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Valrhona v. Michel Cluizel v. Scharffen Berger Chocolate

For eating, I think I like Michel Cluizel better. For cooking, I prefer Scharffen Berger. Any thoughts? Any other contenders?

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  1. Ooo, Michel Cluizel is my current fav (I was on a Ghana chocolate kick for a while, but Cluizel's chocolate has the same intensity but with more flavor subtleties and finish).

    This is the site I usually get it from. Is there a better (or less expensive) source anyone knows of?


    1. I haven't found a Valhrona bar that I love to eat. I think it's the texture of the bars that I dislike as much as the flavor.

      I'll eat both Cluizel and Scharffenberger happily, but the Cluizel tends to be more complex and there's a larger variety of bars.

      1. Michel Cluizel 72% has long been my favorite. Whole Foods used to carry it for about $4.25 a bar, but it's been a long time since I've seen it there.

        1. I like Scharffen Berger's 85% and lower. Valhorna's darks are bittersweet-tooth-satisfying, too.

          Whole foods offers a wide variety of darks. I like to get the endangered animals species, just knowing that some of the money I spend on it is doing some good. :-)

          Those gold nugget bars are really rich, and I often find Lake Champlain chocolates don't have the "oomph" in a satisfying dark truffle. Although they do have variations with sea salt on them.

          1. I really love the wine notes in Schrafenberger and i almost always bake with it.

            1. I think Scharffen Berger makes a superior baking chocolate, but is almost inedible as a "hand bar". I eat it. I think "sour" and then whatever else it is that I think when I eat chocolate.

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              1. I'm not a fan of the standard Schaffern Berger choc -- they lack structure -- the fruitty notes turn into a rather acidic finish. MIche Cluziel's great, enjoyed a few of their single plantations bars. Valrhona an excellent go-to chocoate for me -- lovely aroma, great balance of flavours.

                1. I wouldn't put Scharffen Berger in the same league as the other two, at least for eating from hand. They seem to under-roast everything. I think the only American chocolate maker that has the go-for-broke mentality of Cluizel and the Italian greats Amadei and Domori is Dagoba. Valhrona also suffers from timidity, IMHO, though at least they fully roast their beans.

                  1. You all might find this Salon article entitled the "Sweet Smell of Snobbery" amusing (whether you agree with it or not!): http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2006.... I had to laugh when I read it after sending my friends zchocolat.com's single origin tasting sampler for Christmas: a bunch of little squares of chocolate, each made from cocoas from a single country, allowing you to have a "chocolate tasting". (Have any of you ever held a chocolate tasting? I think it would be fun, though I'm not sure how much chocolate one could reasonably taste in an evening. :-)