Its color is pure, white as the driven snow. Its flavor: delicate, fresh, natural…and hinting not of driven snow but of a tropical beach far, far from here. With sunshine, a big blue umbrella. Afternoon piña coladas.

The sweets-lover in me, when I first tasted unsweetened coconut, thought something was missing. And it was—the sugar—but I quickly came to appreciate the beauty and versatility of shaved or flaked coconut, no sugar added. Sweetened coconut is certainly its own pleasure, moist and always, in my mind, referencing a Mounds bar or a homemade haystack.

Unsweetened coconut gives us a completely different texture, a crisp, shattering type of crumble. And other than nuts, and perhaps butter, nothing takes to toasting better than an unsweetened coconut chip. The subtlety of its flavor is like a good introvert who has so much to offer, even though (or perhaps because) that abundance doesn’t flash itself in your face. It requires you to slow down and really taste, and it promotes mind-wandering. It’s the stuff that New Year’s resolutions are made of.

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