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Dark vs. Milk: Let the Battle Begin

Do you crave delicious, dark, bittersweet chocolate, or do you wimp out and eat chalky milk chocolate (deliberately provacative)?

Defend your viewpoint.

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  1. I enjoy both. Is that allowed?

    It all depends on what my tastebuds are in the mood for at the time.

    As a child, we were all confronted by the Hershey bars at the grocery checkout. They were the ultimate then.

    I still love the Toblerone that were sold at school fundraisers.

    A Russian friend turned me on to all the delicious dark chocolates with a glass of Port.

    It's chocolate. It's all good!

    I guess I'm defenseless, at least when it comes to chocolate.

    12 Replies
    1. re: justalex

      Justpaula stepping in here to totally agree with justalex. I love chocolate, almost any, and unless it is total crap I will be delighted to eat either dark or milk. However, I do lean towards dark and will prefer it if I am eating a chocolate bar or piece with other flavors (I.e. - mint, orange, coconut, raspberry). I have a soft spot for Cadbury Milk Chocolate Fruit and Nut bars and am fortunate to live in a part of NYC where I can easily obtain the ones imported from the UK instead of settling for the ones produced by Hershey' s that are found all over the U.S.

      Interestingly, just yesterday I watched an episode of ATK/Cooks Country on which the taste test segment was dedicated to milk chocolate bars. The losers were the obvious choices (Hershey' s and Nestle), the audience had selected a Dove bar as their favorite, but the test kitchen winner was a brand I had never heard of: Endangered Species. It intrigued me because it is a milk chocolate, but it has a 48% cacao content - which I believe is nearly double the amount in most milk chocolate. Sounds wonderful to me! On the expensive side, but I deserve a treat...and thanks to Amazon Prime's free two day shipping, it will be in my hands by Thursday.


      1. re: Justpaula

        ". . . it has a 48% cacao content - which I believe is nearly double the amount in most milk chocolate."

        It more like four times as much, compared to mass market milk chocolate. A Hershey bar contains 11% cacao, only 1% above the FDA's required minimum of 10%. Basically, you are eating sugar with a little chocolate thrown in.

        At the other end of the scale, Bonnat in France makes milk chocolate bars with 65% cacao. That's the highest amount I know of. It's as high as, or higher than, many dark chocolate bars.

        I confess to a preference for dark chocolate in the 70-80% range, but also enjoy a well made milk chocolate that is not too "burnt caramelly"--a fairly common defect that comes from cooking the milk.

        1. re: cheesemaestro

          Wow! Thanks for that info, I hadn't realized that most milk chocolate had such little cacao content, making the Endangered Species 48% sound more intriguing to me (can't wait to receive the package of twelve, yes twelve, bar package I ordered).

          So, as I mentioned before, I lean towards dark, but there is something to be said for the comforting, creamy, mouth-feel of a decent milk chocolate.

          1. re: cheesemaestro

            I'm usually a 70%+ dark chocolate kind of guy, but I do enjoy the smoothness of milk chocolate so the 65% Bonnat bars are intriguing... But I just Googled around and found them selling for $10+ each. Any idea on whether they can be had at a slightly lower price?

            1. re: davis_sq_pro

              Around $10 seems to be the going price, but I would take a look at the two big online chocolate sites: Chocosphere on the west coast and World Wide Chocolate on the east coast. WWC has a special on all Bonnat bars through Tuesday (Feb. 12) for $8.00 a bar (normally $10), while Chocosphere's regular price is $8.45. Each organization has an extensive selection, and ordering from either is a great way to explore different bars. If you buy a variety, rather than just a couple of bars, the shipping cost isn't prohibitive. If you live on or near the east coast, shipping by ground will probably be cheaper from WWC, but this may be cancelled out by WWC's overall higher prices. Chocosphere has better information on its web site about the producers, their bars and flavor profiles than WWC.

              I also like Michel Cluizel's milk chocolate bars, which, however, have a lower cacao content, in the 47%-50% range. For that matter, I really like Cluizel's dark chocolate bars, including, if you're inclined to go all the way, the Noir Infini bar, which is a 99% bar, and, as such, might not be to your taste..

