Friday, December 25, 2009

Chocolate Santander Colombian Single Origin Dark Chocolate 70% Cacao

2.46 (70g) bar
Ingredients: Cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa powder, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, natural vanilla
20g sugar/70g bar (28.6% by wt.)

I tasted Chocolate Santander’s 70% cacao bar, though the single-origin Colombian chocolate company makes several others as well.

I found this bar to be creamy and sweet but surprisingly complex: It has some bright tartness, is very nutty, a bit fruity, and with a hint of bitterness.

Conclusion: Chocolate Santander’s 70% bar is totally accessible but also interesting. 

Friday, December 18, 2009

Green & Black’s Organic Baking Chocolate with 72% Cocoa Content Including Extra Cocoa Butter for Easier Melting

5.3oz (150g) bar
Ingredients: Organic chocolate liquor, o. raw cane sugar, o. cocoa butter, soy lecithin, o. vanilla extract, o. whole milk powder
5g sugar/20g serving (25% by wt.)

I generally like Green & Black’s products. This bar is sold for baking rather than eating, and the extra cocoa butter did give it a smooth texture. I’m not sure what accounted for its particular taste, though, as I found it cloying, with a tart aftertaste that lingered unpleasantly.

Conclusion: I didn’t really enjoy this, but perhaps it’ll be better when I use it in baked goods.

P.S. I love that Green & Black’s attempts to use organic and fair trade cacao, but its website pats itself on the back about it so much it’s kind of entertaining.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Godiva 85% Cacao Santo Domingo Dark Chocolate

3.5oz (100g) bar
Ingredients: Chocolate, sugar, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, vanilla
5g sugar/40g serving (12.5% by wt.)

The Godiva bar is thinner and flatter than many of the other bars I’ve eaten, making it seem more “crunchy” and light for that reason alone, though the “snap” might be reduced in warmer weather. The chocolate is a bit waxy, with a hint of grit and powderiness. The flavor is mouth-filling and fruity, but not as heavy as some with similar cacao content, perhaps
because of the added cocoa butter.

Conclusion: This is a fine bar but nothing remarkable, so it probably won’t be making a reappearance in the chocolate basket.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Newman’s Own Organics N Signature Series Super Dark Chocolate 70%

2.25oz (64g) bar
Ingredients: organic chocolate liquor, o. evaporated cane juice, o. cocoa butter, o. soy lecithin, o. vanilla
16g sugar in a 64g bar (25% by wt.)

I’d always avoided buying this bar because it seemed undersized for the value (though for organic it's actually fairly reasonably priced) and because I’ve liked but not loved other Newman’s Own products in the past. On the other hand, it's widely available, and I was eventually able to pick it up on sale.

This bar surprised me: It’s creamy and rich but also light, with a soft, smooth texture and no hint of waxiness. The flavor is sweeter than you'd think for being only 1/4 sugar by weight, and it has a touch of caramel for complexity. My husband picked up a piece and went back for more, and I finished the last of the bar within a couple days.

Conclusion: Pleasant, easy to eat, and worth buying again.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Introduction to the Chocolate Basket

Not long ago, a health issue required me to cut sugar to very low levels. I lost my beloved sour gummy candies, not to mention cake, pie, cookies, ice cream, and other items. I now eat a lot of very dark chocolate, usually with 70% cacao or higher. (Sugar content can still vary, but it seems to hover around the same level among straight chocolate bars with the same cacao content. Sugar content of flavored bars can vary significantly.) It's hard to find flavored bars of very dark chocolate, but they do exist, and some are in regular rotation in my chocolate basket. 

This is the basket in its current state. Straight chocolate bars are on the left; flavored bars are on the right.

I've picked up bars at regular and upscale supermarkets, Asian markets, and specialty stores. Cheap chocolate usually doesn't come dark enough and I avoid the most expensive bars, but this blog might be a good excuse to splurge.

If you haven't eaten a lot of dark chocolate, you'll probably find it somewhat bitter and lacking the creaminess of a nice milk chocolate (though dark milk chocolate does exist). I've found that what I'm used to strongly affects what I taste when I eat chocolate. If I've been eating a lot of 85%, 70% tastes overly sweet, as though the sugar overshadows the cacao. If I've been eating some sort of 65%, flavored bar, 90% tastes incredibly intense, like a full-bodied red wine. I suspect this will influence how I review the bars, which will be an interesting challenge. It also might influence what you think of the same bars--what's tasty to me might be unpalatable to you--but the experimenting sure is fun.

Molly D.