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Do you eat dark chocolate?

lately, i've been trying to eat dark chocolate in place of milk because of the health benefits. Does anyone have any reccommendations on tasty brands...also how much of this stuff can you eat at one sitting? lol

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  1. I never touch milk chocolate anymore, too cloying and sugary for my tastes. The darker the better for me. Kind of like a fine wine. I prefer the higher end brands, I'm very partial to Pralus, it's very expensive. You can get it at Chefshop.com - comes in varying degrees of cocoa percentages:

    http://chefshop.com/items.asp?Cc=Pral...

    I don't eat a lot of it, I don't have much of a sweet tooth, so if I splurge now and then, I don't feel too bad. But I'm also not so high and mighty that I can't enjoy a Hershey's dark bar too.

    BTW, I can eat a lot of it when I'm in the mood. A lot. I've been known to polish off a decent sized bar. But, usually, a couple of pieces will do the trick to satisfy my craving - I do have self-editing ability :-)

    2 Replies
    1. re: sivyaleah

      milk chocolate doesn't neccesarily mean sweet. Obviously they are often sweet, but there are some semi-sweet milk chocolates out there. There are also very sweet darks. I like it really dark, with very little sugar. The lindt 85 percent is my kind of chocolate for a bed-time snack.

      1. re: amkirkland

        True - I enjoy semi-sweet at times too - but prefer darks with less sugar, overall.

    2. I went through a lot of dark chocolate bars last year ... over 60 % ... and yes, there was some interesting stuff out there ... sort of ... but there is not one that stands out in my mind.

      Currently Hersey's is making some premium chocolate bars which ... for the price ... are good. They are not as complex as some of the pricery dark chocolate, but they are respectable.
      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/359138

      No matter what you choose ... READ THE INGREDIANTS !!!

      You'd be surprised what some of those upscale chocolates will put in the bar. You want cocoa & sugar ... period. At most a little lecitin.

      It is flavored ... but I really also like the organic Dagoba laveder & blueberry $2.79

      I eat one ounce when I'm eating bars. Makes a nice late night snack.

      I'm getting my chocolate fix lately by adding a heaping tablespoon of Hershey's cocoa to my coffee in the morning ... gives a nice mocha flavor and since I don't put sugar in my coffee ... I get the chocolate benefit ... if there is one ... without the sugar.

      1 Reply
      1. re: rworange

        That's an interesting tip about the coffee. I don't use sugar in mine either and it never occurred to me to add the cocoa. I like the idea - I think I'll have to give it a try, I have Valhrona in the house.

        Oh and I think the Hersheys is pretty ok for a low end chocolate too (price-wise). I was rather surprised how much I enjoyed it.

      2. I like Dark Chocolate a lot. I have some 70% bars in my freezer from Lindt. I break off a square every now and then to eat. My 5 year old nephew loves the stuff!

        1. I'm a huge fan of Shefferin Berger (sp?). It's really unusually good. I made my Christmas cookies with their cocoa and their bars this year and everyone universally raved about the taste. Please try!

          1. I prefer darker chocolate - 65% or higher. A little piece or two makes a great treat when I'm craving chocolate. I try to pick up an assortment of bars when I'm at Whole Foods or Trader Joes - so nothing specific to recommend. Just sample some different percentages of cacao and decide what suites your palate.

                1. I like Ghiradelli 60% Cacao Chocolate Squares. Also, Godiva raspberry-filled dark chocolate bars (no hissing, please) and Chocolove dark chocolate with crystallized ginger.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: lvecch

                    I'm not a Godiva fan generally, but those raspberry dark chocolate bars are good!

                    If you're just starting to eat dark chocolate, then you should ease yourself into it with some bars in the 60 percent range. Personally, I don't like ultra-high cocoa solids chocolates very much. They tend to not only be bitter (some people, including me, are more sensitive to bitter than others), but also dry. A creamy mouthfeel is one of the things I enjoy most about chocolate.

                    I've been singing the praises of the Vintage Plantations line (their 65% is just about perfect to my taste), but I don't know how easy it is to come by in your area.

