“ Brand: Seeds of Change / Type: Milk „
Seeds Of Change are an ethical organic company who believe in trying to get back to Nature's roots by being 100% organic in everything they do. Their products include a range of sauces, pasta, cereal bars and of course chocolate all created from ethical and natural sources. All sounds good on paper (or on their website), but how does that compare with whats really important- and that my friends, is how do their products taste?
My wife is an agent for BZZZ who supply their reporters with key products then ask them to file their feedback on said items. Recently we were sent two Seeds Of Change chocolate bars, along with some vouchers for money off our next purchase, for us to taste and report back on. Of the two, this milk chocolate bar with apricot and cashew looked the most intriguing as I had never experienced apricot in a chocolate bar before and was intrested to give it a whirl.....
The first impression I had was that this was very good quality chocolate! Though the bar itself was reasonably thin, the quality of the cocoa beans is such that you can tell that this is not going to be the most price-friendly bar on the shelves but that you are definetely going to get good quality for what you pay for! My wife complained that, to her, this tasted very littrle different from normal fruit and nut and I had to agree. The apricot did not at first leap out at you the way I imagined it would and the cashew was pleasant but not earth-shaking. It certainly is a bit different to find cashews in chocolate in my experience but that does not nessecarily mean it doesn't work very well. Upon my second helping a couple of days later, I thought I could taste the apricot a little better (or maybe I just got a bigger bit in that part of the bar) but again it was pleasant but nothing that would make me swoon with delight! In fact the only things this chocolate bar has going for it is that the chocolate is very rich and scrumptious and that it is very ethically sourced so you can eat it not just with a clear conscience but also aware that you have done some moral good for third-world farming and the global enviroment at large. Of course, some of us don't care to know about all that stuff and just want to enjoy a bar of chocolate, but at least if you are going to spend your money, this company allows you to do so responsibly. And it does appear as though more and more people have jumped on the fair-trade organic band wagon of late so I could see this having an appeal on that basis!
Would I reccommend this to anyone? Probably as it is a decent enough bar of chocolate, something different and ethically and morally sound. I am not too bothered myself about this latter reason but it is nice to think that your purchase is doing that little bit of good and that you are doing your bit and if I was going to soend more than I would on an average bar of chocolate that might be enough to sway me to this brand!
This is all the information regarding nutrition etc from the website...
"Milk Chocolate with Apricot and Cashew - Malatya apricots are dried naturally under the Turkish sun and paired with crisp cashews and folded into milk chocolate producing a wonderful creamy combination of sweet and crunchy.
Nutritional Information as follows:
Organic Dark Chocolate
Apricot and Cashew
Organic milk chocolate with apricot pieces (8.0%) and cashews (7.0%)
Raw cane sugar*, full cream milk powder*, cocoa butter*, cocoa mass*, apricot pieces*, cashews*, emulsifier (soya lecithin), vanilla extract*. (Traces: hazelnut, almond and other nuts). Milk chocolate contains milk solids 24% minimum and cocoa solids 35% minimum.
A three piece serving contains:
158 Calories - 7.9%
13.5g Sugar - 15.0%
9.8g Fat - 14.0%
5.2g Saturates - 26.0%
0.05g Salt - 0.8% "
Seeds Of Change products are available from Waitrose, Sainsburys and most decent health stores (it says Tesco and Morrisons on the web-site but my locals do not stock them and our Tesco is an Extra as well!) and a bar of this will set you back around the £1.94 mark for a 100g bar.
So not cheap then but then ethical diversity apparently comes at a price....
Regular readers of my reviews may already be aware that I am a BzzAgent and am occasionally given the opportunity to test products for free in return for spreading the word about them to others. (It's not a paid job, unfortunately, but a nice way to try stuff for free. Anybody interested can sign up online at http://bzzagent.co.uk/) My latest products to try are premium quality organic chocolate bars made by Seeds of Change, a brand that I more readily associate with savoury organic produce. I've previously tried some of their organic pasta and pasta sauces but didn't realise that they also produce a range of organic chocolate until I was invited to join this Bzz campaign.
