Newman's Own

Newman's Own is a food company started by Paul Newman, the actor, as a way of raising money for charity. In fact, you can barely make out Mr. Newman and his daughter Nell in the badly halftoned image on the wrappers of their chocolate bars. The company started with a line of salad dressings, and has branched out. Apparantly they make chocolate now. In addition to the milk and dark chocolate reviewed here, I know they also make an espresso flavored variety, which I won't review here because I can't stand coffee in any form and because I don't review chocolates with flavorings in them.

Newman's Own Milk Chocolate

As you can see from the picture on the label, this is an organic chocolate. What does that mean? It means that it's made with only organically produced ingredients. They really want us to know that, too, because the ingredient list has the word "organic" in front of nearly every ingredient. While this gets their point across, it makes the list somewhat hard to read: organic sugar, organic cocoa butter, organic milk, organic chocolate, organic nonfat milk, soy lecithin, organic barley malt extract, organic ground vanilla bean.

I don't know if it's all the orgnaic-ness of the ingredients, but this chocolate has a very interesting flavor. There's a lot more personality in it than in, say, Hershey's milk chocolate. It is for that reason that I have rated this chocolate one bar above Hershey's milk chocolate.

This is the first organic chocolate for me, and this is a milk chocolate, so I'm not entirely sure how much of the interesting flavor is due to being organic. Perhaps I can revisit this chocolate again later after I've tried more organics. In any event, this chocolate has a lot of undertones in its flavor. Some that were immediately clear were malt and carmel. Two others that surprised me with their presence later were salt and nuttiness. I should take a moment to say that I find salt and nuts to greatly enhance the flavor of milk chocolates, and in some rare cases, dark chocolates. Valrhonamakes a divine dark chocolate with hazelnuts that I'll review if I ever branch out into reviewing chocolates with nuts.

Both salt and nuts are complementary flavors that add a lot of richness to the chocolate without taking away from the chocolate flavor itself. Many milk chocolates add more milk, cream, or cocoa butter to add richness by adding fat. Of course, adding fat means taking away cocoa. So an underlying saltiness and hint of of nuts are a good thing.

Anyway, if you can find this chocolate anywhere, I'd suggest giving it a try. It's certainly interesting and different. I know it's available in parts of California, since my mom sent me the sample I used from there.

Newman's Own Sweet Dark Chocolate

Like Newman's Own Milk Chocolate, this one is also an organic chocolate. I was, however, expecting a little something more from it. I remember their milk chocolate having an interesting, somewhat complex flavor. This one doesn't. It's quite respectable chocolate, but I didn't think it was all that great. The ingredient list is: organic sugar, organic chocolate, organic cocoa butter, soy lecithin, organic ground vanilla bean.

This chocolate reminds me a heck of a lot of Hershey's Special Dark. It has about the same color, the strength of the chocolate flavor is about the same, and I think the balance between chocolate and sugar is about equal as well.

It is, however, not identical. This is a crisper chocolate, with a finer grain. While it is smooth in the mouth, it does take some time to melt and I found that it took too long for the flavor to really develop. The great chocolates I have had all made their presence known immediately. This chocolate is considerably more timid in that respect, only letting its flavor out after a good bit of melting and chewing.

Certainly this is not a bad chocolate, but it does nothing to distinguish itself from many others I have tried. If you had to choose between this chocolate and Hershey's Special Dark, the only reason to choose this one would be because it is organic.