Of all the things listed in The Sound of Music’s inspired jam « My Favorite Things, » the one that always hits home for me is brown-paper packages tied up with string. Perhaps my Virgo nature is to blame? Regardless, this compulsive fascination with wrapping is why I prickled with pleasure the first time a Honey Mama’s cacao bar appeared in a friend’s hand, its cheerful blue label affixed to the hand-wrapped brown packaging.
Perforated like a Kit-Kat but with three uneven segments, the bar within was a harmonious six-way marriage between Dutch-processed cocoa, raw honey, unrefined coconut oil, coconut meat, Himalayan pink salt, and Oregon-grown peppermint. 100 percent nutrient-rich and 1000 percent sublime, my first bite made clear that Honey Mama’s and I would be monogamous for a long time. Goodbye forever, other lesser chocolate bars.
“Obviously, it’s all about texture,” says Christy Goldsby, Honey Mama’s founder and CEO. “I think every single one of these ingredients is about texture.” Goldsby attributes the bars’ extraordinary consistency—a velvety, pliable feel—to the way honey and coconut oil are whipped together for the base. Dubbed “cacao-nectar bars” (without cocoa butter, it’s not technically chocolate), you could liken the refrigerated goodies to brownie dough, truffles, or fudge. They are marvels of mind-melting decadence with the ambrosial mouthfeel of classic chocolate frosting.
Goldsby, a former baker, began experimenting in the kitchen in 2011 after a friend’s foray into raw foods. She sought to combine her culinary background with a newfound interest in health and started experimenting with raw honey, which has powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. In 2013, Honey Mama’s launched its paleo, gluten-free, raw bars in Dutch, Oregon Peppermint, Mayan Spice, and Peruvian Raw. Six years in, CocoNoNut, Lavender Red Rose, Nibs & Coffee, and Ginger Cardamom have joined the lineup. From its homebase in Portland, Oregon, Honey Mama’s keeps bees in business, burning through 3,000 pounds of regionally sourced, raw wildflower honey weekly.
Honey Mama’s flavors don’t pull punches. The Lavender Red Rose flavor steers clear of soapy with hints of pine from the forested coastal farm where the lavender is harvested, while the herbal greenness of cardamom is the perfect undertone for warming ginger in the Ginger Cardamom. Some of the flavors are made with rich Dutch-processed cocoa, others with acidic Peruvian raw cocoa. Several flavors feature sprouted almonds bits, but I go weak at the knees for those with shredded coconut.
Finally, these bars rule because they’re appropriate at any time of day. Throw some in a morning smoothie or on top of oatmeal. Heck, get savory with them at dinner! Influencing DJ duo SimiHaze even endorsed the bars as the perfect road trip snack, #notanad! Goldsby herself sees the bars as comfort food, and one young zealot on the brand’s Instagram proclaims that the treat “tastes like yoga.” To each their own Honey Mama.
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