I have previously tried and reviewed the other free bar I received, the Orange & Fig variety, which was made from dark chocolate. Much as I wanted to love the chocolate, particularly as it was a freebie, dark chocolate is just too bitter for my tastes and it wasn't something that I would look at buying again. Having already tried that flavour, I had mixed feelings about trying this one, the Milk Chocolate Apricot & Cashew variety. I was much happier that this was made with milk chocolate, which is generally much sweeter, creamier and more palatable than dark chocolate. There was one particular problem with this flavour though, as far as I was concerned, which was that it contains cashew nuts and I'm not a big fan of nuts in general. (No dramatic allergies or anything untoward, I'm just not overly keen on the texture of nuts overall.)
The bar itself is packaged in the same old-fashioned (retro style?)brown paper wrapper with the chocolate segmented into easy to snap slabs under a foil wrap. I slowly snapped off my first piece of chocolate, hoping to love it but also aware that there was a strong likelihood that I wouldn't, given my aversion to nuts. The milk chocolate itself was absolutely divine. It tasted just as high quality milk chocolate should do and started to melt in my mouth almost instantly, leaving a creamy, sweet (but not overly sweet) taste in my mouth. The nuts that I'd been so apprehensive about were barely detectable, which was a major positive as far as I was concerned but I'd imagine that would be a big disappointment to any nut lovers out there. The cashew was very finely chopped within the chocolate. I'd say it contained very tiny slithers of nuts, rather than any more substantial pieces. The flavour they left was reminiscent of praline, which is a nutty taste that I don't generally dislike too much.
The apricots were also very finely chopped which, again for me, was a positive as dried apricots can be rather chewy and I think too large pieces would have made the chocolate rather difficult and unpleasant to eat. The apricots help to give the illusion of 'healthy eating' on some tenuous level, I suppose, but I wouldn't imagine the quantity contained within the bar would count as one of your five a day!
At £1.99 per 100g bar, from national retailers including Sainsbury's and Waitrose, this is comparable value to other brands of premium quality organic chocolate (most notably Green & Blacks.) It's not a particular variety that I would choose to purchase again for myself, but that's more about my own personal taste rather than any criticism of the product itself. Certainly the milk chocolate itself was very rich, smooth and creamy and, provided the flavours available were in keeping with my tastes I would consider buying other milk chocolate bars in the range.
Like most people who have reviewed this product recently I am a Bzz agent and have been sent two bars of chocolate for me to try and tell the world about. The two chocolate bars I received were Seeds of Change Dark chocolate Orange and Fig and a second bar of Milk chocolate Apricot and Cashew.
I had never heard of the Seeds of Change company and after checking them out on the internet, it turns out they are an Organic food company who make organic soups, sauces and pasta and have recently gone into the chocolate field, trying to be competition to Green and Blacks.
I love milk chocolate especially fruit and nut and was pleased to see this milk bar in the box along with a couple of money off vouchers.
So the second bar I am going to review is the Seeds of Change Milk Chocolate Apricot and Cashew.
The 100g chocolate bar is encased in foil and wrapped in a burnt orange and medium brown colour (the colour of the chocolate bar) paper wrapper with a drawing of a tree, grass, a peacock and a few butterflies dotted around for good measure, all the wrappings are of course recyclable. On the front of the wrapper it states "Grown for Pleasure" and "Malatya apricots dried naturally under the Turkish sun, married with crisp cashews and folded into out sublime, full-cream milk chocolate. Relax". On the back of the wrapper is another splurge of words "In our world, dried apricots aren't bright orange, they're a deep dark copper colour - telling us that they're free from any chemical preservatives. We buy ours in Malatya, Turkey, where they are naturally dried in the open air and have an irresistibly intense sweetness. In fact the Turks have a proverb about their apricots "bunden iyisi sam 'da kayisi", loosely meaning "it doesn't get any better than this". Although once they are folded into our milk chocolate, and married with the sweet, crisp cashew nuts - we think it does ". So at least on this bar they didn't tell me how to open the bar!
So I've opened the wrapper and have the bar in front of me. The milk chocolate bar is moulded into 10 cubes of around an inch square, 5 cubes are stamped with 'Seeds of change organic' and the other 5 are stamped with something that looks a bit like an orange. The smell of the chocolate bar is creamy. I snap off a piece of chocolate and place gently in my gob and chew. The taste of the chocolate is creamy but I can't seem to get any taste of apricot and there is certainly no crisp cashew nuts to bite into. The apricots are chopped to about ½ cm but the cashews are chopped up so small they are virtually undetectable
The bar contains 8% of apricot pieces and 7 % of cashew nuts. 3 pieces of chocolate contain 158 calories and 9.8 grams of fat which on checking out a bar of Green and Blacks Raisin and hazelnut this chocolate is reasonable. The chocolate contains a minimum of 35% cocoa solids which is less than Green and Blacks
The chocolate contains traces of hazelnut, almond and other nuts, so is not suitable for people with nut allergies, also I can't find anywhere on the wrapper of this chocolate where it states it is suitable for vegetarians. The chocolate meets the soil association's standard for organic food and farming and has organic certification IT-QCI.
