SAPO: Organic Bamboo Charcoal Bar Soap #Review #SapoSoap

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Beauty facial washes and soaps are a plenty, but most that are suppose to help with problem skin, end up containing fragrances and ingredients that cause build-up versus clearing up! I have 3 brands of soaps that I have ever found that deliver simple ingredients that help not only at cleaning your skin, but also improving it. Sapo Soap is that third brand!

Sapo Soaps are hand-made using organic ingredients. This bar is so simple when it comes to the ingredients:

Activated Bamboo Charcoal, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, Sunflower Oil, Safflower Oil, Shea Butter, Sea Salt, Oatmeal Powder, and Grapefruit Essential Oil.

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The soap has a light lather but foams up enough to clean and safely clean the surface of your skin. The scent is just like sniffing a ruby red grapefruit with an earthy scent lingering in the background. Very welcoming and a perfect way to start and end my day when it comes to how it smells. Many charcoal and bamboo based products have a pungent scent that reminds me of clay and even mushrooms at times but this soap had none of that.

Retail Price Point: $10.99 and free shipping is available with Amazon Prime. The retailer also offers a 100% Guarantee when it comes to satisfaction with the product. I also noticed they offer a “VOLUME DISCOUNT” where you buy 2 and get $4.99 OFF ($8.49 each).

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Verdict:
I used the soap for 2 weeks and was very happy with how well it cleaned because many oil based soaps tend to leave a film or give your skin that feels like you never washed it. Sapo’s soap did none of that. My skin remained hydrated and even though the soap’s price point may seem higher than others, the bar did not shrink much after use. I allowed it to air dry and used it by the sink, as I find this method versus leaving it in the shower in a soap box, works better. The soap dries quickly and keeps it’s shape nicely, plus this bar is larger than my Ivory bar. Sapo Soaps is made in the USA and when it came to performance, it delivered the same results as my tree oil based soap bar, which costs close to the same price and is smaller in size/weight. My previous bar kept my skin nice and clean but I found it would dissolve and shrink quickly. Yes, it lasted me a month’s time but Sapo’s Soap at this size and dissolving rate will last me longer. That alone with the results makes it a must buy for me. I love the convenience of a bar lasting longer and who doesn’t love clear skin? You can use this on your back and chest, and especially when sunscreen tends to clog my pores but Sapo makes up for it!

Connect with Sapo Soaps at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Sapo Soap.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

Zakia’s Morocco: Moroccan Black Soap & Moroccan Ghassoul Clay Powder Reviews & Giveaway #ZakiasMorocco

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I received two products from Zakia’s Morocco and when I was accepted into the campaign, I decided to check out their website…….I was stunned at all the products and how well presented the site is. You have a skin issue, they have the products for you. Even though I was unfamiliar with some of the active ingredients, I quickly was able to educate myself and gain some knowledge about what an ingredient provides, application to long term benefits. I like companies that have an “open book” policy and allow the consumer to learn because I appreciate that, versus just being told, “here is a special potion in a jar and just apply it”. The latter always has no evidence supporting the ingredients and is usually a costly lesson to your skin and your wallet. So, I admit I started liking Zakia’s Morocco before anything had even arrived.

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Zakia’s Morocco, Moroccan Black Soap with Argan Oil-

I looked at the jar and it’s a dark colored solution that is more a very dark brown but the hue is maybe 2 shades lighter before black. Not the hue you associate with soap and then I thought about charcoal and again I was wrong! I open the jar and the scent is earthy but not unpleasant. I then realize after reading that the product is made with an olive pulp that is sometimes called “olive pumice”. The pulp is classified as a by-product, meaning it’s the left-over from production and on most times it’s olive oil. Now, the color makes sense! When you produce olive oil, the pulp left is about 50 to 70 percent and some manufactures will then produce a lesser quality oil on the second press or find a second use elsewhere. The olive pulp is rich in antioxidants and nutrients (lipids, oleic acid to Vitamin E), so it’s not in any way just trying to find a use for left-overs. These left-overs will not only feed your skin but are gentle enough to be used for all skin types. I can see why the pulp is used and makes for a great emollient and for exfoliating applications. Zakia’s Morocco then takes this rich ingredient and adds Argan oil and a little salt and it’s really simply created but beneficial.

