Tuesday 21 March 2017

McWhirr's Chocolate Review

   Anyone who's spent half an hour with me (or has seen me in a grocery store or cafe) knows that sugar is my vice. I eat fast food like 5 times a year, I have alcohol even less, I never drink coffee. It's all about cakes, biscuits and, above all else, chocolate.
   But I don't eat it often. It's true that I have a Hotel Chocolat Tasting Club subscription, even if I have set it up to deliver once every 8 weeks, but the truth is I have a serious problem with guilt. All it takes is one chocolate, one single chocolate to send me into a whirlwind. Three will send me into a spontaneous jumping jack Tabata session. And I admit that I have a post I want to write on this in the near future...

   The thing is, chocolate is good for you, but conventional chocolate - the stuff you think of when someone says 'chocolate' - is loaded with sugar, because raw chocolate - cacao - is bitter, and to the average person, not the tasty treat they're looking for. It's true that it has its own unique flavour, which is why the Aztecs loved it so much, but when it gets turned into a chocolate bar to suit the masses, lots of the goodness is removed and replaced with other ingredients, including lots of sugar.
   This is part of the reason dark chocolate is so much better for you than milk, which is in turn better than white: because it has a higher cocoa content, and subsequently a lower sugar and other-ingredients content. But dark chocolate isn't for everyone. I admit, it's for me, but it took time - like matcha! Super good for you, but definitely an acquired taste.

   Fortunately for the health-conscious, calorie-counters and diabetics, this is where McWhirr's Chocolate steps in. Bristol-based (woooo), these chocolatiers have developed a handmade bean-to-bar chocolate bar with absolutely nothing artificial and no added sugar. It's sweetened naturally with xylitol and stevia, has a high cocoa content (both their white and milk bars contain 42% cocoa while their dark has 67%), minimal ingredients, and works out at 69 calories per 4 pieces (a single row of the bar), or 415 calories per bar (518kcal per 100g). The range includes four different whites, milks and darks, some infused, others sprinkled.

   McWhirr's is bean-to-bar chocolate - it's not raw, it doesn't need to be stored in the fridge, it's proper, tempered chocolate made by hand in their Bristol factory from the original bean to the bar itself. This means it's real chocolate, and the perfect chocolate bar to have in the cupboard or in your handbag for when you really need it. I won't kid you - oats, nuts, seeds, fruit, they're all better options if you're feeling peckish, but sometimes nothing but chocolate will do.
   "But this isn't chocolate," I hear you cry, "it's a 'healthy alternative'!" It's true that 'healthy alternatives' rarely stack up to the real thing, but in this case, McWhirr's comes so very close.

   McWhirr's actually tastes like chocolate and is just as smooth and creamy as anything you'll find in a supermarket, just a touch milder in sweetness - but with no added sugar, you can't expect it to be identical to Galaxy, can you? But, having said that, it's worth stating directly that 'milder in sweetness' doesn't mean 'unsweet' and it certainly doesn't mean 'bitter'. Even at 42%, it bears no resemblence at all to dark chocolate, but rather is very definitely milk chocolate, just with a higher cocoa content, and like I said before: the higher the cocoa content, the less room there is for other ingredients. And as it's milder in sweetness than mass-produced stuff, it results in fewer cravings, helping you to stop at 4 pieces rather than 4 rows. And that reduces the already meagre guilt factor even further.
   More importantly, the lack of refined sugar also has minimal effect on the body's blood sugar levels, making it ideal for avoiding sugar, reducing the risk of diabetes and hyperglycemia.

   I'll also mention this: I hate products with stevia in them. It has a horrible taste, worse aftertaste, and always overpowers the product it's supposed to only 'sweeten'. In short, stevia is more like a flavour than a sweetener. But, in this case, you'd never know the stevia was there. There are no unusual tastes nor any funny textures whatsoever, it is chocolate, pure and simple in every sense of the phrase.

   The chocolate isn't compromised, it has a perfectly tempered snap, the variety of flavours aren't too thin, the packaging is cute, it's creamy - it is, in short, chocolate. Even Seeg liked it, and he's hard to please, especially when it comes to my 'healthy rubbish'.
   Truly, it is 'the delicious way to cut down on sugar'.

   You can find McWhirr's chocolate on their website with delivery worldwide, and you can also find them at fairs and markets within Bristol - keep an eye on their Facebook page for upcoming events and appearances, where they stock more seasonal chocolates as well as free samples!

Disclaimer: I was sent this product to review by the brand itself. The quantity and precise products sent were their choice, not my own. All opinions and images are my own, and all appropriate research has been done by myself from a range of sources rather than relying entirely on the product's website, especially where health products are concerned. I do not accept a product to review if I do not believe it is safe or worth my own time, regardless of any kind of reimbursement. I trial the products for an appropriate amount of time before writing reviews to check for wear-and-tear on physical items and side effects from edible (be it supplements or food). If I have negative points to voice, I will voice them, and I never, ever accept product reviews or reimbursement on the promise of a positive review. My reviews are and will only ever be honest.


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