Saturday, August 27, 2022

Theo: Cookie Bites

We have some more casual chocolate candy today. Although they're still fairly new, I finally spotted Theo's less-than-brand-new cookie bites at my store recently. So here we have the Double Chocolate Cookie Bites and the Mint Chocolate Cookie Bites. The third flavor, Snickerdoodle, which I did not see, was probably the one I was most excited about. Maybe it'll turn up later; I don't think I would go out of my way to track it down. 

Theo is like a small batch chocolate maker with mainstream access and appeal. Their quality is good and simple, their chocolate bars are easy to find, and their prices are comparatively low. So it is with mixed feelings that I approach this new product. On the one hand, it's exciting: I keep advocating for better quality, candy tier options in the chocolate world. On the other, making mass-produced candies with a long shelf life is a deliberate, non-artisan-type choice. But I like Theo, so if someone is going to be making such products, it might as well be Theo, right?

The resealable bags come with a standard look similar to Theo's chocolate bar. A cream background is accented by either cranberry or green color. Not too many different colors or images going on, and the descriptions and logos are kept compact enough to not be too chaotic. 

Though they're not particularly exciting to look at, you will want to notice that the cookie bites are not covered in layers of shellac like similar products tend to be. So that's an immediate plus. The Double Chocolate bag opens up to the aroma of chocolate and cookie dough. I'm not sure how they manage that. Because it's more solid than I'd expected, the crunch of the bites is more like a crunchy cookie than soft, raw cookie dough. But it's a pleasant crunch that still has a light feel to it and helps to keep you eating more. Or is that just me? I do love crunching. 

Flavor-wise, the chocolate comes first. It's a 55% dark chocolate, so it's a standard, slightly sweet dark chocolate. Not overly sweet because, again, it's Theo. But properly sweet for a product like this: it's a lot like semisweet chocolate chips. The cookie dough flavor comes quickly in, as well, along with salt. Actually, it's quite heavy on the salt. I'm not complaining; most of us like salt. And the salt goes well with that crunchy texture. I'm not really a cookie dough person (so I will fully disclose that this product was not made with me in mind), but it's a good cookie dough flavor, as cookie dough goes. It somehow has that "raw" flavor that makes it distinctively dough and not just cookie bites. I can't compare them to the standard Cookie Dough Bites candy because I've never had them, but the ingredients are certainly much better.

Peppermint oil makes the bag of Mint Chocolate smell of Andes Mints and Thin Mint Cookies. In fact, if you happen to still like the idea of Thin Mints but you've outgrown the flavor of all that oil, these are a great alternative. The familiar peppermint overpowers the cookie dough flavors, so you're mainly just getting peppermint, sweet dark chocolate, and crunchy cookie texture. This is what I think Thin Mints taste like--until I taste one and realize it just doesn't match what's in my head. (Sorry, the Girl Scouts don't tempt me when they're out selling cookies. They really are very cheap cookies.) That isn't to say that these are the best mint chocolate I've ever had. No, they're still just chocolate candy. But they are a good example of what they set out to be.

Another thing I like about Theo is that they don't make a big deal about their ingredients--and yet their ingredients are better than some of the other "alternative" chocolate candies out there. The front of the bag just mentions organic and fair trade. The descriptions on the back just talk about the flavor. But when you look at the ingredients list, you'll see no palm oil and no artificial colors or flavors. There are also no eggs or milk either if anybody was interested in that. There is sunflower oil--but it's for the cookie part, not the chocolate. This is how candy ought to be. There's sugar, but the sugar and the sunflower oil are the closest to junk ingredients that it gets. Which means that, if you're into this style of candy, these are a great alternative option. They have better ingredients and yet still satisfy that specific candy craving.

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