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                      Ruth, where are you buying the Vintage Plantation 65% chocolate bars at? I'll check it out if it's in the City somewhere.

                      1. re: hhc

                        I buy them at Alameda Natural Grocery, but Gary Soup just posted that Cost Plus World Market is carrying Vintage Plantations.

                  2. The first time my "chocoholic" co-worker tried my Lindt 85% cocoa bar, she almost spat it out! "Why does it have to be so bitter!" I don't find them bitter at all, just "not sweet", which is great. I just have 1 square and let it melt in my mouth. Which reminds me, time for my ration now!

                    1. 70-85% for me and I eat it daily but only a square or two. I buy the imported stuff but I was quite pleasantly surprised by the new line from Hershey's that is made for them in places like Germany. That one was an Aftican grown chocolate and was very good.

                      1. Yes - I like the Lindt (70%) - that or tiny cup of hot chocolate helps with the after dinner dessert/ice cream cravings.

                        1. Yes, I've been buying Fair Trade organic very dark chocolate from our church...I think the cocoa content is 73% and it's from Germany...costs $2.50 for a 6 or 8 ounce bar and I only need a little square to satisfy me, it's very intense.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Val

                            that's incredible, how could i get ahold of some of that?

                            1. re: amkirkland

                              Fair Trade chocolate are you asking about? Our church orders it through the Presbyterian program for fairly traded goods, coffee, tea and chocolate. Lots of other churches participate but I don't know which ones. We've had visitors from California and other places say "Wow, we'll look for this back home at our local churches." I do know that some health food stores sell fair trade coffees and they might now also sell fair trade chocolate, too. I think you'd have to check around in your area.

                          2. I eat all chocolate... though not so much milk anymore. I currently have 3 bittersweets (60%, 63% and 70%) from different companies as I was doing a bit of a taste test, a big block of semi-sweet and a big block of milk.

                            Odkaty - Have you (or anyone else for that matter) had the big bar of bittersweet from trader joe's? I'm going to be making a large amount of truffles soon and I'm trying to find the best bang for the buck in chocolate. That thing surely would fit the bill, pricewise. I just don't know if it's going to live up to my nitpicky requirements.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: annimal

                              The pound-plus bars from TJ's are quite good -- they're made in Belgium (rumor says by Callebaut). I personally like the bittersweet better than the 70 percent (see my comments about high cocoa solids chocolates, above).

                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                I keep a bar of Pound Plus around for all my baking needs. It's head and shoulders better than Nestle of Ghiardelli, or anything you'd easily find at a megachain supermarket.

                                If you're making a LOT, they have 10 lb bars for $30! Incredible deal, and I keep wondering if I need to buy one just to have a photo of me holding that much chocolate in the form of a single bar.

                                I agree with others that around 75% tastes best for eating out of the wrapper, give or take 10% depending on the brand.

                                1. re: Pei

                                  Good to know, I'm making chocolates for a fundraiser and I don't want to go broke buying supplies then having to charge seemingly absurd prices to make up for it. Won't raise anything that way.

                                2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                  I actually find the Trader Joe's Pound Plus bittersweet delicious to eat by itself... perhaps because I don't actually use chocolate to make anything. But surely it's great to use in recipes as well!

                              2. I abhorred dark chocolate until recently (the last year or so). I don't know why I started liking it all of a sudden. Now I buy whatever looks good when I'm at Whole Foods. My favorite is Raspberries in Dark Chocolate by Chocolove.

                                 
                                1. Yes and how!

                                  Tried and true, Valrhona "Le Noir Amer" 71% cacao is in my cupboard currently but I try all sorts of dark chocolate. Sharffen Berger, Bonnard, Lindt and so many others are premium purveyors of delicious dark chocolate. If you're into organics, Dagoba makes organic, premium chocolate.
                                  In addition to the brands listed above, I enjoy Toblerone dark, mainly because it has tiny chips of nougat in it and the triangle pieces have amused me since I was a chocolate loving child.
                                  I tend to try anything I find at Trader Joe's that looks interesting, including some of their house brands that can be quite good and easy on the budget.