1% of all their sales goes back into research and promotion of biodiversity and sustainable organic practices, so that's 2p accounted for, it probably costs around 92p to make and pay the workers, so could the other £1.00 be profit!
This chocolate is available in Sainsbury's for £1.94 or Waitrose for £1.99 and has four different flavours, Plain Dark Chocolate, Dark Chocolate Orange and Fig, Dark Chocolate Hazelnut and Walnut and Milk Chocolate Apricot and Cashew, or from health food shops.
Unlike the Fig and Orange bar that Bzz sent me, this bar is not out of date and has a best before of April 2010.
Seeds of Change Freeby Lane, Waltham on the Wolds, Leicestershire, LE14 4RS, www.seedsofchange.co.uk, telephone 0800 9520000
Unlike the Fig and Orange bar, I quite liked this chocolate, the chocolate was creamy but did take a while to melt in the mouth. The apricots were quite chewy but the cashew nuts just weren't big enough for me, if they were slightly bigger, the crunch would have complimented the chewiness of the apricots very well. I could easily sit and munch my way through this bar while sitting watching a good film on the television, which pleased me unlike the fig and orange.
I wouldn't go out of my way to buy this chocolate though, if I should particularly want to buy an organic fruit and nut chocolate I would buy Green and Blacks Raisin and Hazelnuts, its cheaper and contains a lot more nuts to give you a better crunch.
Sorry Seeds of Change but I can honestly say you have not managed to poach me from Green and Blacks.
Some of the information in this review has been taken from my other review on Seeds of Change Fig and Orange Chocolate bar.
Many thanks for reading. Anna
As a member of Bzz I, like many lucky Dooyoo-ers, was thrilled to receive two large bars of chocolate from the Seeds of Change brand through the post last week. One was this Apricot and Cashew Milk Chocolate bar and the other was Orange & Fig Dark Chocolate, which I shall no doubt review at a later date.
Seeds of Change are a company you may or may not have heard of, they started life as an organic seeds supplier and in recent years have branched out into creating organic food which can now be found in most of the large supermarkets and health food stores. They do seem a rather caring company, especially in these fat-cat megabrand days, and donate a portion of their sales to environmental projects such as sustainable organic agriculture and recently they made a large donation to the Kew Millennium Seed Bank Project.
Their Apricot and Cashew Organic Milk Chocolate is divine. Absolutely delicious. I do eat a fair amount of organic chocolate although this isn't born of a specific wish to eat organic products, it's just that I generally prefer the taste and textures involved. Green & Blacks is my absolute favourite but I am fond of Divine and Sainsbury's Organic Chocolate too, I must admit I had never tried Seeds of Change chocolate before although have been aware of the brand for some time. After eating this bar they have quickly asserted themselves as one of my 'must have' organic chocolates and I thoroughly intend to search out more varieties from the range as this was so tasty.
The milk chocolate is very smooth, it's almost like the Milka chocolate that I adore but has a creaminess that raises it head and shoulders above Milka in quality. It's a nice sweet chocolate, but not overpoweringly so like Cadbury's or Lindt milk chocolates. I love the way the chocolate clings to the chunks of apricot and decent sized cashew pieces, it melts beautifully in my mouth leaving me with the simple flavour of the chocolate and a small pile of apricots and cashews to chew on.
Everything about this bar says quality to me. The apricots give the chocolate a subtle fruity flavour, although this only comes across when you bite into a piece of the fruit which is a good thing really as I wouldn't really want the chocolate's individual flavour to be changed too much. The texture of the otherwise very smooth chocolate is completely changed by the addition of the apricots and cashew nuts, it has a similar texture to Cadbury's Fruit & Nut only so much nicer. The apricots are delightful, perfectly dried they have retained a softness which compliments both the smooth chocolate and the slightly crunchy texture of the nuts - for me it's the apricot which really holds the bar together as the fruitiness of it goes really well with the naturally oily consistency of the cashews.
