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Hard Cider Review: Angry Orchard Iceman

16 May

Depending on your guiding philosophy of paleo feasting, there are many different answers to the question of which sorts of alcohol are paleo. The most strict interpretation is no alcohol at all. The people who to focus more strictly on carbs than other metrics tend to favor hard liquor. Those who advocate more for ensuring that all foods consumed maximize the health benefit will typically stick to red wine. From a historical perspective, mead was certainly our ancestors’ earliest fermented beverage. In terms of minimal processing / additives and natural ingredients, home-brewed mead, cider, or wine are your best bet.

I am less strict about carbs than most paleo devotees (I’m also fat and okay with that), and while I do like a nice scotch, I tend to gravitate toward my home-brewed mead, or sangria (my version: red wine, oranges, honey), or hard cider. I used to really love beer, but when I discovered that the reason most food makes me sick was gluten, beer had to go forever. Now I refer to hard cider as “beer” because that way I can pretend I live in a world where I can have a cold beer after work.

So, I drink a fair amount of cider. I’m going to start posting reviews of some of my favorites.

We’ll kick it off with a new discovery — Iceman from Angry Orchard. This is an ice cider: the pressed apple juice is partially frozen before fermentation, and the frozen water removed to yield a concentrated, sweet juice that is then fermented to perfection. Basically, it’s a very similar process to freeze distillation except done before fermentation and not afterwards.

The finished product is without equal. I think I can safely say I have never tasted a cider this wonderful. The nose is pleasant and fruity. It has a full body with perfectly tiny bubbles, and is sweet but not cloying, smooth, and infinitely drinkable. The flavor profile is very well-balanced. At 10% ABV, it’s suitably fierce; this is a sipping cider, not a chugging cider.

A bottle (750mL) runs around $14-16 retail; it’s somewhat hard to find as it’s a limited run, but worth the hunt.

Product Review: Coconut Secret Ecuadorian Crunch Chocolate Bar

13 May

Until very recently, I’ve never been much of a chocolate fan. I don’t know, it’s not that I hated chocolate, I could just kind of take it or leave it. And in most cases, if you offered me a choice between flavors, I’d pick “not chocolate.” But lately I’ve started to really appreciate chocolate, really, really good chocolate in particular, as a great not-too-terrible indulgence (as opposed to the gluten free lemon bar I ate earlier today, which was a straight-up quite bad for me indulgence).

So imagine my excitement when I found this:

Coconut Secret Ecuadorian Crunch chocolate bar — it has no soy, and it’s coconut-sugar sweetened! OMG! Hos is this possible!?!?!? It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? The only thing that could possibly make this more paleo is if it were dairy free, and rest assured their other bars are, but I really, really wanted milk chocolate.

So, how does it stack up?

THIS

IS

SO

AWESOME

Absolutely delicious. It has a wonderful flavor and mouth-feel, and the crunch is really appealing. I can’t detect any grittiness in the chocolate itself, but that may just be because there are all these other texture experiences going on. The flavor is the very best that milk chocolate can be, which to me is a very comforting taste.

I will definitely buy these again. It’s a little pricey (at my grocery store, $3.49/bar), but worth it.

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