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Ingredients (as listed on the website): Potassium Olivate, Aqua, Sodium, Potassium Hydroxyde, and Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil (Argan Oil)

Retail Price Point: $24.99 for a jar that has a net weight of 8.82 ounces.

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Verdict:
I used the soap two times a week for a period of 3.5 weeks. It’s gentle and feels good on the skin once you add a little bit of water and you work the lather up between your hands, before applying it to your skin. The Moroccan Black Soap by Zakia’s Morocco can be applied to your face and body, so great for the back and chest area. The soap did not ever over dry or cause patchy areas, it remains gentle but effective because my skin was soft and clean. My feet start getting dry being in sandals during warmer weather and the pool’s chlorine water tends to exasperate it but once I started using the soap on my feet, it not only felt nice but left my skin soft and helped it retain moisture. Even my nail’s cuticle improved. You use small amounts and it’s really a nicer soap for your skin that enriches it but also cleanses it.

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Zakia’s Morocco, Moroccan Ghassoul Clay Powder-

The Atlas Mountain produces a clay that you have probably heard of called Ghassoul or Rhassoul. The clay is rich in minerals that help with skin’s circulation, texture to cleansing but without pulling moisture. The clay actually encourages moisture to build and this is why you see it in many facial masks. The Ghassoul Clay from Zakia’s Morocco, comes in powder form, which I love. I adore this form of application because I don’t have to worry about the product drying out and I can add it to other ingredients and make my own customized mask. The clay powder is not limited to the face, but you can spot treat blemishes to even areas of the body. Ghassoul Clay helps rejuvenate the skin and I always like how gentle it is at removing dead skin cells to build-up, and it’s irritation free. You can also treat your hair by making a loose putty consistency and it will help you regain luster back and also re-balance your scalps health. Things like an over-dry scalp to dandruff tend to correct themselves to even over production of oil, with Ghassoul Clay powder.

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Ingredients (as listed on the website): Moroccan Lava clay

Retail Price Point: $19.99 for an 8 ounce jar.

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Verdict-
Oh, I love it! Let me just get that out of the way because I already loved this clay before but you are giving it to me in powder form? So, I pay for the lava clay and that is it? I’m so there and I was able to use the clay to make my own facial masks to even giving my hands a little rejuvenation treatment. Being able to add other ingredients like oils to boost up the moisture for hands and feet (I even added a little to an avocado to produce a mask) is not something that can be done with other products.  I could use this one product to help my skin’s needs and to suit my “going on right now” issues like a blemish on my nose!  You rarely find the clay in powder form and I see it like when you buy herbs/spices for your kitchen, the pure product alone will always beat any (all salt) mix that is advertised as an all-in-one product. No fillers or anything else with Zakia’s Morocco Ghassoul Clay powder and finally being able to make my own masks to fit my needs no matter the problem, weather, stress level, is something I seek!  You can use it as a spot treatment too for pimples, blackheads, or any surprises you wake up!

!!!Giveaway Alert!!!

Win a gift card to Zakia’s Morocco for $50 by clicking here .  Then click below and start making a list!  Good luck!!

 

Find the time and please visit Zakia’s Morocco and you will love all the products they have to offer:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Zakia’s Morocco.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daiya Foods: Daiya Deliciously Dairy Free Pizzas #Review #DaiyaPizzas

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Even if we are a household without dietary restrictions, I still like to mix things up a bit. Eating the same way is just utterly boring no matter how good the food can be. To not get in a meal rut means I need to introduce new foods and start weeding out the things we want to take a break from.

Daiya Foods Pizzas, is a leap of many kinds for us. For one, we rarely eat frozen prepared meals and/or side dishes. I do freeze meats in raw form and that is as frozen as we get, along with frozen veggies and fruits. You just can’t grab something from the freezer and nuke it……yeah, that comes back and bites me, so I made some tamales and the such for those days I want to actually use the microwave beyond just softening butter in it. Secondly, I have tried gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, to meatless but never really ventured into non-dairy, unless it’s a fruit based gelato or some kind of sweet treat. This means Daiya foods is eating a way for us that is entirely new because it’s taking everything we have tried before, but all in one dish and at the same time. I’m game!

