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.