Review: I love Santa Barbara Chocolate Company

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A box brimming with possibilities and delight

GMO-free, USDA Organic, Rainforest Alliance Certified and Gluten-Free, there’s just a little something extra-special about chocolatiers with a passion for the environment that’s so great, they’re willing to sell many times their weight in chocolate, all so the world can eat their words and support a healthier human race and environment in the process.

Santa Barbara Chocolate Company chocolates deliver delicious, world-class confections that promote sustainability.  To boot, this product supports the Friends of Ballona Wetlands, so not only can you lavish in the luxury of milk chocolate, you can rest easy knowing you’re doing a solid for eco-dependent species.

Want more? You can even pronounce the ingredients. There’s nothing funky in these products. I break down each product into its ingredients below.

Want more? How about $5.99 flat rate shipping, regardless the box size. The box I had weighed in excess of 12 pounds. My son was like, “What is in this box? Bricks?” Yes, my son. Bricks o chocolate deliciousness.

Now slap your face (gently…gently…), because on top of the long list of reasons to buy I want you to read this: Their products are fantastic, high-quality, deliciously smooth, and decadent. I’m not going to fib; these gourmet chocolates are a little more expensive than your typical grocer chocolate, but for the quality and the goals of the company to better the environment and to support small farmers, you have to root for the companies trying to do the right thing with some consumer support. And honestly? The five-star ratings stand, for I love their tireless work, their products and the company. Hard.

Is the brand slightly expensive? Yes, when you consider the cost of chocolates you buy locally. Is it worth the extra cost? Yes, if you want to support hard-working companies who are making a difference in the world and help make the brand so popular, it can come to stores near you.

Fun facts about the company:

  • Jason Vishnekfske, Maitre Chocolatier and cofounder, established Santa Barbara Chocolates in 1992.
  • About 40,000 pounds of their dark Manjo 66% Chocolate is consumed locally in Santa Barbara every year.
  • The chocolate sources for the company spans from 16 different regions around the world.
  • Try pairing the White Chocolate with Dessert Wines and Champagne; the Milk Chocolate (34% cocoa solids) with Pinot Noir; the Dark Milk Chocolate (41% cocoa solids) with Merlot;  theDark Chocolate (66% – 72% cocoa solids) with Shiraz and Zinfandel; and the Extra Dark Chocolate (85% cocoa solids)with Cabernet Sauvignon and Port.

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The Assorted Gift Box:

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As soon as I opened this box I had to fight off family members just to take this picture.

California Collection ♥♥♥♥
The terrific samplers sent to me from the terrific team at Santa Barbara Chocolate Company, and the first we, incidentally, opened, was this beautiful one-pound box of beautifully-presented, delicious gourmet chocolates. With both milk and dark chocolate options, the kids literally sat back and made groaning noises biting into each piece. I managed to behave myself and enjoyed half of a piece of the toffee (seriously? OMG) and one that was a dark-chocolate coated cranberry (again, OMG) and managed to still lose 2 pounds this week.  These delicious, decadent delights are so freakishly amazing, even after the box was devoured by my typically non-chocolate family, the kids (I kid you not) sat around sniffing the box liner for a couple of hours. Product Page

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The individual Bars: 

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These quality chocolates are labeled with gorgeous paintings of wetlands animals.

Organic Milk Chocolate (41%) ♥♥♥♥
Mild and milky, smooth and creamy, this melt in your mouth confection is beyond heavenly. Forget about the milk chocolates you thought you knew; the delicious , complex mellow chocolate is positively fantastic. The ingredients? You can count them on one hand, as their Organic milk chocolate made from only organic sugar, organic cocoa butter, organic whole milk powder, and organic superior cocoa liquor. And per ounce, you’ll enjoy those minimal ingredients for 160 calories and 12 net carbs per ounce. While the carbs are a little more extensive than many of us are used to, if it’s the choice between this and your standard milk chocolate bar, I choose this one all day long. Product Page

Organic Extra Dark Chocolate (85% cacao) ♥♥♥♥
Ooh de Lally! As a fan (acquired taste) of dark-dark chocolates, I find that the rich, almost earthy, flavor of the darkest chocolates give me the most chocolate satisfaction with the least amount of guilt. The Santa Barbara 85% is positively tremendous, smooth, and with the right amount of bite. And since each serving is only 154 calories and 3 net carbs, you can use this bar for everything from hot cocoa to chocolate brownies and enjoy the flavor, along with the rich antioxidants. The ingredients? Only Organic cocoa liquor, organic sugar, and organic cocoa butter. Product Page