I was offered to try out the pizzas and no one had ever tried anything from Daiya Foods, except for a faux cream cheese style spread. Some of my group admitted to seeing the cheezes in the dairy alternative aisle at Sprout’s, but never actually tried it. Okay, this is now an entire new experience for us all.

Daiya Foods makes 6 Pizzas to choose from and they all sound delicious and tempting:

  • Supreme Pizza, which includes a meatless sausage topping from Beyond Meat
  • Pizza Bianca Pizza, featuring a white bean sauce that has mushrooms and spinach toppings
  • Cheeze Lover’s Pizza, a simpler non-topping pizza, which features Daiya’s version of cheezes, like Mozzarella and Cheddar
  • Margherita Pizza, a traditional twist on a classic and comes with tomato chunks and basil
  • Fire-Roasted Vegetables Pizza, Daiya did not skimp and you have three bell pepper varieties, onions, garlic, tomatoes and even a dash of basil
  • Mushroom and Roasted Garlic Pizza, even when it comes to mushrooms, Daiya makes sure you get something beyond the button kind.  You have shiitake and crimini in a blanket of roasted garlic and all nestled on their tomato sauce

I purchased two of the selections available, the Supreme and the Fire-Roasted Vegetable to try out.  This was what was available at Sprout’s and they were redoing that section when I was shopping and I grabbed the ones that looked more tempting.  I grabbed to of the veggies kind and one of the supreme.  First, one up to cook and see how well it is received is the Fire-Roasted Vegetable:

The pizza was easy to cook and even though the instructions stated to cook directly on the rack, I just got a new range and it’s less than a week old.  A few of the cheeze shreds were dangling off the crust, which I like when eating but not when cooking, so I opted to cook the pizza on my pizza stone just like I would any pizza.

The pizza was cooked and ready in 13.5 minutes!  You have the option to use the standard bake and convection instructions were listed, so I went with that cooking option.

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Verdict:

By the seven minute mark, you could smell the vegetables and they smell as good as they look.  Daiya did not skimp on toppings and that is always a plus in our book.  The crust is crisp and upon slicing, you hear it cut just like a normal pizza crust would.  The dough has a darker tint that can be described as almost wheat-like in color.  It also tastes like a wheat crust but a good one!  Daiya nailed it when it came to how the crust tasted, broke apart when eaten and this made the eating of the pizza enjoyable.  The vegetables are out of this world.  We all agreed the freshness and texture makes you wish Daiya sold the veggies by the bagful.  They are roasted but not soft and a mushy mess from being frozen.  There is still texture and they are so good, plus the tang you get from the tomato sauce provides a nice balance of flavors.  The sauce is light and not super sweet, you just taste fresh tomatoes and a touch of basil.  Now, the only small negative is the cheeze.  The browned portions we all agreed tasted better than the whiter ones, so toasted on top is the way to cook the pizza if you desire this flavor profile.  The cheese does not melt and or string apart like normal dairy versions, it’s almost a little too soft in texture and one guest felt it was like sour cream in taste.  I did not feel the sour notes were present but I can see where the comparison in texture can be made.  This was the only downer but because the crust and everything else was top-notch, it would not prevent me from buying it.  It’s a pizza that I would say has that “rustic” taste but think of it more as a flat-bread pizza with superb toppings and cooks in 15 minutes or less!

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The other positive is that 2 pizzas and I had boneless chicken wings to pair with it, filled us!  I still had dessert to serve and when it came to putting the third pizza in the oven (The Supreme), we were full.  I thought that is a good thing because 8 people were fed very well and we were satisfied with what we ate, so we opted to give the third pizza to the guest that is always late.  She also brought a third extra guest, so she could enjoy the pizza for dinner (versus lunch) when she got home.  Okay, I’m thinking if I give free meals away, people will start showing up late now 🙂 I’m also eye-ing those cheezecakes they sell and they have a Key Lime one……oh’ yummers!

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Connect with Daiya Foods and enjoy their products at:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Daiya Foods.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swaggable: Belegenza RoMANce Deep Conditioning Treatment #Review

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I read up on Belegenza and their products on-line. Belengenza’s (bel-a-jen’-za) name is made up of two italian/latin words, where Bel meaning beauty and Gen for genesis. The company’s website was very informative and they make hair products that fit everyone’s needs. Their products are gentle but effective and very in tune with nature by using natural ingredients.

