Sunday, November 21, 2010

Bitter bitter chocolate....how dark will you go?

I have been contemplating the concept of dark chocolate this morning and now I have a few questions for the God of All Chocolate - if he or she exists out there somewhere. 

How dark should dark chocolate be?  Is 60% dark enough?  Or is 70% considered the standard dark chocolate (it seems like it since, these days, most manufacturers of 100 gram chocolate bars include a 70% dark bar in thier product line).  And as a connoisseur, is it expected that I like chocolate that is darker than 80 or 85%?  I hope not, because I'm not all that excited about chocolate with 90% or more cocoa solids.  Yikes.  If you've ever tried to sneak some chocolate as a child and threw a big piece of your mother's unsweetened baking chocolate into your mouth, you'll understand why I am not so excited about the prospect of eating nearly sugarless chocolate.

So I have decided that I am going to tackle my fear of nearly-unsweetened dark chocolate today and try to answer at least some of the questions above. 

I have always looked at the Lindt Excellence 99% chocolate bar and thought "who buys that?".  I went through a phase where I considered buying it, just to see, but I would always put it back on the shelf just before I got to the cash register.  However, I was in Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory just to check the place out, and saw at 91% cocoa bar called the Nocturne World Blend bar in a 56 gram size.  So I thought, why not? Ninety-one percent has to taste better than 99%. 

I have discovered, after eating no sugar this morning and having waited the approproate amount of time after eating to taste chocolate, that I can palate 91%.  Or at least this bar - I have no others to compare it to at the moment.  I can taste the vanilla beans immediately.  The chocolate doesn't seem to have any strong flavours either way and perhaps that is because it is a "world blend" so the blend is masking the individual flavours.  Also, it is very bitter, but the vanilla and the smoothness of the chocolate seems to be making it palatable. 

I'm not sure how often I could eat this, or if there is any craving at any time of the day that this will satisfy for me, but I have discovered that it is not as bad as I thought.  I may now be ready to move onto the Lindt bar. 

So how does all that answer my questions to the God of All Chocolate?  Well, I have realized today that, as a chocolate connoisseur, I don't have to like extra bitter chocolate over 80 or 90%, but I should be able to taste it and review it criticially.  And I should be able to understand its composition and what makes a good extra bitter chocolate bar.  And as long as I remain curious, I will keep trying extra bitter chocolate over 80% until I find the ones I do like - like the Rocky Mountain 91% Nocturne bar I tasted today.
And as for my question: How dark should dark chocolate be?  Well, I think it can be anything you want it to be.  I think anything over with 45% cocoa solids qualifies, but if you want the good stuff, my recommendation is to stick to something between 54 % and 75%. But if you're definition of 'dark chocolate' is something different, then that's fine too.

If any of you have any suggestions for good, high quality bars with over 80% and 90% cocoa solids, please let me know by commenting below! If you suggest it, I will try it.


Here are the stats on the bar I tried today:
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, 91% cocoa solids, 56 grams
Burnaby, BC Canada http://www.rockychoc.com/
Ingredients: Cacao Beans, sugar, cocoa butter, soya lecithin, vanilla beans.  May contain traces of peanuts, nuts, eggs, milk and sulfites.

3 comments:

  1. Here are some high percentage chocolates that I've enjoyed. They're listed by Company - Name - percentage

    Pralus- Le 100%
    Theo- Venezuela 91%
    Cacaoyere- Pichincha 91%
    DeVries- La Dominicana 80%
    Madecasse- 80% 80%
    DeVries Costa Rican- 80% 80%
    Mast Brothers- Patanemo 81%

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  2. Oh, I forgot to mention that the bars I listed, along with my ratings, were taken from the file "0-Ratings-By Class" that is in the Summaries section of the files at ChocoFiles.

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