Chocolate #9 Agave Nectar
I first learned of Chocolate #9 online. I forget the exact website, but the product caught my eye because it had agave in it. I had recently switched to agave for all of my in-home sweetening needs because of its low glycemic qualities. Compared with refined sugars, agave syrup digests much more slowly into the bloodstream resulting in prolonged energy rather than a spike and then crash. As I looked for an energy bar I could take on the trail I realized it would be harder than I thought to find something that met my needs. Luckily, that’s when I discovered Chocolate #9 energy gels.
While on a visit to ZombieRunner in Palo Alto, CA, a Mecca for ultrarunners and enthusiasts alike, I discovered they carried the product in amongst the GUs and energy shots. I bought a few packs to give a try. As I checked out at the counter one of the employees said she enjoys Chocolate #9 on ice cream as well as on her long runs.
A month or two later I was listening to a podcast interview on Ultrarunning News with John Sample, the founder of Chocolate #9 (what a great name for the packaged food industry). At the end of the podcast the interviewer mentioned that John was running a special for listeners who call him on the company’s toll-free number. I grabbed the phone and dialed the number. And John answered. The operation is still quite small – launched in early 2009 – so John handles most if not all aspects of the business.
I talked with John for awhile, asking a few questions about the company, product, and the special mentioned on the podcast. Once John found out that I ran Running Quest he said he’d like to send me a box for free to test and review. I happily accepted his offer.
Pure and Simple
I was first impressed by the fact that Chocolate Agave #9 only has two ingredients: chocolate and agave. How many packaged foods only have 2 ingredients, both of which you can read and understand what they are?! The agave is organic and the chocolate 100% Belgian. I love how simple it is. No chemicals. No preservatives. No refined sugar. And all vegan to boot!
I took a pack of Chocolate #9 on my next trail run and gave it a try. The packet has a tear top that made it easy to rip open even while running. As I squished the chocolate out into my mouth I was afraid that the substance would be rather sticky and render me looking like a dog fighting peanut butter. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the chocolate went down. The consistency is between a pudding and a thick sauce. Not too runny, not too thick or dry.
What pleased me even more, though, was how good the product tasted on the way down. The chocolate had a nice dark flavor. While the agave made the chocolate sweet, it wasn’t too sweet. I was glad there wasn’t an aftertaste, either. It only took a swig of water to leave my palette cleansed. I felt good knowing I was giving my body real food, not overly processed and treated food.
Low Glycemic Index
Together, the chocolate and agave register a low 46 on the official Glycemic Index (the product has been officially tested). For those of you aren’t too familiar with the Glycemic Index, it’s a scale of how quickly food is absorbed into the bloodstream. Sugar is used as the baseline at 100. Many energy gels score way higher on the Index. Chocolate #9 is the only certified low glycemic energy gel on the market. There might be others, but they haven’t been officially tested and certified.
Ultrarunners and Chocolate #9: A Match Made in Heave
John Sample, founder of Chocolate #9, originally had the idea to target diabetics. This made good sense as they’re a group that has to be very concerned with sugar uptake and therefore the Glycemic Index. However, as often is the case, another group embraced the gel because it met their similar needs. Endurance athletes have become John’s best customers as the gel provides prolonged energy without the bonking. It also tastes a lot better than the other stuff on the market.
John recently changed the company’s website address from Chocolate9.com to Chocolate Energy Gel, signaling a full repositioning strategy. As you can see, the packets resemble the GU on-the-go packs so are are already suited for consumption while on the run. John shared that 90% of the runners he hears from rave about the product. In fact, he consistently hears from runners who have achieved a new personal record after using Chocolate #9 during endurance events.
With such a great product straight out of the gate I can’t help but think about the future and wonder what new products John might create. Some obvious next flavors would be Mocha and perhaps Mint. I’d also love to see a banana flavored one. A marriage with superfoods such as Acai, Goji, and Maca Root would be a great move as well. Further down the road I think it would be good to see the successful incorporation of chia seeds into the mix. In my mind this would make the product a complete superfood for ultrarunners.
What’s with the “9”?
The name was created by John to help people remember his company. He knew numbers stick in people’s minds so tagged the number nine onto chocolate and voila, a memorable name was born. The number nine has no significance. I do think a cool answer would be that it means, just say “no” (in German) to high GI energy gels.
From company website.
Trial Pack (3 packets): $4.99
Box (24 packets): $32.49
Case(4 boxes): $99
Want to try some? FREE Giveaway!
I want to give everyone some Chocolate #9 energy gel to try. Alas, I can only send a trial pack to one person. If you are interested in receiving 3 gel packs for free (I’ll pay the shipping), leave me a comment below on why you want to try Chocolate #9. Make sure to leave your email address so I can contact you if you are the lucky winner (leave it in the comment sign-up section, not your actual comment).
That’s it. You just have to leave me a comment. I’m not going to make you jump through hoops (though I wouldn’t object if you wanted to post about this on facebook or twitter). I will pick one winner on December 10 and announce the winner in this post, on twitter, and notify them via email. Good luck!
1. Lave a comment now on why you would like to try Chocolate #9.
2. Remember to leave email address (in comment sign-up section).
3. Cross fingers (and toes, if you can).