I used the shampoo and let’s see how the conditioner plays with my hair!

Belegenza RoMANce Deep Conditioning Treatment: A formula made to nourish your hair from tip to tip. Helps replenish moisture and also keep it there, but also encourages a healthier growth due to it being kind to your scalp. Referred as the “energizer” due to it’s combination of naturally derived ingredients, this deep treatment is perfect for fine to even coarsely textured hair. You have again the very welcoming Aloe Vera as a base and 3 different kinds of seaweeds to nourish your strands. It does not stop there, also Jojoba essence, Honey, Coconut extracts and oils from Olives and Lanolin. Don’t forget your vitamins, Belegenza also feeds your hair with a healthy dose of Vitamin B2, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin E. A powerful combination of ingredients and also free of fillers, sulfates, silicone, alcohol…..well, let’s say with the smoothie craze at an all time high, the above blend is surely going to feed your hair!

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Ingredients as listed on their site: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Hypnea Musciformis (Hawaiian Seaweed) Extract, Gelidiela Acerosa (Gulfweed Seaweed) Extract, Sargassum Filipendula (Red Mapleweed) Extract, Sorbitol, Stearalkonium Chloride, Behentrimonium Metosulphate, Cetrimonium Chloride, Glycerin, Honey, Cetyl Alcohol, Silk Amino Acids, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Secret Salon Ingredient, Acetyl Tyrosine (Amino Acid), Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil, Lanolin Oil, L-Cysteine (Amino Acid), Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Pyridoxine HCL-5-Phosphate (Vitamin B6), Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12), Panthenol, Oleyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Benzophenone-4, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sorbic Acid, Tetrasodium EDTA, Citric Acid, Phthalate-free fragrance.

Performance: The treatment again smells so good when applied that it is seriously aromatherapy in the shower. I applied a small amount and it dispersed well through out my hair. A little goes a long way and I left the conditioner on for 5 minutes. Rinsed out nicely and you get instant softness and shine. I towel dried my hair and then proceeded to blow dry. You can feel moisture is locked-in but not the heaviness. My hair still had it’s natural body and lift, so it does deep condition without that flat and even greasy film some deep treatments leave behind. Belegenza had none of that! My hair was easy to style and I felt the treatment did help and especially with the stress my hair gets from heated elements like a flat-iron to blow drying. The RoMANce is definitely there because Belegenza loves my hair but forgives me for not always being the best gal to it.

Price Point: $36.00; Trial size bottle available for $17.00

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Again very happy with the performance of the Belegenza products and how they left my hair feeling and looking healthy.

For more information on the above product or to view the full Belegenza line, please visit:

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I received the above product free of charge from Swaggable and Belegenza.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

BzzAgent: Kashi Hummus Crisps in Sea Salt and Olive Oil Review

I love hummus so when BzzAgent offered me this campaign, I immediately thought Red Pepper hummus on a Kashi Hummus crisp……..oh my! You bet I signed up immediately because the pita chip was so yesterday.

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When my BzzAgent kit arrived, it contained a bag of the Kashi Sea Salt and Olive Oil crisps plus coupons to hand out. I noticed the Kashi Hummus Crisp family consists of:

  • The Sea Salt & Olive Oil Hummus Crisps
  • Caramelized Onion Crisps
  • Sun Dried Tomato, Feta and Basil Crisps

All flavors can wake up a plain hummus dip to even compliment a traditional sour cream based dip.

First Impressions:
Upon opening the bag, I did notice many of the crisps were broken beyond what I call being able to scoop any dip with. You could dunk the pieces but that is fine for me at home but not something I would want for my guests. I had about 65% of the crisps that were broken and the rest were whole or not injured enough to count as a “ruined” crisp. I did notice the product is light an airy, so that is always nice when watching your weight, as a generous 27 crisps are only 120 calories! That is a snack option number I like and it’s enhanced by 3 grams of Protein and 4 grams of Fiber, so not just an airy treat but it does pack some nutrition behind it. The ingredients are friendly too, with some natural and even organic ones like the spices, olive oil to the nonfat dry milk. The sweetness comes from dried cane syrup. So far I like what makes up the crisp.