                                  Chocosphere.com is an awesome website for chocophiles and if you are really interested in chocolate, there is a Dallas food blogger who has written an expose of NoKa, a Dallas chocolatier that charges hundreds of dollars per pound. It has been getting lots of people wound up on the web and has loads of info about the chocolate industry. Check it out at:
                                  http://www.dallasfood.org/modules.php...

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: bodie

                                    Actually, that blogger posted his story here, there was some good discussion surrounding it. I'm sure you can find the thread through the search.

                                    1. re: bodie

                                      That's a fascinating story about NoKa, thanks for the link. I can't belive those prices!

                                    2. My absolute favorite is the 70% Dark from Green & Black. I've tried other brands, and they just don't measure up.

                                      The ingredients are Organic Cocoa Mass, Organic Raw Cane Sugar, Organic Cocoa Butter, Emulsifier: Soya Lecithin, Organic Vanilla Extract

                                      I especially love that it's dairy-free!!

                                      http://www.greenandblacks.com/uk/prod...

                                       
                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: okaythen

                                        My friend isn't really a chocolate fan, and even she goes gaga over that bar. She e-mailed me the first time she bought it and said "I admit it, maybe I do like chocolate. But only really good chocolate." Thanks for reminding me I still need to give it a try.

                                      2. You may all laugh, but I recently had a toblerone dark choc bar lately and it was pretty tasty. All I needed to satiate my craving was 1 segment.

                                        1. Go with Scharffenberger Chocolate (www.scharffenberger.com). This is really great stuff.

                                          1. I've never been a fan of milk chocolate. I always have a square or 2, sometimes 3 of Lindt's 70% every day. It's my bargain fix.

                                            1. my god yes - every day!

                                              I like Dagoba 74% new moon and the eclipse 87%

                                              Killer....

                                              1. Endangered Species for me. (http://www.chocolatebar.com) The 88% Black Panther.

                                                Another fun "chocolate porn" site is www.worldwidechocolate.com

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: misterbrucie

                                                  I second the Black Panther bar and also the Tiger bar, 70% with expresso beans. These are fair trade chocolates with a protion of the proceeds going to support wildlife causes. Kind of like having your cake (or chocolate) and eating it too.

                                                2. I like Poulain 76%. I find 85% (like the lindt that's so popular) is just too bitter. 76% (for my tastebuds) is perfect. It rocks with a little espresso.

                                                  I generally wouldn't have more than 2-3 squares (20-30g) at a time, but more likely 1 square. It's so rich and satisfying.

                                                  I made an amazing dark chocolate dessert (with Poulain chocolate) for the Chocolate Sugar High Friday hosted by David Lebovitz last month. :)

                                                  http://definitelynotmartha.blogspot.c...

                                                  I do sometimes enjoy milk chocolate, but dark is so much more intense. I can't eat cheap chocolate any more though.....it tastes just gross to me.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: mrbunsrocks

                                                    FWIW, when I first tried the 88% Black Panther, I had to look at the label again because I thought I had bought 70% by mistake. Much easier on the taste buds (mine, anyway) than comparable Dagoba or Lindt chocolate. (Now I have a stockpile of them in my basement -- if bird flu strikes my town, I'll be OK for awhile :-D )

                                                  2. I really like michael cluizel and michael recchiuti(85%). Valrhona 71% is good also,but the 85% was too bitter.

                                                    1. From what I have read, the health benefits of cocoa are mostly outweighed by the presence of cocoa butter and sugar in chocolate. Many people prefer the taste of dark chocolate, since milk chocolate has been dumbed down so much to meet mass market tastes (like white bread). However, I have had both taste terrible and vice-versa. The milk chocolate from Scharffen Berger will make your taste buds very happy; I also love their dark chocolate.

                                                      Essentially, only pure cocoa without sugar or fat is healthy - so go with what tastes good. High quality milk and dark chocolate are both excellent, but they have different tastes.