I cannot rate this bar of chocolate highly enough and I shall certainly buy it again. It's hard to put it into words, but it seems special and so luxurious to eat. This chocolate, as per the rest of their range, is made from 100% organically grown ingredients and is certified by the Soil Association which really means there is no excuse not to eat it! Unless you don't like chocolate I suppose.
Seeds of Change is an organic food line that I first heard of just a couple of months ago. I was at my sister-in-law's house during a visit to London and she served up pasta in a tomato and basil sauce that my daughter loved and requested I purchased once we got home.
I was then given the opportunity to test a couple of Seeds of Change's chocolate bars as a Bzzz Agent (yes, there's a reason for the proliferation of reviews on this stuff!) and as someone who loves chocolate, signed up immediately.
This bar weighs 100 grammes and is wrapped in silver foil and then covered in thick paper. This product is definitely aimed at the higher end of the market and I feel the packaging reflects this.
I was a little apprehensive when I saw this flavour as I am neither a huge fan of apricots, nor cashew nuts. However I got something for almost nothing - and Seeds of Change wanted to know what I thought of their products, so my diet was put to one side for the day as I reached for the bar.
At first glance the Seeds of Change chocolate looks like most other premium chocolate brands - and upon opening this impression remains as the bar is thinner than standard bars of this size made by Cadbury or Galaxy.
Of course this brand isn't trying to compete with those market leaders - Seeds of Change are targeting a more ethically minded consumer with this organic confection and I tend to find the brands aiming at the more specialist market tend to produce thinner bars of chocolate.
So far so good - I broke off a piece of the chocolate, and took a bite.
The taste was...well - pleasant enough. I suppose I had been expecting something more luxurious with a rich, chocolate flavour, but I actually thought the milk chocolate was really rather ordinary.
I am the first to admit I have a bland palate and am a philistine when it comes to some foods, but I will eat most kinds of chocolate (except American chocolate, which frankly, is vile) and expected more from a premium brand such as this.
It lacked the rich chocolate flavour one gets from a brand such as Green & Blacks or Lindt and given these are the brands Seeds of Change wish to compete with, I was disappointed.
When it came to the cashew nuts, well all I can say is they are seriously rationed, and consist of tiny flakes of nut rather than chunks. I couldn't even taste them, let alone feel the sensation of nuts in my mouth when I ate the chocolate which was very disappointing. I find the sensation of nuts and melting chocolate irresistible usually!
The one saving grace for this product was the apricots. Again, Seeds of Change have opted for small pieces of dried apricot inside the chocolate, but the texture is lovely and chewy and while the flavour is still a little bland, the combination of chocolate and apricot is delightful.
Seeds of Change chocolate bars retail at around £2 although you can find them on promotion sometimes.
Personally, I wouldn't pay that for a bar of chocolate - I am not a huge organic food shopper - but when I do buy organic it is invariably meat or fresh vegetables I buy - and this doesn't provide me with a chocolate bar I feel is of a high enough quality to justify the additional cost. Frankly I would rather buy some Lindt chocolate at that price and experience some really good quality chocolate.
You can learn more about Seeds of Change products on their website but I will briefly tell you that one 100g bar contains 525 calories, thus ensuring that my diet went on hold for the day!
This is a review of the Seeds of Change Organic milk chocolate, apricot and cashew chocolate bar.
As per my previous review regarding the dark chocolate, orange and fig bar I got the chance to try this new product through bzz.co.uk in exchange for telling people about the product and feeding back any comments.
What does it look like?
The bar is wrapped in paper that is orange and brown with a picture of a tree and a peacock, inside of the wrapper is information about the company. Inside of the paper wrapper is a silver foil wrapped chocolate bar roughly 25cm x 7cm which is neatly marked into 10 equal squares of chocolate about 1 cm thick.
The taste test
Unlike the other bar of chocolate this has no particular smell when opened other than general milk chocolate, you could be mistaken for thinking this was just ordinary milk chocolate. When you bite into a square the chocolate is creamy and smooth at first and then you find the small chunks of cashew, which are nice and crunchy, and then little pieces of chewy apricot. The apricot does not have as much flavour as that used by Cadbury in the apricot crumble bar but it does work better with cashews!
There is certainly lots of fruit and nut in this bar, all enclosed in chocolate, from looking at the bar you would not know that there are things inside, the texture is lovely and best if sucked slowly instead of chewed (although I find this with most chocolates anyway!).