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The Taste Test:
I munched on a few plain pieces to get an idea for the flavor and the seasonings are not as plain as you would think with a Sea Salt & Olive oil flavor. You almost get basil and herb notes and this may come from the parsley and “spices” listed. I like when I buy plain flavored chips to pretty much be a nice toasty taste but not something that would not hit off with my dip. I paired the crisps with my Hummus in Red Bell Pepper flavor but the parsley/basil like herb taste tended to even stand out over the dip. You can also smell the herbs coming from the bag. Now, I am a “pro-herb” girl but because they are dry, the were a little too much that the olive oil was almost non-existent. I would have been more accepting of the flavor if it said so in the flavor name “Herbs”. The texture is also crisp when you break it in your hand but once the crisp gets wet by a dip or even by being in your mouth, the crisp diminishes quickly. Think air popped popcorn when you put it your mouth and it starts to sometimes leave it a bit dry after eating.

I was craving more crisp so thought why not just pair it up with a salad so I can not lose the crunch and there I did find the chip more pleasing as the seasoning complimented the lettuce blend perfectly.  I also added a dollop of my favorite hummus dip and some seeds (flax, black sesame, toasted sesame, poppy, and pumpkin seeds) to add more of the wanted (crunch) texture.

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I am glad I tried the chips as I would have purchased them (before campaign) anyways but I’m 50/50 on purchasing them because of the texture. I understand the air popped texture is too keep them healthier but it leaves me craving a chip, cracker, anything and actually amplifies the craving (so non-diet). I prefer eating 10 “a little naughty” crisps at the same caloric and fat amount that are delicious versus 27 that are good (and may be the only whole crisp amount in the entire bag). That’s it! Kashi Hummus Crisps are good…..not bad, but not spectacularly delicious. For a middle of the road hummus crisp, on sale, plus a coupon……..yeah, I’d get them but in another flavor because if you are going with herbs, go all the way and those Sun Dried Tomato and Feta, plus Basil crisps have my name all over it.

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I received the above products from BzzAgent and Kashi, free of charge.  I am not obligated in providing a favorable/positive review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product(s), which may differ from yours.

BzzAgent: Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil Savings

 

My blog post before had a review about the great dishes you can prepare with Filippo Berio Olive Oils, but now come the savings.

Go to: http://www.filippoberio.com/ and you can familiarize yourself with their product line

Go to: http://www.filippoberio.com/coupons to get your coupon and save

The site has recipes that will inspire you this Summer in creating light dishes that will taste delicious. #GotItFre

 

Hagensborg Chocolates: Wild Boar Bars

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Who doesn’t love chocolate? Who doesn’t love exotic chocolates? Hagensborg Chocolates is based in Vancouver Canada and makes chocolates using European techniques. They have a cute little theme and story in their biography, which introduces you to “Snuffly” the pig, frogs that are princes, fairy godmothers and even a castle. There is even a piggy family with names! I personally like Rose because she has wings. Very whimsical and gives their products that little touch of love. Their products are accessible from the United Kingdom, United States, Japan, to Canada.

I had tried two of their truffle pigs and loved them! They were milk chocolate, which is not my first choice in the chocolate world but after having them, I was craving more so I knew I had discovered a good thing.

My parcel arrived with their newest creation, the Wild Boar bars. Like their other wonderful creations, the Wild Boars have a story. They travel the world and catch ingredients from each content and incorporate it into their magical bars. The boxes alone are eye-catching and once you open the box, you see little “chomp” bites along the bar made by these continental boars (this time, I couldn’t blame Hubby). No detail is not missed by Hagensborg Chocolates from the molds they used to make these bars, to the ingredients added. My parcel included two “passports”, Italy and Indonesia. So let’s begin…..

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Italy- Made from the milk chocolate family and described to include truffle salted almonds which are toasted. The almonds are sprinkled with olive oil, Ritrovo (rare black truffle) truffle and salt. The bar contains 85% organic ingredients and also 39% Cocoa.