                                                      8 Replies
                                                      1. re: Sacto_Damkier

                                                        From what I've read, the fat in cocoa butter is a "heathy" fat that does not raise (and might lower) your cholesterol. Suger is not in and of itself unhealthy, although too much sugar (like too much of anything) is. What I'm not sure about is whether the health benefits of chocolate are really significant in the amount of chocolate that could be included in a healthy diet. But the original poster was replacing milk chocolate with dark chocolate, which seems to be a healthier choice.

                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                          most likely, but lots of darks are also filled with sugar... like dove dark.

                                                          1. re: amkirkland

                                                            Did you miss where I said "sugar is not unhealthy in and of itself"?

                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                              Sorry, it seems I jumped to conclusions, and was unclear. Why is it that you say that dark chocolate "seems to be a healthier choice."

                                                              If it's healther because of having a greater ratio of cocoa to other, then my point was supposed to be that some darks are loaded with sugar, thus dropping that ratio. Whereas some milk chocolates may have just as high of a cocoa to other stuff ratio. So, I wasn't really meaning to address the sugar, but what gets removed when sugar is added.

                                                              1. re: amkirkland

                                                                Good point -- it's the amount of cocoa solids that makes a difference. But I'm guessing that even mass market "dark sweet" chocolate has more cocoa solids that mass market milk chocolate, which has both sugar and milk added to it. That said, there's a growning number of high-cocoa solids milk chocolates coming onto the market. Michael Recchuitti makes a 55% cocoa solids milk chocolate, and there are others.

                                                          2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                            It is about the amount of calories in such a dense food. Chocolate can be a part of a healthy diet if substituted for something else. Cocoa butter is likely a good fat and sugar is perfectly health for most people, but eating enough chocolate to obtain the benefits of the cocoa will likely cause other problems due to excess sugar and/or fat consumption. It is an excellent treat, but there are far better health foods. Eat dark chocolate because it tastes good, not just because it is slightly healthier than milk chocolate.

                                                            1. re: Sacto_Damkier

                                                              As I said earlier, add a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa to a pot of coffee ... chocolate benefit, if any the only sugar or fat depends on how much milk & sweetener you add to the coffee. Makes a nice mocha.

                                                              1. re: rworange

                                                                We have a "poor man's mocha" recipe in our work break room: mix the coffee with a packet of instant hot chocolate mix. It is not great, but worth the price. Peets was selling a mocha set including the Scharffen Berger cocoa powder which I have been using similar to your suggestion. It combines the AOX in the cocoa and coffee - very similar plants.

                                                        2. I like the Lindt dark chocolates and they are easy to find. I just enjoyed a square of the intense mint. I also love the intense orange and the intense pair. I like the 70% dark, but I find the 85% to be far to bitter for my tastes.

                                                          Whenever I buy truffles, I always get dark ones too. But I tend to always like my dark chocolate flavored with something: raspberry, coffee, tea, other fruits.

                                                          As far as buying truffles, I recently bought from Hauser Chocolates http://www.hauserchocolates.com/eoneC... and I loved that I got to choose all the flavors I wanted to be packed into the box.

                                                          Another great dark chocolate truffle is the Lake Champlain Small World chocolates (Lemon Ginger, Chai, Molé, Pistachio, and Mango) and I liked them a lot too!

                                                          On a trip to Whole Foods a couple weeks ago (they are not local for me), I got a Dagoba Lime bar, and I was disappointed. It wasn't creamy and it didn't taste like lime.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: puppymomma

                                                            I'm going to update my post from yesterday. I've been nibbling on the Dagoba Lime bar, and the more I had, the more I began to like it. The flavor of lime is very light. I wish it were stronger, and my first impression was poor because of that, but I appreciate the chocolate bar more now. I might even get it again.

                                                          2. Nestle has come out with Dark Chocolate Raisinettes. Yummy!

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Scagnetti

                                                              Trader Joe's has wonderful dark chocolate covered raisins.

                                                            2. The Lindt 74% bar is pretty good (I don't eat a whole lot of chocolate, but I tend toward something like that when I do) but i found Dagoba's Xocolatl bar (74% with cacao nibs and chile) disappointing, mostly because the "heat" was very inconsistient. Are there any other bars out there with nibs included? I found the contrast of texture interesting, but that one just doesn't work for me.