The apricots are not very strong in flavour, I think the chocolate over powers the taste of both the apricots and cashews but you do get the feeling that the apricots are better quality than in other chocolate bars, they are not too sweet or too tangy, but perhaps a little bland.
The nutritional bit
525Kcal per 100g and 32.6g fat per 100g, not brilliant if on a diet but as an occasional treat it is ok. There is obviously milk involved in the making of this product and nuts so if allergic this is not for you.
Priced around £1.99 for 100g bar it is not the cheapest of chocolates, however it is organic so probably a bit better for you and the planet. Currently available in Waitrose and Saunsbury's.
Would I recommend it?
If you really like apricot flavoured things than this is probably for you. The overall taste is not very strong so don't expect to be blown away by loads of flavour, but it is a nice alternative to chemical filled sweets and chocolate. Not one for people allergic to milk or nuts and I would say not a child friendly flavour in particular (although as mentioned in my previous review it does take quite a while for it to melt if held in your hand), if you see it on offer why not give it a go.
*Seeds of Change fact - Curently they are the main sponsors of River Cottage on channel 4*
Seeds of Change Organic Milk Chocolate: Apricot and Cashew:
I would like to start by saying that I am an agent, not an agent in a Matrix way by a BzzAgent. I get sent samples and then I am supposed to talk about them with people and hand out the vouchers I get with my samples. It's part of the deal that we let people know that we are agents first which is why I have included the information here.
I was over the moon to receive free chocolate but to receive premium, organic chocolate with a conscience was amazing! For those of you not lucky enough to get free samples these bars cost about £1.99 for 100g but they are worth every penny.
Just so you know Seeds of Change started out preserving and trading in seeds. They concentrated on organic seeds and heritage seeds, (things that were at risk of being wiped out), and they have donated money to Kew Gardens who also preserve seeds for future generations. They donate 1% of their profits to promoting bio-diversity and organic agriculture. Seeds of change don't just make chocolate either but a whole range of foods. Finally they source there ingredients from all over the world to ensure they get the best. If you want to find out more about Seeds of Change check out their website at www.seedsofchange.co.uk.
The flavour I am reviewing today is the organic milk chocolate with apricot and cashew nuts. Before I have even finished reading the packet my mouth is watering beyond belief, (don't worry about me breaking my diet, I factored the few chunks I ate into my daily allowances), and I cannot wait to try it.
The packaging is very modern looking and quite beautiful being orange and brown, (but not in a 70s way), with some lovely silhouettes of birds, peacocks, butterflies and trees. It has the phrase 'grown for pleasure' which I think is a good saying and a nice marketing touch. Inside the packaging there is loads of information about the company and the ingredients they choose.
The ingredients read like a dream, no artificial nasties here at all just apricot pieces, cashew nuts, raw cane sugar, full cream milk powder, cocoa butter, cocoa mass, Soya lecithin and vanilla extract. All I can say is wow!
Now to unwrap the chocolate from the foil; Mmm the smell is amazing all creamy and chocolaty. It smells a little like Lidnt chocolate. I can't smell the nuts or apricots but neither of those ingredients really have a strong smell.
Breaking a couple of large squares off, (I can have two as my less than 100 calorie snack), I notice that the chocolate melts very quickly in my hand which is a good sign. Putting the chocolate in my mouth I am met by the most intensely creamy, rich flavour. It is better than my normal favourites, (Divine and Green and Blacks), by a long shot! I wish I had the words to explain fully how good the chocolate really is. Hopefully just telling you that two pieces satisfied my pre-menstrual chocolate cravings will go some way to explaining it!
The initial smooth milk chocolate gives way to sweet, chewy pieces of apricot that unfortunately don't have a strong taste but add a lot to the chocolate in terms of texture. The cashew nut pieces are very small but also tasty and crispy which is another nice texture.
For me this is the perfect chocolate. Everything about it is wonderful apart from the lack of flavour in the apricots but it doesn't really need it. I would recommend this chocolate to anyone who wants some great tasting, luxury chocolate as a treat. Although it has a lot of calories, (three squares contain 158 calories, 13.5g of sugar and 9.8g of fat), you don't need a lot to feel satisfied.
