Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Product Review: Enjoy Life Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

[Disclosure] Here's the thing about the product reviews I post on this blog: I always become incredibly self-conscious. I'm telling you this because I don't post as many reviews as I sometimes think I should (based on the frequency with which "review product x" comes up in how people linked to my blog via search engines), and simultaneously because I sometimes feel like I'm posting far too many reviews. For these reasons, I try to focus on products that don't seem to be reviewed on the interwebs quite as often. I've mentioned this with past product reviews, but if there's a product you want reviewed (that's gluten-free), let me know. I'll be happy to try and review it -- depending on availability in my area.

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Bag of Enjoy Life Mini Chips (semi-sweet)
Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips are vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, and soy-free, which makes them a prime candidate for review on this blog -- where a lot of my recipes try to take into account food sensitivities and preferences.

On a purely taste level, these simple chocolate chips have a lovely chocolate flavor with none of that weird aftertaste that say, Hershey's (or any number of other brands of chocolate) have that make me either want to eat more (but not actually enjoy it -- so typically American of me, at least if I'm to believe Jim Gaffigan's analysis of the American palate) to get the taste out of my mouth (because that makes sense) or leaves me feeling incredibly thirsty. I personally prefer a deeper chocolate flavor (the darker the chocolate, the better if you ask me!), but these work well for the things I use them for.

They're smooth and melt easily (sometimes too easily if you don't have air-conditioning) and because they're mini chocolate chips, they don't overwhelm delicate desserts if you're inclined to make things that need small bursts of chocolate (I don't have occasion to make these very often).

On another note the Enjoy Life website isn't the most appealing site in the world (mostly just the images of food). If I'd first encountered these chips via their website, I'd probably never have purchased them. However, that wasn't the case and at my local store, the mini chocolate chips are the only option -- though I'm interested in their chocolate chunks.

That being said, I've been trying very consciously to reduce the amount of exploitation that I enable through my purchasing decisions. These chocolates are not certified fair trade or organic. I contacted Enjoy Life about this, to find out if they're working with their supplies to ensure an enjoyable life for the chocolate workers and for the environment. Here's what they said:
Our chocolate is not fair-trade certified.  However, our supplier focuses on improving conditions for the cocoa farmers and is committed to operating in an ethical, responsible, and safe manner.  Unfortunately, at this time we are not able to source fair trade ingredients that meet our strict allergen free requirements. 
Okay, fair enough. But I still can't help but read it with a bit of skepticism. I admittedly don't know much at all about the production of chocolate and the facilities in which they produce their chocolate, but it seems like there shouldn't be much cross-contamination on the farms and plantations where at least some of the people in the cacao-to-chocolate production line work.

That being said, I'll probably continue to indulge in these chocolates from time to time.

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