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The taste test: After getting over how cute the bar is and reading all the information on the box, it is almost like a mini travel brochure so I appreciated the escape. Every ingredient is of the finest quality and they even list origins for each, like the almonds being from California. I find that when I break off a piece, it almost melts down when you bend it because the chocolate is so soft and velvety. I put a piece in my mouth and allow it to melt. The texture is smooth and even though salt is listed in the flavor ingredients, you get zero granules from it. No crystallization, just a perfect creamy creation! I love the flavor of the chocolate alone as I agree with their statements, it is of fine quality. I eat many “fleur de sel” products, so I am familiar with how they are paired with caramels to different degrees of Cocoa. I did find my first bite to be salty if you allow it to melt and dissolve in your mouth, but not so salty that I did not bite again. My second bite I chewed and it was a perfect balance of flavors. The almonds are not whole, so every bite allows you to get enjoy a small chunk. You do pick-up a slight earthy and grassy notes that may derive from the olive oil and truffle they added. I did not find the flavors overwhelming and they did compliment the bar well. I did enjoy the almonds but just wished I had a few more chunks with every bite.

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Indonesia- This is the one I was skeptical and unsure about and you will soon know why. You have 71% Cocoa in this bar, plus 85% Organic ingredients. This Boar bar is described as rich dark chocolate with cashews, spiced with garlic, chilies and lime. The cashews originate from Indonesia and the seasonings added are in dried form. I have had “spiced” chocolates but never one with garlic added to it or even lime. I was super curious.

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The taste test: You uncover the bar and the minute you cut it, you perfume your surroundings with a delicious chocolate smell. Any apprehension I had about the flavors floated away that instant. When something gives off such a delicious aroma, it can’t be ignored! I take off a corner and this chocolate is harder in texture as it created a snapping noise, not like the milk chocolate boar bar. I put a piece in my mouth and allow it to melt and I love, love, love their dark chocolate. Great quality and texture. Perfect amount of acid you get from the Cocoa but no bitter or wax like texture you get from cheaper brands. I can easily state this in the top three of dark chocolate makers I prefer to have and enjoy! You get almost get a coffee deepness that comes through, somewhat like a perfect espresso. Once again, very smooth and velvet in texture. The cashews are chopped and knowing the nut is buttery in nature, it just compliments the dark chocolate flavors. I never knew cashews went so well with dark and I hope to see this combination in the future. This bar had a good balance of nut and chocolates, so I was happy. The chilies come through but do not rest on your tongue where you would be overwhelmed, the flavor rests towards the back of your throat and I liked how it did not interfere with my enjoyment. Just a touch of spice flavor but no serious heat that burns. The garlic does not come through like it would imagine on garlic bread. You get the garlic flavor and it’s not roasted, more of like when it’s raw (untouched). I did find certain bites left a bitter taste if they were heavier on the garlic. The chocolate is so delicious that I did not care. I just kept eating and had to stop myself.

I recommend Hagensborg Chocolates and I do not view them as a gimmicky company, but one that seriously knows how to create chocolate. If I had a store near by that carried their chocolates, I fear what would happen to my waist line. Many “Chocolatiers” do not have a passion into their art and just think of how they can stretch a cocoa bean to yield the maximum profit. Hagensborg has taken the route of “What is the best way I can showcase this cocoa bean?”. I highly respect a company that does this and I was a fan before of the brand, but the boar line secured that position solidly. If you can add uncommon ingredients to chocolate and still be delicious, you seriously know what you are doing!

Please take a trip over to Hagensborg Chocolates and fall in love with their piglets and boars.
Webite- http://www.hagensborg.com/
Twitter- https://twitter.com/TrufflePigBar
Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/HagensborgChocolates

I see the boar has traveled to other areas of the world and I hope to catch his new destinations soon and share them with you!

I received the above chocolates from Hagensborg for free. I have no obligation to provide a favorable/positive review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the products, which may differ from yours.

Herbs de Provence & Chives Rolls…. Cheddar Cheese, Poppy Seed, and Sesame Seed Versions

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I wanted to make a new recipe this last Easter when it came to rolls and I had planned to test several recipes out but then the day came, and I needed something fast because I had no back-up plan.  It is difficult to always know what guests like or dislike because some just go with it to be polite.  I wanted a recipe that pleased all and on Easter morning this is what I made.  Who said you can’t think on the fly on a holiday?  I was also influenced by a bushy Chive plant I have in a pot, which was getting taller and fuller.  I see it from my kitchen so it was sort of waving at me for attention 🙂

