The theme of this week's bar is "Other Things We Have Known, and Liked." No, not really: a botanist may have to set me straight on this one, but I think the marijuana leaf is a little misleading; hemp is the fiber that is cultivated from the stem of certain cannabis plants -- but not the psychoactive variant. That's why chewing on your hemp bracelet at summer camp never got you high -- and this bar won't, either.
Hanf Natur: Canalade Hemp Chocolate
Cocoa content: 33%
Notable ingredients: hempseed (peeled and roasted)
Where to begin? Let's start with: since when do people eat hemp? Apparently health-food people eat it all the time. It contains all the amino acids, plus some calcium and iron. It gets ground up into meal, and incorporated into soy products, milk alternatives, and nut butters. And apparently, the hemp food market is big enough that there is such a thing as "Europe's biggest hempfood producer" -- and, guess what -- it's Hanf Natur.
It's a German company that, I gather from their website, also makes cosmetics and accessories from hemp. They distribute primarily in Germany, the UK, and Ireland -- I got this bar at Evergreen in Galway, Ireland. Some of the company's food products are hard to imagine -- hemp pasta? Hemp marzipan? But after trying this bar, I would probably venture to try all those things.
It took me a couple days to figure out what I tasted in this bar. First, let me suggest its constitution. It's a thick, chewy, melty bar of milk chocolate -- no snap to speak of, which is excused if the chocolate is sufficiently creamy -- with peeled, roasted hempseeds distributed evenly and plentifully throughout. You can see them with your naked eye, and you can feel them on your tongue as soon as the chocolate begins to melt. They're pleasant to eat -- small and soft and chewy, but not crunchy.
But back to the taste. I thought at first that I tasted almonds, but I knew there was more to it than that. I realized later that they reminded me actually of these little sesame candies that I used to buy at a Japanese market in Porter Sq. -- Cambridge, MA. They were these little neat bricks of sesame seeds adhered with something sweet, maybe honey. They had a sweet but distinctly earthy, roasted taste, which is exactly how this bar tasted. It was entirely delicious and novel.
I haven't the energy to go looking for the links between sesame and hempseeds, but I will note that Hanf Natur, on its website, advertises a black sesame product. For its uniqueness but even moreso for its delicious flavor, I award this bar an A.