2006_05_food_sweetriot.jpgWe have to admit, we were a bit skeptical when we were offered a sample of Sweetriot cacao. Cacao? We thought to ourselves? That doesn't sound particularly appealing. Frankly, the word "cacao" didn't bring up much in our mental database -- sure, we knew it was the main element in chocolate, but unprocessed, all we could think of was bitterness. In the sake of full disclosure, we might also have been projecting some of our reactions to the word "carob," the nasty health-food chocolate-like substitute, as Sweetriot's promotional materials were rife with feel-good, hippie-ish language. Sure, we'll try it. But when we got the package in the mail, opened up the smartly packaged tins, and had a taste, everything changed -- we were hooked.

Sweetriot comes in three varieties, covering gently roasted cacao nibs with 50%, 65% and 70% dark chocolate. The cacao provides a gentle crunch, and the chocolate lends the sweetness, although even the 50% (the sweetest variety) is somewhat on the dark chocolate side (we happen to prefer dark chocolate, so had no problem with this). The beauty of Sweetriot, in our opininon, is that just a few nibs (at 1-2 calories each, believe it or not) can satisfy a pretty intense chocolate craving, and even if you go nuts and snarf down the whole tin, you're only taking in 140 calories. Plus you can claim that you're getting your antioxidants -- we always use this excuse when we go a bit overboard with the dark chocolate.

Sweetriot is a socially and ecologically conscious enterprise. They feature art from emerging artists on their labels, have a recycling program, as well as suggested uses for, their empty tins, and they are in the process of obtaining Fair Trade certification. And to top everything off, they're bloggers as well.

You can purchase Sweetriot on their website or through gourmet retailers like Whole Foods, Zabar's, and Garden of Eden.