Saturday, February 19, 2011

Follow Your Coconut Bliss

Imagine my joy last week when I received some gift certificates from Coconut Bliss to review their product for Health Fare. Coconut Bliss is an organic coconut milk ice cream company started by Luna and Larry, a couple in Eugene, Oregon who have sworn off dairy products. Not only are they concerned with the ecological impact of dairy farming, they just plain didn't like the way dairy products made them feel.

In 2004, they discovered a hand-cranked ice cream machine at Goodwill, and decided to make ice cream with coconut milk. Friends and family had an extremely "blissful" reaction to this frozen treat, and before you knew it, they were selling their product to local natural food stores the Sweet Life Patisserie and the Red Barn Natural Grocery. A perfect example of the old adage "Necessity is the mother of invention," and lucky for us, too!

Now Coconut Bliss is available in thousands of natural food stores and supermarkets. I was able to buy a pint of Vanilla Island and a pint of Cappuccino from Whole Earth Center in Princeton, and according to their website, you can also buy Coconut Bliss at Wegman's.

According to their product literature, their coconut milk is shipped by boat from an organic family-owned farm in Thailand. The wonderful thing about coconut is that they tend to grow on their own without much human (and pesticide) interference.

Coconut milk has been "discovered" in recent years by nutritionists, doctors and naturopaths, who now believe coconut oil to be the healthiest oil for human consumption, and beneficial for cardiac health. The Coconut Bliss literature states that it is superior to the polyunsaturated vegetable oils that have been promoted by health organizations. According to World's Healthiest Foods, the saturated fat in coconuts is not long chain but medium-chain fatty acids, and that coconut oil contains between approximately 55-65% 62% medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), including the healthy fats, lauric acid, caprylic acid, and capric acid.  The website also states that MCFAs have been used for many years as dietary supplements in situations where absorption of nutrients needs improvement, including situations involving premature infants, and adults with compromised bowel function, perhaps suffering from digestive ailments such as ulcerative colitis and Krone's disease.

The antiviral characteristics of lauric acid are much touted on the web but according to George Mateljan of World's Healthiest Foods , the research is not as definitive as one would think. The most neutral desciption I've found so far is the terse lauric acid entry in Wikipedia, which also subscribes to its antiviral properties.

One thing we can be sure of, however, is that Coconut Bliss is aptly named. I am a sucker for coconut milk, it is a staple in our household, and I was pleased to see another use for it besides the Thai curries I cook weekly. The sweet, creamy flavor of the coconut-based ice cream is apparent immediately upon the first bite, and it is something else. You have to be a fan of coconut milk to enjoy this product, and I am, so it was extremely appealing to me.

I tend to like cappuccino ice cream and found this flavor to be solid with the robust, cinnamony flavor of a good cappuccino (but without being overpowering). It was very layered, with the coconut milk base making its presence known and the coffee flavor as an overlay. Perhaps the more you eat Coconut Bliss, the greater the melding of the two flavors. I found that the vanilla flavor of the Vanilla Island Coconut Bliss lent itself a bit more to the coconut milk base, and it was scrumptious. However, I truly enjoyed both the Vanilla Island and the Cappuccino flavors.

Flecks of bean permeated both flavors, vanilla bean in the Vanilla Island and coffee bean in the Cappuccino. Coconut Bliss lacked the smooth, rich aftertaste that milk-based ice cream has but it also didn't fill you up or give you that bloated feeling you might experience after consuming a bowl of ice cream.

It is apparent to me that this is a terrific product and should not be limited to the lactose-intolerant or vegan market.  There is no reason anyone should feel committed to eating dairy all the time, as coconut milk has a great many nutritive properties, as well as being quite high in the YUM factor. The coconut is indeed, as the Coconut Bliss literature calls it, "The Marvelous Drupe."


  1. Thank you so much for the wonderful review & all the education about coconut!
    I am glad that you chose the Cappuccino to try, it's one of my favorites but I don't think it gets enough love on the web :)
    Thanks again,

  2. You're welcome, I really enjoyed it! A delicious dessert, wish you luck!