K is for Kale

If you’ve been following along for a while, you’ll know that I enjoy trying unique or unusual inclusion ingredients that you wouldn’t normally associate or pair with chocolate…remember the foie gras from a couple of weeks ago? Well, this is the COMPLETE opposite end of the spectrum since it’s a vegan and “healthy” chocolate bar!

When I was putting together the list of chocolates to feature for each letter of the alphabet, I *knew* I had to include Compartés’ Kale bar for “K” week! I first tried this bar a couple of years ago when it was sold under the name “Vegan Zen.” The ingredients remain the same as before: 75% dark chocolate, kale, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, olive oil, sea salt, sunflower seeds (though those were hiding on this bar?) and spirulina; but I wonder if they had to change the branding/packaging to read “Vegan Kale” because too many people bought a bar without realizing that the main inclusion ingredient was a leafy cruciferous vegetable?! :0

Don’t forget to read the pseudo haiku on the back of the box. While it doesn’t follow the 3 line poem format with 17 syllables (broken down as 5/7/5), it’s still a fun segway to what awaits upon opening the packaging.

Inside the colorful cardboard box, the bar is wrapped in a gold metallic heat sealed/crimped pouch with the distinctive clean lines of the company logo that make me think of the Arts and Crafts Movement of the early 1900s. Did you know that while the Los Angeles-based chocolatier started out as Comparte’s in 1950, it morphed into Compartés when the brand was re-invigorated under current owner Jonathan Grahm, who took over running the company at the age of 21 (he started at the tender age of 15!)

Chevrons and triangles that are evocative of the Art Deco style feature prominently on the front side of the bar.

Though there is a bit of scuffing to the surface of the bar, you can already tell that segmenting tasting morsels will be both easy and fun, since the rows can be either horizontal or at a diagonal. Oh, the possibilities!! 😉

In my mind, the “star of the show” is the inclusion side which is photogenically blanketed with crunchy dehydrated kale chips, pumpkin seeds and white sesame seeds. I’m not really familiar with spirulina, but I imagine that the deep green color is enhanced by the protein-rich algae.

Based on photos that I’ve seen on the company website, I assume that lacinato kale was used. This leafy vegetable is also called dinosaur kale, Tuscan kale or black kale, among a variety of other names. You would think that the flavor of this bar would be bitter, earthy or medicinal, but you’ll be surprised to learn that it’s actually nutty and sweet despite the fact that there is no additional sugar aside from what is included in the base cocoa mass made from South American sourced beans.

It’s difficult to isolate the dark chocolate by itself, so when chomping pieces of this bar (I don’t think it’s possible to “melt” morsels like you’re *supposed* to), the flavor reminds me a bit of coconut or marzipan. Overall, there is just a slight vegetal hint. Truly, if you were to try this bar without knowing the ingredients, you would not be able to guess kale!

Jonathan Grahm, a self-taught chocolatier, was named of one Forbes “30 under 30” in 2011 when he was just 27. He has no formal culinary or business training, but since buying the company from his parents at age 24 the brand has grown internationally with several popular shops in Japan. You can read more about that here. The Brentwood, CA shop has attracted Hollywood celebrities, both back in the 1950s as well as today. From the outside, the shop looks almost like a high-end jewelry store rather than a purveyor of sweet treats; which ties in to Jonathan’s vision of fusing chocolate with art, style, design and fashion.

You’ve probably been wanting to up your “5 a day” and leafy greens consumption, right?! Well, here is your chance to feel virtuous and daring at the same time!! This is one of my favorites & I encourage you to try this unique chocolate bar for yourself! I think you’ll be happy you did & please keep me posted on your thoughts!

In addition to walls of colorfully packaged chocolate bars, their bonbons and chocolate dipped fruit are not to be missed. Check out their website for more details: https://compartes.com/