                                                              1. Nestle's Crunch and Kit-Kat's - plain and simple - 80 cents each from the newstand...my life is simple, and so is my chocolate ...

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: seang11

                                                                  I have to admit that while I almost never eat milk chocolate anymore, I have quite a softspot for those KitKats :-) Goes back to my childhood memories.

                                                                  1. re: sivyaleah

                                                                    Mine too...I remember eating Kit Kats in grade school - 30 years ago...

                                                                    1. re: sivyaleah

                                                                      Mmmmm, Kit-Kat... well let's be honest, nostalgia is exempt from the usual quality requirements.

                                                                      Reese's Cups = I'm 8 years old and life is good.

                                                                      Now I'm 42 and life needs more than a Reese's Cup. But 72% Guittard dipped in organic peanut butter = life is still good. More complicated, but still good.

                                                                  2. My favorite chocolate bars are from Michel Cluizel -- the 60% and 72% are nice blends, and I also like their single origin bars. The downside is that they are pretty expensive, so my "cheap" (relatively) option is the Valrhona "Le Noir Amer" 71% from Trader Joe's.

                                                                    Here's a site with lots of reviews of dark chocolate bars: http://www.seventypercent.com/chocop/

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: nonaggie

                                                                      Valrhona isn't really a cheap chocolate if you buy it at Williams Sonoma. Trader Joe's and World Market have it for reasonable prices.

                                                                    2. A friend gave me some Venchi 75% bars from Italy, and it is the best chocolate I have ever tasted (and I used to be a sales rep in the chocolate business). Incredibly rich and smooth.

                                                                      1. I've become addicted to the Perugina dark chocolate- although it's more a semi-sweet. Get the one with almonds and you get the benefits of those too :)
                                                                        Another new-ish one that surprised me was the Ghirardelli Orange Sunset bar (72%, I believe). I'm not usually a fan of the orange chocolate combo (memories of those bizarre chocolate "oranges"...), but tried one and wow! Slightly chewy, dried(?) bits of orange and tiny toffee crumbles- so good!

                                                                        1. currently on-hand:

                                                                          from TJs:
                                                                          Valrhona: 85 and (for friends at work) 75
                                                                          you sometimes have to check the expiration date. I've had ones that must've been sitting around for a while, as they were a month away from expiration upon purchase.

                                                                          from Chocosphere:
                                                                          Pralus: various, from a "stack"
                                                                          Domori: red line items
                                                                          Venchi: pistacchio cubigusto, crema cuor di cocoa

                                                                          I also sometimes like Cafe Tasse (it has an awesome shop in Brussels with great service), Dolfin, and Dagoba (the lavender-_ bar).

                                                                          If they happen to be on sale, I'll buy ScharffenBerger, Green & Blacks, Dagoba, Lindt, and Chocolove. I've even tried the newer, darket Hershey's, and as long as I have them without anything to drink (which hardens the emulsifiers so one's able to taste and feel them), I honestly don't think they're much worse than the others.

                                                                          So the answer to your question is an unequivocal YES.

                                                                          1. Scharffen Berger. Hands down. DELICIOUS. And, most of their darks are non dairy and have a kosher certification. which means i can use them in deserts and serve after a meat meal! YUM

                                                                            1. Here are my top...

                                                                              Guittard
                                                                              Amano
                                                                              Scharffen Berger
                                                                              Valrhona
                                                                              Amedei

                                                                              Great brands...

                                                                              -Chocolate Connoisseur

                                                                              1. I can be a bit of a food snob at times but I must say I love chocolate-covered cherries. Oh man I don't know why . . . they are . . . too sugary, too sweet, too messy, too pedestrian (OK there I've said it), but man, I just love them!

                                                                                1. Haha...Are you a cherry Cordial fan(liquid center) or just staight chocolate covered cherries? I love cherry cordials! one of my favorite types of chocolates...

                                                                                  Chocolate Connoisseur