Until recently I had never heard of this chocolate brand 'Seeds of Change'. One reason for this may be that their products are only sold at larger Waitrose and Sainsbury stores as well as s few health food shops. The products themselves have more in common with brands I often see for sale in my local Holland and Barratt or Whole Foods, such as Green and Blacks, than they do with a mega brand like Cadburys. The chocolate has specialist flavour and taste combinations and is produced with a company focus on ethics and environmental issues.
A few facts and figures about the chocolate and the company are necessary to prove how worthy this brand is of supporting by buying their products. For starters the chocolate is organic. The company work with cocoa growers in the Dominican Republic to help improve crop conditions and provide practical training for these growers. They also support projects in Brazil which will enable sustainable cocoa growing. 1% of company profits is set aside to go to funding research into agriculture and how to preserve biodiversity.
Detailed information about the company's merits are found inside the wrapper of the chocolate or on the website. Back to the ingredients of the chocolate: the apricots are free from any chemical preservatives and are grown in Turkey. The vanilla used in the chocolate mix is from Madagascar. Infact the company get their ingredients for all of their products from all over the world - making their chocolate bars seem very exotic indeed!
The Apricot and Cashew milk chocolate comes in a 100g sized bar. Double wrapped in paper and foil, this bar is fashioned into a flat slab which can be easily broken up into thin squares of about 1 inch squared. The shape of the chocolate makes it seem like it has just been fashioned by an independant chocolate maker! Each square is stamped with the company picture logo - a type of mandala symbol, or the company's brand name. It looks very posh and high quality. Ingredients and nutritional values are provided on the wrapper. One bar provides 32.6 grams of fat and 525 calories.
The apricots in this chocolate are nothing like those in Cadbury's Apricot Crumble bar. In the Seeds of Change bar they are darker in colour, tougher to chew and have a milder, more soapy sweet flavour. Some of the larger chunks are quite difficult to chew, but I presume this is a result of the natural methods used to harvest them. The flavour is really nice but much milder than I first expected.
The cashews are chopped up into shards and spaced evenly through the chocolate. The nuts are also quite dry and hard to break down. They have the rubbery texture of old nuts and it is only combination with the moisture of the melting chocolate that makes their texture acceptable. They have very little flavour and any faint flavour is overpowered by the chocolate.
The milk chocolate tastes and smells exquisite. It is very similar to Green and Blacks chocolate, with the vanilla extract having a big influence on the sweet, nectar-like flavour. The cocoa is rich and musky - leaving a delightful, smokey taste in the mouth. The texture of the chocolate is good too - very smooth, soft and creamy.
I like this chocolate bar a lot but I would like the apricots and cashews to be a little more palatable and more moist to enable easier mastication! The chocolate flavour is gorgeous though - no complaints there. I will continue to buy this as I whole heartedly support the company.
See the website for more information:
Those that know me, know that I like chocolate. I like good chocolate, and generally I like dark chocolate.
But I will eat almost any chocolate that comes my way. Even the cheap crappy stuff that tastes awful somehow manages to unwrap itself and force itself down my throat.......
I even used to work in a chocolate factory.....where the rule was that you could eat as much as you wanted, straight off the production line. Oh life was tough, so so tough.....!
Anyway, today I came home from work to find a couple of bars of chocolate for me to test and give an opinion of. As I say, life is sometimes really really tough. One of these bars was the Seeds of Change Apricot and Cashew milk chocolate bar.
**A little about Seeds of Change**
Seeds of Change started life in 1989, as a company providing organic seeds to farmers and gardeners. This developed into the production of organic foodstuffs, from soups to chocolate and salad dressings! For more information about Seeds of Change, you can visit their website at www.seedsofchangefoods.com or www.seedsofchange.co.uk (and you might even get a coupon or two as well.....).
Seeds of change also donate 1% of sales to the research and promoion of biodiversity and sustainable organic practices.
**my bar of chocolate**
Well, this is Apricot and Cashew, and the packet looks as it is on the picture above - it is not a striking design of packet as such, but is different to anything else you will see on the shelf so should stand out for that reason. The picture is of wildlife and nature so fits in well with the origins of this product and the company that produces it.
**what they say**
The packet says "Malataya apricots, dried naturally under the Turkish sun, married with crisp cashews and folded into our sublime, full cream milk chocolate. Relax."
Well, it certainly sounds worth sitting down on my own and taking time to enjoy.......
