Nothing beats cruising down a road, heading to the next destination, the summer sun shining down, fluttering through the trees, a perfect breeze. Aaah.
You reach a lovely shoreline stop. Take it all in. And reach for your favorite snack to cap the day. Chocolate, of course! But wait! The chocolate bar is totally melted. Ugh. Now it will be wasted, money spent, and you’re still snackless. What to do?
If you travel often for fun or work, live on the road like we do, go car camping, or just plain like having a good snack around you might be looking for new alternatives especially in the summer heat. We live full time on the road, which means we have to follow the good weather. This also means the car is often toasty.
However, I love chocolate. I can’t forgo it. Luckily, I loved the bitter cocoa taste enough to desire to try the high cocoa percent chocolate bars now widely available in most stores. It has an added side benefit. Melting. These high cocoa content bars, as Ive noticed, tend not to melt much in the hot car. Meanwhile, those low cocoa content Hershey bars melt almost instantly. The final benefit is the shorter ingredient list and reduced sugar content. Apparently, cocoa bars are the next wine.
Thus, higher percent chocolate bars (we could alternatively call them cocoa bars) make a perfect chocolate lovers snack for summer road trips, vanlife folks, people trekking without cold food storage, camping snacks, and just plain healthier snacking alternatives that you can bring with you just about anywhere without worrying about the melt. There’s a full range of cocoa percents to choose from. Hershey’s is at a very low 10 percent (the rest being a lot of milk, sugar, and filler – yuck), to a slightly better 20-30 percent, to 50-70s (typically containing interesting flavor infusions with dark chocolate, all the way up to 90-100 percent! No I’m not kidding and yes I love to eat them!) Plus, there are a lot of interesting flavors out there – from chili (yes, hot chili pepper! No, not my style), coffee (one of my favorites), cherry, toffee, caramel, sea salt, and mint (takes the cake for me!). Although, you will likely sacrifice some of that cocoa percent for these added ingredients. So, next time you want a chocolate bar go on a cocoa adventure! Who knows you might learn to love the bitter deliciousness of cocoa as much as I do. There are some other great snacks for these scenarios if you’re not a total chocolate nut, like me.
For instance, we keep a lot of dried food on hand. This includes a list of delicious dried fruit. Some of our favorite dried fruit snacks include mangoes (so good!), and strawberries, blueberries. While there are many others out there, such as bananas, these seem to be the most available and most tasty selections for our taste.
Looking for more alternatives or snacks you could mix these with for, say, a tasty trail mix? Some other great options include granola, nuts, coconut, & dried cranberries. You can take the granola with you anywhere and it lasts a long time! You can grab some in the bulk food sections of most grocery stores, which now offer a wide variety of granola flavors (crunchy granola, small pieces, large clusters, vanilla, maple, cinnamon flavor, with pumpkin seed, and so on).
Finally, in addition to these long lasting snacks there are some particular fresh produce options that tend to last longer than others. Have you ever left a pepper in a hot car? We have! And it was no bueno. Meanwhile, the carrots were in great shape. Carrots, potatoes, and brussel sprouts tend to last a lot longer. Blueberries do okay too. While the first three aren’t particularly comparable snacks for the sweet tooth, they do make nice healthy alternatives. Blueberries, however, are a great sweet addition to a trail mix, or a fruit combination with that cocoa rich chocolate bar.
All of these snacks also make great backpacking snack options, too. The dried fruits are particularly light weight as an added bonus. But, again, I like a few pieces of chocolate. If I don’t bring it on the backpacking hike, I love knowing that the one I left behind in the car is waiting for me, unmelted & delicious!