This is Highly Recommend, a column dedicated to our very opinionated editors’ favorite things to eat, drink, and buy.
If you’ve ever frequented a bougie smoothie shop or gotten lost in a Whole Foods, you’ve probably spotted bee pollen. Bees make the golden pellets from foraged pollen to feed to their babies while humans looking for the next big superfood use it to top acai bowls, multigrain porridges, and other brunch staples. Go figure. The slightly sweet, musty-in-a-good-way granules are high in antioxidants and thought to help ward off seasonal allergies, which is why I stashed a jar in my pantry to zhuzh up my oatmeal last year. But after several months of forgetting to sprinkle it on anything, I realized there’s only one way I would actually consume bee pollen: when encased in chocolate.
This realization came to me when BA’s deputy editor Julia Kramer handed me a bar from Cloudforest, a bean-to-bar chocolate company based in Portland, Oregon, and helmed by Ecuadorian chocolatier Sebastian Cisneros. He merges single-estate Ecuadorian cacao with a lineup of ingredients that reads like a millennial Willy Wonka fever dream—palo santo, Pop Rocks, black sesame, pimentón. It’s all exciting, but I’m especially fond of the bee pollen, which is harvested by Jacobsen Co. Honey, a hive program operated by Jacobsen Salt Co that works with sustainable beekeepers in the Pacific Northwest.
The contrast between fruity pollen and creamy milk chocolate is undeniably delicious—even for someone like myself who proudly swears allegiance to the dark side (of chocolate). It certainly doesn’t count as a supplement, but it’s just about the only kind of sweet I’m willing to gift this Valentine’s Day.
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Originally Appeared on Bon Appétit