Thursday, June 12, 2014

Battle of the Organic 70% Chocolate Bars

There are just so many organic chocolate bars to choose from these days.  So how do you choose? Taste. Taste. And taste some more. 

But if you don't have that much time, don't worry because I have the lowdown on all of them. But of course, what I choose to be my favourite might not be your favourite chocolate bar. For instance, I love chocolate made from bold-flavoured cocoa beans.  I prefer Hawaiian beans for their distinct tropical fruit flavours, and I love Brazilian chocolate for its bold whatever-that-flavour-is taste, nor can I forget the strong flavour of Madagascar chocolate.  And although I like chocolate made from Venezuelan beans and appreciate the fine quality, it is almost too neutral for me. 

Neutral tasting chocolate, with minimal environmental flavour influences, tends to suit the larger population in the same way that Shiraz red wine is appreciated by a larger group of people because it is easier on the palate than say, the interesting and bold flavour of a Tempranillo or an old vine Zinfandel wine, or even a bold and dry Cabernet Sauvignon.

So this week I found a 70% Endangered Species chocolate bar at one health food store, and some mini Green & Black's 70% dark chocolate bars at another.

The Green & Black's 70% Organic has a nice, chocolaty aroma and it is highly acidic, with vanilla flavours, spice and overtones of citrus fruit.  With a melt-in-your-mouth quality, it is quite smooth and I find it to be fairly strong in flavour. I really like it.

The Endangered Species 70% bar has a very sweet aroma with a mix of floral and vanilla, and it has a sweet, fruity and bright flavour with low acidity. It is smooth, but not buttery smooth.  I would buy it again if I needed a chocolate fix, but it is not my favourite.  However, if you are transitioning to darker chocolate from something sweeter, or if you prefer a 70% dark chocolate that is on the sweet side, this may be the bar for you.

Other Pros and Cons to consider:

Green & Black's 'minis' come in 35 grams and contains 190 calories - a good serving size if you are trying to control your eating habits.  The chocolate is both Fair Trade and Organic, and easily accessible (if you like it, you can get the 100 gram chocolate bars at many grocery and health food stores. Also, the company specifies that the chocolate is made from the flavourful Trinitario cocoa beans (as opposed to the Forastero type of beans, which most commercial chocolate is made from).


The Endangered Species chocolate comes in a 40 gram bar - still a good size for portion control, but with more calories (240 calories). It is a little less accessible, but still can be found at many health food stores.  It is Organic and Rainforest Alliance Certified, which is similar to Fair Trade. A large pro is: "10% of net profits are donated to help support species, habitat and humanity." In fact, you can learn about some of the species on the inside of the wrapper. It is also certified as Gluten Free.

Both bars include organic soy lecithin (so if you are avoiding soy, you will have to look elsewhere). They also both contain organic vanilla.

So who won the battle?  Hmmm...for me it was Green & Black's on taste, likely because they focus on using Trinitario cocoa beans. But I like the mission of the Endangered Species chocolate bars and their flavour range (the Endangered Species milk chocolate with peanut butter appealed to my sweet side!).

Here are the package details on the two chocolate bars that I compared this week:

Green & Blacks ORGANIC 70% Dark Chocolate 35g
www.greenandblacks.com
Made in the UK.
Ingredients: Organic cocoa mass, Organic raw cane sugar, organic cocoa butter, Emulsifier: Soya lecithin, Organic Vanilla. Manufactured in a facility that handles nut, cereal and dairy ingredients.
Fair Trade Certified (info at www.info.fairtrade.net)

Endangered Species Organic Dark Chocolate 70%, 40g
www.chocolatebar.com
Product of USA (Indianapolis, IN)
Ingredients: Organic dark chocolate (organic chocolate liquor, organic dried cane syrup, organic cocoa butter, organic soya lecithin, organic vanilla). Contains: soy. May contain: Almonds, hazelnuts, milk, peanuts, pecans.

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