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Best store-bought cocoa powder

b
bxgirl Apr 11, 2008 06:24 PM

I am planning to do a fair amount of baking for Passover and I did not get my act together in time to order Penzey's cocoa powder (which gets raves on this board).
What do you recommend as a good, store-bought brand of cocoa powder? It does not have to be Kosher for Passover. I can easily get to Fairway or Whole Foods, here in Manhattan, as well as the regular old supermarket.
Thank you so much.

  1. b
    btnfood Apr 11, 2008 08:03 PM

    It's probably the most common European cocoa on US grocery shelves, but I think Droste is a great product. It has a deep, rich flavor and color without tasting too burnt, as I've sometimes sensed with Valrhona cocoa. FWIW, I think it also certified as Kosher for Passover, so you can't really go wrong.

    1. Ora Apr 11, 2008 08:17 PM

      The Penzey's store in the Market @ Grand Central Terminal should be able to get this for you in time.

      1. a
        addicted2cake Apr 15, 2008 09:44 PM

        I'm a big fan of Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa powder. I use it all the time in chocolate cakes and frostings and it never disappoints. I get it at Whole Foods. I think it's Kosher Pareve. Haven't checked the label lately, but I'm pretty sure it's Kosher. Happy baking, happy Passover!

        1. f
          foodie06 Apr 16, 2008 07:02 AM

          I use either Ghiradelli or Scharfenberger

          1. j
            jazzy77 Apr 16, 2008 05:53 PM

            I would never say this for baking or eating chocolate, but I love to bake with Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa. I've tried Droste, Valrhona, Ghiradelli, and Scharfenberger and the I think that Hershey's has a clean, yet rich, chocolate flavor - which is what I want.

            5 Replies
            1. re: jazzy77
              j
              jsaimd Apr 16, 2008 06:46 PM

              That is my least favorite cocoa - it has no flavor IMO.

              I use Ghiradelli on a regular basis because I think it is fine for the price, but prefer others already mentioned.

              1. re: jsaimd
                j
                jazzy77 Apr 16, 2008 08:49 PM

                Yeah, it's funny, I was suprised that I prefer it, but I also think that Ghiradelli has no flavor, and I've won baking contests using Hershey's Cocoas, so it can't just be me.

                1. re: jazzy77
                  j
                  jsaimd Apr 16, 2008 09:10 PM

                  I don't mind the Hershey's natural (which I don't think exists anymore). I just really don't like the special dark. I should note though that I tend to eat the cocoa fairly straight up, mixed either in water for hot cocoa with very little sweetener or into plain yoghurt. I like my chocolate and i like it bitter/dark, so perhaps that disclaimer should be put into my comments! I do like other cocoas much better than Ghiradelli, but for the amount of cocoa we go through in this house, we stick with that on day to day use. I liked Dagoba when we had that - to name a new one.

                  1. re: jsaimd
                    j
                    jazzy77 Apr 17, 2008 09:23 AM

                    I like really dark chocolate too (think 85% Lindt bars), and find the fact that you mix it into plain yogurt fascinating. Do you sweeten the yogurt or anything?

                    1. re: jazzy77
                      j
                      jsaimd Apr 17, 2008 09:37 AM

                      For my kids and husband they put quite a bit of sweetener in it, probably 2 teaspoons for a generous cup. I use very little in mine, and usually agave because i really like the taste of it.

            2. sfumato Apr 17, 2008 09:57 AM

              I recommend Ghirardelli or Droste unsweetened cocoa powder, too. If you can find it, Dr. Oetker's makes good chocolate baking products- some regular supermarkets carry the brand.

              1. maria lorraine Apr 17, 2008 09:54 PM

                Valrhona, no question.

                It's a long drop to second place. The unbelievable aromatics alone
                take it to the top. It's quite a thrill to open the package and smell it -- unlike any other,
                and the flavor has more depth, complexity and power than any other brand.

                2 Replies
                1. re: maria lorraine
                  t
                  tomjay5 Mar 10, 2009 02:34 PM

                  I am coming in a year later here, but... I encourage those of you who say they love Valrhona cocoa powder to try a blind taste test. To me Valrhona doesn't just taste burnt, as somebody noted above -- it tastes like burned vegetables dried and then ground into a powder. I am starting to think that the Valrhona brand, at least on the evidence of the cocoa powder, is a very naked emperor.

                  1. re: tomjay5
                    f
                    fbf242 Mar 10, 2009 06:13 PM

                    I picked up some Valrhona cocoa today at Whole Foods, seduced by its a gorgeously deep color.

                    I just used some to make chocolate oatmeal (oatmeal with cocoa powder, sugar, a dash of cinnamon, and a dab of butter ... one of my favorite pseudo-desserts), and I have to say that I am disappointed in its flavor. The last cocoa I had was cheapo Nestle Tollhouse, and I am feeling like it actually might have tasted more chocolatey to me.

                    Of course, I didn't taste them side-by-side, and I'll have to bake with the Valrhona before jumping to any conclusions. Its color is beautiful, though!

                2. Karl S Mar 11, 2009 05:26 AM

                  Pernigotti (which is dutched cocoa).

                  1. a
                    Anna_Sankar Jul 13, 2010 12:27 PM

                    I know this is a SUPER late reply, but i LOVE, seriously LOVE Cocoa Camino's Unsweetened Cocoa powder. It's dutch processed and tastes and smells so much more rich and beautiful than other brands.. plus its Organic/Fair Trade too! Btw Cocoa Camino's Dark Chocolate bar is also deeeeeeeelish :D

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