Thursday, May 26, 2016

With only 5% difference in cocoa solids between three chocolate bars, can I choose a favourite? My SPAGnVOLA chocolate dilemma...

The 75% chocolate is my favourite.  Oh wait, but I liked the 80% quite a lot.  Then again, the 70% really highlighted the flavours. Ugh. I can't decide.

That was my line of thinking when I was trying to decide which of SPAGnVOLA's dark chocolate bars I preferred. I had precisely three to choose from, an 80% chocolate, a 75% dark chocolate and a 70% dark chocolate, all made with the same single estate Dominican Republic origin cocoa beans.

The thing was: I liked them all.  I first tried the 75% bar, and enjoyed it's light cream taste so much thought I could not possibly like the other two.  And I was almost correct when I discovered that the 80% chocolate had been exposed to heat during transport, but with a quick melt and re-tempering job, that chocolate too became a new favourite with its cream taste, but beautifully bitter melt.  I then moved on to the 70%, which did taste sweeter with nearly no acidity, but also tasted like cream with a bit of spice, and some earthy organic flavours.

I put the question to my almost-five-year-old son, who diligently tasted each one (with only one request to taste them again), and he also could not choose a favourite.  He said, and I quote: "This one is my favourite. And this one is my favourite. And that other one is my favourite too." Even with some additional questioning (and tasting), he was sticking to his final decision: all three were his 'favourite'.

I finally made a decision that, if I were to find myself in Gaithersburg, Maryland at SPAGnVOLA's factory and shop, and I only had just enough money to buy one chocolate bar to enjoy a second time, I would likely choose the 75%.  Well, maybe the 80%. Sigh.

So what is 'Single Estate' chocolate anyway?

One cacao farm (a single estate) owned by one family or business. This is origin flavour at its finest.  the acidity in the soil, the other plants, fruit and foods growing around the cacao, and even the animals and other farming that is close to the cacao trees and drying facilities. Cocoa beans and chocolate takes on the flavours of the smells that are in the same vicinity (this is why I  am very careful about where I store my chocolate and where I make my chocolate!). 

I have tasted industrial smells, gasoline and the flavour of animal aroma (like wet dog smell) in chocolate. I often wonder if that is the result of the plantation's location (close to a highway, trucks, or perhaps animals) or where the drying of the beans were done, or perhaps there were intense industrial odours during storage and transport.

But that was not the case with SPAGnVOLA's chocolate.  The aroma, and the taste, was perfectly delicious.

Learn more about SPAGnVOLA

To learn more about SPAGnVOLA's single plantation, bean-to-bar chocolate, and to see if YOU can choose which bar you like best, visit the website at

Oh and watch SPAGnVOLA's website for future updates because they are planning to introduce a new single estate chocolate from Ondo State, Nigeria!  I can't wait, can you?


  1. Our farm has a diverse genetic makeup of cacao trees. Every single batch, regardless of percentage of cacao exhibits an exuberant aroma and flavor. As you savor these decadent chocolates, you become part of nature... Thank you for this wonderful blog - Eric Reid / CEO, SPAGnVOLA

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  3. I absolutely love chocolate, and I'm always trying new brands and varieties to find my perfect match. Recently, I've been trying out three different brands of dark chocolate that all have very similar cocoa solids content - between 65% and 70%. Even though the difference is only 5%, I can definitely taste the difference between them. One is much sweeter than the others, one has a richer flavor, and one is more mellow. I can't decide which one I like best!

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