1. The inspiration
The inspiration for this flavour came from a road trip around parts of California – see part 5 of this blog. California is a state located the western part of USA. Although it is known for its lovely warm weather, the size of the region means that climates can vary. Depending on where you are, you could experience arid deserts in the middle, to more snowy alpine conditions in the mountains.
It is a region famed for its diverse landscapes, from deserts, forests, mountains, lakes, rivers and coastlines. As for its wildlife it is one of the richest and most diverse areas in the world. There are also lots of cultural influences such as Spanish and Mexican, which are reflected in the amazing food.
Agriculture forms an important part of the region and it is famed for growing almonds. Given this fact, we chose almonds to flavour our California bar.
2. The ingredients
As with all our bars, we think all our ingredients are pretty special. All are organic and all have a nutritional benefit for your body and mind. Palmyra Blossom Nectar is used to sweeten all our bars and its amazing benefits can be found in a separate blog.
We flavour our California bar with home made roasted organic almond butter and sprinkle chopped roasted almonds on the top. The almond butter gives a lovely richness and the crunchy almond on the top are just delicious! Almonds have amazing health properties and we will talk about them in a separate blog post.
As with all our ingredients we are careful about where we source them from. Since we created this cacao bar, the Californian almond industry has had some bad press. This is due to the recent drought the region has experienced and the amount of water that has been needed to keep growing the almonds. Concerns have been raised about the subsequent impacts that almond growing has had on the environment. Also all almonds from this region have to be heat treated and pasteurised, stripping them of vital nutrients. It is therefore becoming increasingly difficult to source organic California almonds in the UK.
As a company it is important to us that we promote and support organic and sustainable agriculture, with minimal impact on the environment. For this reason and for the time being, our almonds are currently sourced from sustainable sources in Europe. We hope you understand our reasons for doing this and that it doesn’t stop you thinking about California when you are trying this cacao bar.
3. Our label
The design of our label is based on the state flag for California. The bear was originally modelled on the last Californian grizzly bear that was held in captivity. The bear, named ‘Monarch’ was captured in 1889 and kept in San Francisco until he died in 1911. His body was preserved and can be seen at the Academy of Sciences at Golden Gate Park.
We love the design and it invokes happy memories of our time spent in California.
4. Its versatility
As well as enjoying California bar as it is, we also love it as a hot drink. Several pieces melted into a cup of hot milk is absolutely delicious. Our favourite is hot almond milk and we especially enjoy this when the weather is awful!
As with all our bars, they are all inspired by travel to different parts of the world. In a former life, I was an Ecologist. Whllst studying for our PhDs many years ago, a friend was invited to present their work at a conference in San Diego. So I went along too and after we embarked on a 3 week road trip around California.
Honestly it was amazing! After Grey Whale watching in San Diego, we hired a car and went camping in the desert, watched humming birds and glimpse rare Bighorn Sheep. We visited lots of National Parks including Joshua Tree,Yosemite, Sequoia and the Grand Canyon. Did lots of walking and tried our hands at cross country skiing – definitely not as easy at it looks for sure!
Each and everyone of those parks were unique, both in the landscapes, vegetation and wildlife they supported. It was so exciting to see puma tracks, glimpse brown bears, coyotes, so many species of birds, beautiful flowers, insects and incredible views. Oh and have I mentioned the trees?! If you love trees you must go and visit Sequoia as the immense redwoods in that area are very special. Towering above you they just exude magic, mystery and history. Hours spent just staring upwards in awe!
After all of that we ended up for a few days in San Francisco. Such a beautiful city, fabulous food and coastline. It’s on my list for a return visit soon.
If you have been to California, be sure to tell us about it and your favourite parts to visit.