Organic Dark Chocolate (70% cacao) ♥♥♥♥
Fruity and subtle, this 70% cacao chocolate contains only organic dark chocolate, organic superior cocoa liquor, organic sugar, and organic cocoa butter. For only 152 calories (over 2/3 from delicious, natural fats), you can take a bite out of the bar–and a couple more, too, knowing you’re only in for about 8 net carbs per ounce. I’d use this in a heartbeat for making chocolate chip cookies knowing I’m using a natural bar with amazing, robust flavor. Product Page

Organic Milk Chocolate Mocha (41% cacao) ♥♥♥♥
Holy smokes. I love this chocolate bar. With a tiny bit of crunch in every bite and the pleasant smoothness of mocha, you can get your Peruvian coffee hankering on and enjoy your chocolate–all in the same bite. The ingredients? Please honeys, you know the drill. You’re only going to find organic sugar, organic cocoa butter, organic whole milk powder, organic superior cocoa liquor, organic coffee and organic caramel flavor oil. And per ounce, you’re going to have to use a little bit of self-control, because each ounce delivers 160 calories and 2 net carbs. But oh gersh. It’s worth every single one. Product Page

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The Medallions: 

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L-R: Unsweetened, White Chocolate and Dark Chocolate Medallions

100% Rainforest Cacao Pure Unsweetened Chocolate ♥♥♥♥
Made with only chocolate liquor, the surprisingly smooth, slightly bitter vegan-friendly buttons of chocolate are perfect for all of my low-carbohydrate baking needs, from cupcakes, to ganaches, to frostings, to hot fudge sauces. I have never enjoyed a pure chocolate before, but theirs is the exception. I could see grabbing one of these 1″ medallions for a quick chocolate fix over even the store-bought 90% cacao bars. 1 oz (28 g) serving: 158 Kcal / 3.5 g Protein / 1.9 g Carbohydrate (Sugars: .4 g) / 15 g Fat (9.4 g saturated fat / 5.3 g monounsaturated fat / .3 g polyunsaturated fat) /4.6 g Fiber / 3 mg Sodium Product Page

I’m looking forward to using these with my: Ganache

66% Dark Chocolate Medallions ♥♥♥♥
These delightful medallions are not your average chocolate chip. About the size of nickels, each amazing 3 pound bag of easy-melt chocolate medallions contains only cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter emulsifier, soy lecithin and natural vanilla. I’m not at all sure what the nutritional information is on this product, but I don’t care. With its pedigree, it’s going into everything, from my gluten-free chocolate chip cookies to my latest hot cocoa recipe. And because the bags are self-sealing, they can go into the freezer for longer stretches of time. Product Page

I’m looking forward to using these with my: Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake

31% White Chocolate ♥♥♥♥
How do I love thee, white chocolate? Let me count the ways. These white chocolate medallions are so scrumptious, I know they’re going to be slightly carby, but into each life a little rain must fall. Thankfully, while you’re under your umbrella, you can enjoy an amazing 3-pound bag of white chocolate buttons that contain only sugar, cocoa butter, milk, emulsifier: soy lecithin and vanilla. I am going to use these for my next Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake, for my white chocolate Macadamia Nut Cranberry cookies, and for other recipes I invent, just to have a reason to enjoy these on a semi-regular basis. Product Page

I’m looking forward to using these with my: White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake and my Cranberry White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

 

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This face doesn’t fib. A new Santa Barbara Chocolate Company fan.

Santa Barbara Chocolate Company
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Usefulness: 
Wonderfully tasty, non-GMO ecologically ethical chocolate products
Negative: 
The white chocolate and dark chocolate medallions contain lecithin, but not enough to trigger my usual soy reaction. 
Website: Santa Barbara Chocolate Company
Savings: Only $5.99 flat-rate shipping on any package

Disclosure: Santa Barbara Chocolate Company has provided these products  free of charge for review, but this has not at all affected my review of the item(s) received. 

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Comments

  1. How sad is it I live so close and never knew about them?! Is there anything you can only get there that you want? I actually drive right past it twice a week.

  2. They sound amazing, I am definitely heading over there to visit with them.

  3. Alisa Plummer says:

    I just “liked” Santa Barbara Chocolate Company on Facebook! I definitely plan on ordering from them.

  4. Renee Ehlers says:

    I would love to the assortment box and dark chocolate bars.

  5. I haven’t had an assortment box of chocolate in years and probably should have one now but I promise I’ll share!!

  6. I am too much of a chocolate and carb addict to order any of the wonderful looking bars or truffles that they carry, but I would really like to try their Red and Natural Rainforest Cocoa Powders, for experimenting with low carb recipes and hot cocoa. (A fifty piece truffle assortment in my home would end up being my only nourishment until it was gone, yes I am sick :) )

  7. Brenda May says:

    I’d hve to stock up on 100% baking cocoa and throw in a few bars of 75% just for good measure. Yum!

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