For nibbling

SN&R Illustration By Mark Stivers

Have you noticed lately how chocolate is like a limbo contest? The “how low can you go” thing in cacao, however, is sugar content in bittersweet. I like a nice 70 percent bar, of course, but if you really want to earn your purist stripes, I suggest eating cacao nibs, pieces of cacao beans that are roasted and slightly crushed but otherwise unprocessed—Scharffen Berger ( sells them by the can, and they’re relatively easy to find. They’re crunchy, dark chocolaty and not sweet at all. I like them in cookies (like meringues), sprinkled on vanilla ice cream, and occasionally plain—and it occurs to me that you could make a fantastic brittle with them (if you’re the holiday candy-making sort). Last weekend, I threw a couple handfuls into trail mix, along with dried cranberries and apricots, walnuts, almonds, and some plain granola—low-sugar, in the chocolate arena at least, but energizing enough to scale the highs on a hike.