure to keep you moving energetically throughout your day. One thing for certain is that it definitely isn’t candy. Christy Goldsby, the founder of Honey Mama’s, decided to call them cacao-nectar bars since they are loaded with raw honey (that’s the nectar, folks). This ingredient alone sets us apart from the crowd. And that’s just the beginning! The bars produced in our kitchen are made with five whole-food ingredients, in fact, and cocoa just happens to be one of them. The combination of these five high-quality ingredients – cocoa powder, raw honey, virgin coconut oil, Himalayan pink salt, and sprouted raw almonds (OR unsweetened shredded coconut in our nut-free bars) creates an alchemic explosion of flavor. In other words, all of the ingredients in our bars are essential to making the treat you love so much. If we left any of these ingredients out, or compromised the integrity of them in any way, we would have a much different product on our hands. It is the balance of these fantastic ingredients that makes a Honey Mama’s cacao-nectar bar so special. Yes, cocoa is AH-MAZING, but it’s the way in which all of these ingredients come together that make our bars chock full of nutrients, and yes, somewhat undefinable. And you know what? We’re okay with that.
So, why is our culture so obsessed with the bean-to-bar movement? Well, it comes from an honest place, and I, for one, am stoked to see that more and more people actually DO care what goes into their food. The term “bean-to-bar” technically means that a company processes the cocoa beans into a product directly, rather than working with purchased chocolate to create their product. This results in closer ties between the grower and the chocolate maker, and can also lead to the production of more ethical and sustainable products. When you roast your own beans, and grind them down in-house, you are able to estimate exactly how much chocolate goes into the bars in comparison to sugar (or additional ingredients). Since we don’t use sugar, and believe raw honey to be a nutritional superstar, we can’t really be lumped in with most forms of bean-to-bar chocolate.
If you are still a little confused about what makes Honey Mama’s bars so different from others products on the market shelves, here is a little synopsis for ya:
- “Percentage doesn’t apply here”. Remember when we started this conversation, and I mentioned that ALL of our ingredients are top-notch, not just the cocoa? Well, the most important factor here is the honey that we use. It’s local, raw, incredibly delicious, and our bars just wouldn’t be the same without it. We source our honey from Mickelberry Gardens out in Gresham, Oregon, making it not only raw and fantastic, but also local to our region, and in close proximity to our production kitchen. We love Matt and Madelyn, and their commitment to sustainable beekeeping practices so much that we are in the midst of writing a whole blog post specifically about them! Keep your eyes peeled for that post, which should be landing on our site early next week.
- Bean-to-bar is a different product altogether. Although we use cocoa in each and every one of our bars (also called cacao when it is raw and unprocessed), we use it in the powdered form. We have two bars that are 100% raw (Mayan Spice, Peruvian Raw) and for those bars we source raw cacao powder from a supplier who works directly with a co-op in Peru that grows, harvests and presses the raw organic cacao on site using no water. For the other bars, we choose Agostoni alkalized cocoa powder for their dedication to quality, integrity, and sustainable business practices. We also purchase roasted cocoa nibs from the supplier we get our raw cacao from. High-quality products indeed, but quite different from your average boutique chocolate maker. To read more about cocoa, click here.
- Our bars are made from superfoods! Not many bean-to-bar chocolates can say that, even if they are made with the best ingredients. You can check out more about the health benefits of our bars by visiting our Ingredients page.
- Most importantly, we are located in the refrigerated section of the market, because, you know, we’re cool like that. Since the base of our bars is made of raw honey and virgin coconut oil, the bars soften too quickly to be stored at room temperature. Therefore, Honey Mama’s Cacao-Nectar bars must be kept cold. This is probably the most defining factor of our bars, and also the most frustrating when folks can’t find us. Since there are currently no regulations as to where our bars our housed, finding Honey Mama’s in your local market can be somewhat akin to a treasure hunt. Sometimes you can find us in the grab n’ go section, and other times we are located in the produce department. If all else fails, just ask! The employees at most markets should be able to easily lead you to your treasure. Once you grab a taste, all that searching will be worth it. Pinky swear.
So, do you now have a better understanding of what a cacao-nectar bar is all about? We certainly hope so! If not, please get in touch. We love your comments, questions, and love letters, and are happy to answer any queries you send our way. You can contact us anytime by clicking this link and filling out our contact form.
Bee sweet, y’all.