          2. re: Justpaula

            hmmm... seems I might have seen this brand at whole foods?

            1. re: Justpaula

              Our co-ops and natural foods stores carry this brand.

              1. re: Justpaula

                My regular grocery store carries Endangered chocolates, so I grabbed a bar of their 48% milk the other day. Wow. It has the nice creamy texture of really good milk chocolate, but a much more intense chocolate flavor.

                1. re: mpjmph

                  Wow, is right. I finally tried it and I also really enjoy the intense dark chocolate flavor - not intense for those who prefer 70% + cacao, but very strong nonetheless. Combined with the creaminess of a milk chocolate, a snappy creaminess though, this bar really hits the spot of my chocolate happiness. I have eleven bars left. Must. Have. Restraint.

                  Since I am still in baking mode, I am thinking I may chop some up for a recipe instead of eating them all out of hand.

                  1. re: Justpaula

                    Me, three. It's my favorite milk and is great in that "Ultimate Hot Chocolate" recipe and its variants that's on Chow.

                2. re: Justpaula

                  I got a bar of the Endangered Species milk chocolate in the organic section of Kroger today.
                  Since I've been nibbling on Christmas cookies all day, I'm saving the chocolate for after dinner when my mouth isn't having a sugar overload.
                  I am very curious!

                  1. re: jmcarthur8

                    Me too! I received my twelve-bar pack from Amazon today, and upon opening it, I explained to my DH the discussion here - and reminded him of the taste test we saw last weekend on ATK/Cooks Country. His immediate reply to the milk v. dark question was "milk all the way!", while my preference is towards dark (although I like milk too.....I mean, hey, if it is chocolate I like it). But, he is equally intrigued by the high cacao content in the Endangered Species Milk Chocolate. Planning on ripping one open before the night is through (I am also knee deep in Christmas cookies).

              2. What battle?

                Neither is a substitute for the other. Each has its unique role and place in the culinary tableau.

                When I want or need dark and don't have it, my first impulse is not to reach for milk. My first and perhaps only impulse is to go get some dark. And vice versa.

                If the question is given the choice which one would you rather have one bite of? If that was the case I would abstain and just walk away.

                1. My favorite is a strawberry dipped in white chocolate, then dark chocolate, then milk chocolate. In that order.

                  1. I'm bi-choc-u-al. I even experiment with white chocoloate at times. Different moods, different chocolate.

                    Why are you eating such shitty milk choc that it's chalky? Seriously, I tend to find it rather smooth.

                    1. I'm not a choc-aholic, but do prefer dark over milk.

                      1. If its American chocolate - no offense anyone, but neither.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: reneeglass

                          E.Guittard makes very good chocolate.

                          I prefer 70% dark chocolate for eating.

                        2. ( just to fan the flames) why not add to white chocolate into the mix?

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: PotatoHouse

                            white chocolate IS NOT chocolate.

                            I prefer dark chocolate

                            1. re: PotatoHouse

                              It's not technically chocolate, though.

                              "White chocolate" is a misnomer in pure culinary sense.

                              1. Bittersweet whenever possible. Add nuts and it is even better. Hate Swiss milk chocolate.

                                1. I eat and enjoy both, as long as they're high quality. I'm not wasting the carbs on Hershey. I tend to prefer dark chocolate for truffles, eating straight up, and with specific fillings/flavors (mint, fruit, coconut). I prefer it in the 75-85% cacao range. However, for other fillings/flavors (caramel, peanut butter, salt), I like milk or semi-sweet chocolate, again with a higher proportion of cacao (40-60% is good).

                                  1. i grew up a Hershey's girl - all the way - I've now seen the error of my ways... and gravitate to at least slightly better brands. :) I keep bags of Dove chocolate bites around all the time to satisfy immediate chocolate needs, love cadburys and ritter bars.
                                    While I eat most kinds of chocolate, I prefer milk, and don't care for the really dark darks. This works out well, DH is a huge fan of super dark chocolate.

                                    1. Dark chocolate almost exclusively. Exception: M&Ms. Bonus: eating just a little bit tastes so luxurious and satisfying, I'm rarely tempted to overindulge.

                                      1. 70% cocoa solids for me.