It is a 100g bar, of which 8% is apricots and 7% is cashew. There are 10 squares (nice big squares) of chocolate making up this bar. It is milk chocolate, and has that nice creamy look to it.
When biting into it, I can taste the creaminess of the chocolate. If I have to make a choice, I would opt for dark chocolate, but this milk chocolate offering was not bad at all. So, full marks for the chocolate element of it. Not claggy, or sticking to the roof of my mouth - just right.
It is quite chewy - that'll be the apricots then. After all, 8% of this bar is apricots according to the ingredients. They definitely have the texture of dried apricots......but where is the taste? If I didn't know that it was apricots contained in the bar, I certainly wouldn't have guessed it from the taste. Disappointing.
The cashew nuts - well, it is unusual to get cashew nuts in a bar of chocolate - normally you would expect peanuts, or almonds. The bits of nut in this bar are not very big, and I can taste them a bit more than I can taste the apricots, but I wouldn't be able to identify them as cashews, just as "nuts". Because the bits are only diddy, you never get enough nut to get the taste of it. Disappointing again.
All in all, this was a nice bar of chocolate - certainly nicer than many of the standard chocolate bars you pick up in a newsagent, but I was disappointed that I could not taste the apricots, despite being able to chew them. I wouldn't turn down a bar of this if I was given it, and I would enjoy it, but I wouldn't go out and buy it unless it happens to be on offer. As I said, I was given this bar, so I don't know whether I would have picked it up to try as part of my supermarket shop.....
You can find Seeds of Change chocolate at Waitrose, Sainsburys and a selection of specialist organic and health food shops.
I am giving this 3 stars - because I was disappointed in the lack of taste from the apricots and cashews.....two fundamental parts of this bar, but I do feel a little bit mean giving it such a low score, as the chocolate itself was very nice, and I wouldn't turn a bar away.....
To be honest I am not sure why I bought this bar. I don't usually have chocolate in the house as it provides too much temptation and when I do buy it, it's because I see a special offer I can't refuse! Moreover I usually avoid the virtual confectionery aisle when doing my online shop so how or why this got clicked into my basket escapes me. Looking at my receipt it doesn't seem any offer applied. It's still on Sainsbury's site at £1.94, the price I paid. Maybe on that particular day I was on a mission to find something more unusual to review and this intention led me off the straight and narrow. I cannot say. Whichever route took me to this purchase it's one I will not be treading again in a hurry!
~~SEEDS OF CHANGE~~
According to their British website, Seeds of Change was born when a small group of people in Sante Fe, New Mexico came together, united by their common concern regarding intensive farming methods and the effect of these on the planet's biodiversity. Consequently, in 1989, they founded a small organic seed company with the mission statement:-
"To protect the planet's biodiversity and promote organic agricultural practices by offering a diverse range of open-pollinated 100% organic seeds and products.
To promote the benefits of organic farming and food.
To help people and future generations improve their lives and enjoy wholesome, natural, pure, chemical-free foods."
Should anybody, in these environmentally aware times, be unsure of the definition of biodiversity (and I must admit the term sometimes confuses me), an explanation is also included on the website as follows:-
"Biodiversity" is the sum total of all the world's plant, animal and insect life, and all the other organisms that make up the world's ecosystems. The loss of biodiversity affects the actual plants we eat, including heirloom and traditional varieties, as well as affecting the rainforests.
They started from scratch building a growers' network, finding farmers who were interested in the concept, educating them in the art of saving seeds and developing strong working partnerships with them. Building on this they went on to build their own farm and research centre which acts as a central resource providing information and advice to farmers and gardeners. In the States their mail order seed catalogue now offers some 2000 vegetables, culinary and medicinal herbs, fruits and other plants, seeds which they claim are open pollinated varieties selected for their "flavour, vigour and nutrition".
The natural progression from this was to pick the best varieties to create a range of foods which are made from "natural, wholesome, 100% organically grown ingredients" and to this end they claim to have "spent the past decade exploring the globe in (their) quest for new and exotic tastes ( and continuing) to hunt for the most uniquely flavorful and authentically genuine recipes from around the world". They arrived in the UK in 1999 and now offer a range of soups, sauces, pasta, cereal bars, and, most recently, chocolate bars.
They claim to set aside 1% of their revenue to contribute to research into sustainable, organic agriculture and the preservation of biodiversity.
Thus it's all very worthy!