Rolls:
1 cup of Whole Milk
2 1/2 teaspoons of Active Dry Yeast
2 tablespoons of White Sugar
1 tablespoon of Honey (I used a Orange Blossom variety)
1 Egg at room temperature (whisked)
6 1/2 tablespoon Unsalted Butter (melted), you will use about 1 stick in the end.
3 1/2 cups of All-Purpose Flour
1 1/4 teaspoon of Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon of Herbs de Provence Herbs (dry)
Filling:
1/4 cup or to taste of fresh Chives
Basting:
1/2 teaspoon of Olive Oil
1 teaspoon of Unsalted Butter (soften)
Toppers:
1/2 cup of Cheddar Cheese*
Sesame Seeds
Poppy Seeds
*Don’t have seeds or don’t like them, just up the cheese amount to 3/4 cup.  You can even mix cheeses if Cheddar is not all you want.
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You begin by heating up the 1 cup of milk until warm.  I tend to need to give my cup a quick 30 seconds in the microwave but I know some take more or less.  I always shoot to aim between 105 to 110 degrees.  I then add the yeast, sugar, and the honey.  I mix the ingredients together with a spoon.  My oven has a “proofing” mode so within 5 minutes at 105 degrees, the yeast is activated and foaming.  You want it to expand and build a good amount of foam, so it may take about 10 minutes if it is cool and on the counter.
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I then empty the cup into my mixer’s bowl that has the dough hook attached.  I add the egg and 6 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted melted butter.
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On low, I mix everything until it’s incorporated, stopping a few times to scrape the bottom and edges.
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I add the salt and Herbs de Provence to the flour.
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In small increments, I add the flour mix, again stopping to scrape down with a spatula any ingredients that are trying to rebel :).  After I added all the flour, I mix on low for about 2 to 3 minutes.
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I then increase the speed to medium and knead until a soft and smooth dough forms.  This takes about 10 to 12 minutes.
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I transfer the dough to a floured surface and work it flat, to about a 10 to 12 inched square.
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You fold one third of the dough into the center and then the other third (from the top) over.
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It’s sort of like folding a letter in how you fold the flaps.  Turn the dough and fold again until you are left with a square (small one).  I take some of the butter and butter a large bowl.  I place the dough square in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and then proof for 1 hour.  You pretty much want it to double at least in size.
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I take more of the left-over butter and butter a lasagna dish (any baking pan) that is 9 x 13 inches in size.
Once the dough has proofed, I take it out of the bowl and dump it onto a floured surface.
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I roll out the dough to a 15 inch square and sprinkle on the fresh chives.
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Begin to roll tightly from the bottom up to make a log.  Just like you would cinnamon rolls.
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You then take a floured knife or a dough scraper and start slicing.  I was able to yield 16 buns on my first take, but you will get between 14 to 15 if you measure right.  I always make small ones that I call “taste testers” 🙂 and these are usually the two corners of the log.
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I placed the buns in the buttered lasagna dish and then covered it with plastic wrap, which I lightly rubbed with olive oil in case the wrap wants to stick to my buns when they are proofing.  You can use butter too if you desire.
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Allow the dough to proof for about an hour.  You are aiming for them to like like airy pillows.
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Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Remove the plastic wrap and bake for 12 to 15 minutes.
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Remove the buns from the oven and mix the basting ingredients of the olive oil and softened butter.  Baste the buns and then come the toppers.
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I opted for part cheddar cheese, a row of sesame and a row of poppy seeds.  The basting mix allows the seeds to stick but also adds a great flavor to the buns.
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Put the buns back in the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.  If you notice over browning, just cover with foil to prevent any burning.
Take the buns out and I noticed I had left-over baste, so I basted the cheesy ones so they would shine pretty.  Allow to cool a bit in pan and then you start serving.  They pull away from each other whole, so no worries there but you may also use a knife if you wish.  Sometimes the cheese can make them unite but not enough that they can’t pull away.
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To store, I waited until they cooled completely and then wrapped them with plastic wrap and stored them in the fridge.  They last great and you just take them out when you want one and allow them to come down to room temperature or give them a warm up in the oven.  They go great with a simple salad to what we had for Easter, lamb with a Pomegranate glaze.
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Next week comes the sweet version I made of these with some tweaks.  I had left over Pomegranate glaze from the lamb that needed to be used plus I was craving pecans with maple, so I made two different sweet versions!
Enjoy!

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