Sunday, November 7, 2010

Meatless Monday Adventures: Bacon Chocolate? Really?

The most e-mailed New York Times story of the moment is “While Warning About Fat, U.S. Pushes Cheese Sales.” An organization called Dairy Management (according to the article a marketing creation of the US Department of Agriculture) has teamed up with Domino’s to develop a new line of pizzas with 40 percent more cheese to help overcome the company’s reputation for worst tasting pies. One slice of this pizza contains as much as two-thirds of a day’s maximum recommended amount of saturated fat.

This story of contradictory messages prompted me to discuss a recent discovery of my own. What does it say about our eating habits as a nation when we pair one of the fattiest cuts of meat with rich chocolate to create dessert? I am talking about bacon here.

Vosges Haut Chocolat, Mo's Bacon Bar (3oz Bar)The kernel of this tale comes from an experience I had when the first Whole Foods in my area opened about a year ago. The store layout was unfamiliar and I found myself in what I thought was the baking aisle unable to locate a bar of unsweetened chocolate to use in a batch of brownies. An eager young store employee approached and asked if he could help me find something. “Yes, thank you, a bar of baking chocolate,” I replied. Off he ran to another aisle. While he was gone, I found what I needed. He returned to announce, “I know we carry it but I just can’t find where it is.” I showed him the bar, and what I thought he said in reply was, “Oh, I thought you meant bacon chocolate.” Bacon chocolate? I let this go and didn’t think about it again until I actually saw this product on my last visit to the store, on the counter in front of the coffee bar — Mo's Bacon Bar, one of several such bars marketed by Vosges chocolatiers.

Talk about calories and fat! The bar is 3 oz., 8 squares. The ingredients are applewood smoked bacon, alderwood smoked salt, and deep milk chocolate, 41% cacao. Each square has 57 calories, 6% total fat, 10% saturated fat, 1% salt, and yes 7% of your protein for the day, but what a price to pay for protein!  It is true that if you ate all 8 squares you would meet 56% of your protein requirement for the day, but you would also consume 456 calories, 48% of your total fat, 80% of your saturated fat, and 8% of your salt. With my calorie intake for the day targeted for the 1500-1800 range, this one little bar would provide nearly 1/3 of what I should take in. The price tag is rather high, too, around $8.00, which would buy a lot of produce, even at Whole Foods. 

The more I researched, the more I realized that I should not be that surprised by the appearance of this high end bar. Keep in mind that a single slice of cooked bacon by itself has 43 calories (71% from fat), 5% saturated fat, and 8% sodium. Yet chocolate covered bacon on a stick has apparently been a popular fair food item for several years. I also know that bacon has been an ingredient in a number of Top Chef recipes over the past few seasons. In fact, the internet is full of bacon dessert recipes.  

I don't care if it is carried by Whole Foods: that doesn't make it good for you. Mo's Bacon Bar will NOT be making my list of 10 things to stuff a stocking. 

I often blog on food or food issues on Monday in support of Meatless Monday, one of several programs developed in the Healthy Monday project, founded in 2003 in association with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. Meatless Monday’s goal is “to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.


  1. Yikes! Even worse than fried candy least they aren't trying to pretend they are good for you......thanks for this sobering post.

  2. Colleen O'ConnorNovember 9, 2010 at 10:35 AM

    LOL but they sound so good!

  3. This sounds like it would go quite well with a bacon-infused Old Fashioned ;-)