~~THE CHOCOLATE RANGE~~
The Seeds of Change chocolate range must be quite new to these shores because on the UK website it is not listed under the "Our Foods" section. I had to search to find any mention and eventually found it under the "What's New" Banner. Indeed, although all the major supermarkets are listed as stockists on the website, of those I checked only Sainsbury's seem to offer the chocolate range.
Apparently the chocolate is made from Trinitario cocoa beans grown in the Dominican Republic where Seeds of Change are working "to help farmers protect their crops and achieve higher prices". Cynically I might observe this carefully worded statement stops short of claiming they are fully committed to fair trade but it's a gesture in that direction.
There are four varieties currently available
Dark Chocolate ( Plain)
Dark Chocolate with Hazelnut and Walnut
Dark Chocolate with Orange and Fig
Milk Chocolate with Apricot and Cashew
I chose the only milk chocolate variety as I find dark chocolate often triggers a migraine attack.
~~MILK CHOCOLATE - APRICOT & CASHEW~~
Onto an exploration of my purchase and I am impressed by the wrapper. The orange background (which occupies most of the recyclable paper sheet) is inscribed with depictions of a tree, a peacock and other flora and fauna in silhouette. It is very easily recognisable. The wrapper is also filled with a description of the product and nutritional information whilst overleaf there are details of the company's history and mission statement, an abbreviated version of that found on their website. This includes an affirmation that the passion of the company has led it all over the world to find exquisite ingredients for its chocolate range. The euphoric description of this particular bar is worth quoting in full:-
"Malatya apricots dried naturally under the Turkish sun, married with crisp cashews and folded into our sublime, full cream milk chocolate. Relax"
Salivating already, I break into the thin silver foil which protects the chocolate within. The bar which emerges is around 5.5 by 3 inches and divided into segments (unfortunately I can't remember how many because I scoffed the lot before embarking on this review!). The chocolate IS delicious! There is a strong rich chocolate flavour and the texture is probably the smoothest and creamiest I have tasted in a long time. In my experience, it most closely resembles Lindt but is less sweet and sickly. Unfortunately it is also the "thinnest" chocolate bar I have ever encountered, hardly even as thick as the layer of icing on an iced bun and maybe be even thinner. As such it can't contain very generous quantities of apricot and cashew nuts. In fact I can't even taste the apricots at first. I have to resort to letting all the chocolate melt away and then exploring the residue. Sure enough there are a few slivers of apricot but so few in number and so minute they are hardly chewable and I really have to concentrate to experience the flavour. I am forced to ask why Seeds of Change reportedly invest so much effort into sourcing the tastiest ingredients when they include them in such small quantities it's hardly possible to get a flavour of them! Quite honestly any old dried apricot would have done the job! Moreover I never did discover the cashews. I expected a slight crunch or so along the way but it never happened!
What an utter disappointment this was especially considering I had just consumed 525 calories and 13.2 grams of fat (including 17.4 grams of saturated fat) and not really enjoyed it very much. My only consolation, it only contains 0.18 grams of salt!
I am quite partial to organic products not only because I often find they taste better but also because I feel organic farmers are worth supporting as their methods are more environmentally ethical. For this reason I do not usually mind paying a little extra. But in this case I am afraid I feel conned. I paid £1.94 for this 100 gram bar when I could have purchased a 400 gram bar of Cadbury's Fruit and Nut for just £ 2.49. Why such a huge differential? Cadbury's Milk is a different quality chocolate, less smooth and rich, but it's perfectly acceptable and with raisins and nuts in sufficient quantities to contribute not only to the flavour but also to the varied textures one can discern in the product. Maybe it's good to know that Seeds of Change will reserve 1% of the profit to plough back into projects linked with research into methods to ensure greater biodiversity but I think I would be just as happy buying Cadbury's and contributing the few pence to an environmental charity. It's also worth noting that Cadbury's have recently given an unequivocal commitment to Fair Trade for all their Dairy Milk products, a move which has been applauded by many proponents of the Fair Trade movement and a commitment which Seeds of Change only hints at but does not actually claim to adhere to.
Whatever the Seeds of Change credentials I won't be buying this product again. It's just too high a price to pay for all the hype!
Seeds of Change US site: http://www.seedsofchange.com/default.aspx
Seeds of Change UK site: http://www.seedsofchange.co.uk/
Details of Cadbury's Fair Trade Commitment: http://fairtrade.change.org/?page=7