Friday, October 2, 2020

OCHO: Trick or Treat Variety Pack

For day two of my three day Halloween chocolate spree, I have the Trick or Treat Variety Pack from OCHO. Like Tony's Chocolonely, OCHO has also made Easter egg candies, which I looked at last year. I expressed some disappointment that they were organic but not fair trade. But this bag says that they are fair trade, and OCHO's website lists recent fair trade certification. So it's possible that either their sources have recently received certification (not all fair trade cocoa is certified as such) or that they have been transitioning to fair trade certified sources. Either way, again, I'm just glad that it's part of the conversation and part of what more companies are trying to be aware of, even when it comes to candy.

And while the Tony's Chocolonely bag was from Natural Grocer's, you can get OCHO at Target. So this is the option that more people will come across because it's safe to say that more people shop at Target than at Natural Grocer's. While the bag says it has 22 pieces, I counted 19. Maybe I just can't count? This bag was about $8. So that's 36 cents each if there were 22 pieces, and 42 cents each for the 19 pieces that I actually got. Not as low as the Tony's per piece price, but still pretty standard for the price you'd pay for an individual piece of fair trade chocolate. 

The bag has a little more of a clip art look. OCHO seems to be still a pretty small company, despite their increasing availability in store, so I guess this is fine. and it's still a fun, Halloween look. Again, I like that these are happy jack-o-lanterns rather than spooky ones. It would be nice to have some pumpkins on the individual wrappers, too, though. While the yellow and orange fit in with a Halloween color scheme, the blue doesn't and the white is the most prevalent color. So they don't look very festive. Granted, most of the Halloween candy that's for sale isn't in special holiday wrappers--and many of the bags that hold the small pieces aren't even decorated at all, either. So this isn't necessarily a complaint, just something it would be possible to improve on. Especially since when you see a Snickers wrapper, you get excited about candy--but when you see an "alternative candy" wrapper, you see "alternative candy." So having a festive holiday look can really give the alternative options a visual boost.

I do apologize for the lack of a picture of the candies themselves. I didn't go in to the store to look for chocolate, so I completely forgot that these were in the car when I got off at one more stop. And one more stop in a hot car is all it takes to melt chocolate (although the Ghirardelli made it out unmelted, so I'm not sure what the difference was there). I didn't want to be more wasteful in buying a second bag, so we'll just imagine that the candies looked as nice unmelted as they do in the pictures on the bag.

There are three flavors in here: Peanut Butter, Caramel, and Coconut. Or Reese's, Milky Way, and Mounds, if you like. The familiarity is good.

I've talked about the Peanut Butter before, though it was in Easter egg shape then. The peanut butter filling is alright; it has plenty of salt to make it akin to the Reese's Cups we all grew up with. But there is a certain soft texture in it that blends with the flavor that isn't favorable. There are other Reese's Cup alternatives that are better--but this one is fine. It's a nice bite of peanut butter chocolate candy. 

The Caramel is in the chewy range. Not only is it a good sub for caramel chocolates but also for those with nougat. The Milky Way comparison really does work, even without nougat. There is a lot of vanilla flavor in here and plenty of chocolate compared with a Snickers or Milky Way. I really enjoy this one, and would definitely reach for it when I'm craving a chocolate candy bar. 

I ate one of the Coconut candies because I'm self-sacrificing like that. I've never had a Mounds or Almond Joy because you know I, being not overly fond of the flavor, usually avoid coconut. I don't know, maybe I'm starting to get over it. It's chewy, creamy coconut filling. While I can't say for sure, I do believe there is likely much more chocolate here than in a Mounds bar. So if you're going to have a coconut chocolate candy, this one's pretty good. 

Overall, this set was better than I had been expecting. Though the peanut butter chocolate is what I associate most with OCHO, I don't believe it's their strongest flavor. So the Caramel and even the Coconut helped lift my esteem of the brand. These are exactly what they're marketed as: fun size, organic chocolate candies. 

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