Best High End Chocolate Bar
- Mike Mar 27, 2006 04:06 PM
Lindt?, Perugina?, Scharfenberger?, Jacques Torres?, etc. -- the list can go on and on!
Who makes the best chocolate bar (dark or milk)that I can buy in a supermarket/gourmet store?
The most expensive one would probably be the Amadei Chuao, which will set you back around $10 for a 1.75 oz. bar. "Best" is subjective; Amadei would have to compete with Domori, Michel Cluizel, Valhrona, el Rey, etc., not to mention some of its own other varietals (and the eccentric Amadei "9" blend).
I recently tried Pralus, one of their very dark chocolate bars. Like nothing I'd ever had before - intense, floral, winey, really sophisticated tasting. I tried hard not to eat it all at once, but that was impossible. I tried one of their milk chocolates, I wasn't as impressed but that dark one, wow!
Depends on where you live and how adventurous you want to get - supermarkets rarely carry the "highest-of-the-high" end - and then there's the 'Net.
You can't find them everywhere (Scharffen Berger is now owned by Hershey's, so it's gotta be in wider distribution), but try B. CASTELLAIN (Macaibo and Coffee-flavored), BONNAT and (if you get real lucky) UTOPIA...all French. Michel Cluizel rates and has definitely gone to a broader swath of retail lately.
Not the type of bars you'll want to polish off quickly.
One last note: VALRHONA sends quality bars to Trader Joe's and they're a great deal, especially the 71%.
Whole Foods is currently selling a 70% Colombian dark chocolate bar by Santander that I really like. The temper is a bit soft, but it has a very nice, mellow chocolate flavor without too much acid. As a very insightful poster on this board noted, it has a sort of marshmallow flavor that's really nice.
Otherwise, check out Trader Joe's. They have, as Mike R. pointed out, Vahlrona Noir Amer, and sometimes they carry the 70% Ecuadorian and/or Venezuelan chocolate bars by Chocovic, both of which are very good.
Fwiw, I think Scharfenberger is too acidic to make a good eating chocolate (though people tell me it's one of the best cooking chocolates around).
I agree that that's the right way to eat good chocolate; I just don't like the flavor of Sharffenberger. To me, it has an acidic aftertaste that I don't enjoy. But, this sort of thing totally subjective, and different people have different tastes.
Also, to complicate matters further, in my experience, many high-end chocolates are inconsistent over time. For example, I bought a quantity of the Domori Blend No. 1 from Chocosphere.com, and for a while it was my absolute favorite eating chocolate. Right before I ran out, I reordered, but the new stuff tasted different (and to my mind, not as good). I still had some of the old Blend No. 1 when the new arrived, so I was able to compare them directly, and no question, the flavor changed. I guess this shouldn't really be all that surprising. Cocoa beans are an agricultural product with flavor characteristics that vary with time, weather, location, and who knows what else.
Anyways, you're lucky if you enjoy Sharffenberger, because it's one of the few high-end chocolates that's relatively easy to find.