                                        I've not seen the point of milk chocolate since I was child.

                                        1. Dark chocolate only for me. I don't like the taste the other leaves in my mouth. Maybe it's my lactose intolerance.

                                          1. Another bi-chocolater here. Hell, give me a Hershey bar, I'll eat it. When I was a kid I'd snitch chunks of unsweetened cooking chocolate and nibble on them for a week; my first major non-native chocolate discovery was the Van Houten Orange chocolate bars, and Cadbury's Caramello was pretty damn fine too. As for that white stuff, I would not eat any by itself, but I like the chunks in those macadamia cookies.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Will Owen

                                              I have to admit that my favorite of the Lindt balls are the white chocolate ones.

                                              1. re: Justpaula

                                                Mine are the peanut butter ones and the stracciatella ones!

                                            2. Dark chocolate for me....

                                              Don't know why, but the only over the counter candy bar I love is a Twix, milk chocolate and all...... I never buy it though.


                                              1. Dark please. Although reading through the other responses I realize that I will sometimes eat some milk chocolate. The issue is the sweetness -- and I do have a huge sweet tooth -- but I find Hershey milk just too cloyingly sweet for me.

                                                I will eat M&Ms/Reese's Pieces without complaining but given my choice I will reach for the dark chocolate everytime.

                                                1. I'll eat the occasional dark or bittersweet, but chances are I won't enjoy it. Far too bitter for my palate. Milk all the way!

                                                  1. Like both (although really don't like super dark). I pretty much will eat any chocolate in any form OTHER than fruit or liquor filled truffles. Really don't like those at all. I think I prefer dark chocolate truffles, but milk chocolate when it's "plain."

                                                    I'm also not picky on brands. I have to confess to loving Russell Stover (except those darned ones with the pink nutty stuff in the middle and the orange cream ones) as well as the high end brands...

                                                    1. Endangered Species was a small company here in my small town of Talent in Southern Oregon. Owner was my daughter's Volleyball coach. He sold out to other folks
                                                      and they moved everything lock, stock, and barrel to Indiana.
                                                      Here's a nifty bar from a company that is still local, Lilliebelle.
                                                      Chocolate and Chile.
                                                      Can't beat it.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: bbqboy

                                                        Well, respectfully....local to *you*.

                                                        1. re: Justpaula

                                                          Local in that their farm where the berries grow to wonderfulness is located here, along with their chocolate "factory", located smack next door to Rogue Creamery,
                                                          where they turn out their delicious goods. They have started distributing to a few select retail outlets around the globe, including this intriguing shoe/chocolate store in Baltimore-

                                                          They were entirely mail order or walk in previously.

                                                          On tonight's local news:
                                                          Dagoba is still made in Ashland but was bought by Hershey a few years back.
                                                          Not sure why we attracted so many chocolate artisans in the last 20 years.

                                                      2. Neither for me. I'm probably the minority, but I just don't care for chocolate. The only time ill go for a bite is if I want something sweet and there's nothing else. But always milk chocolate. Dark chocolate = shudder

                                                        1. Dark. Always, the darker the better. Not a big chocoholic but if Almond Joy had dark chocolate it would be the perfect food. Only if it had more amonds on top.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: EWSflash

                                                            I have always felt that we were somehow being cheated by not getting to have dark chocolate AND almonds with our coconut, hee, hee!

                                                            1. re: EWSflash

                                                              hmmm. I'd swear those really do exist. Or at least did in a limited edition.

                                                            2. If I want chocolate, I eat chocolate with ~90% cocoa solids. If I want a sugar hit, I eat white chocolate or dark chocolate with a lower proportion of cocoa solids. There is no complexity and it is excessively sweet to me, but that's personal preference. Eat whatever makes you happy.

                                                              1. While I enjoy both and buy both, I will spare you the pain of a non-answer. I prefer dark chocolate. As for why, I can ensure you that I can give you a 15 points arguments for the dark, but ultimately it is simply because I enjoy one over the other.

                                                                1. Why do you say milk chocolate is "chalky"? It can be absolutely smooth.
                                                                  Personally, I prefer milk chocolate. But, I totally respect dark chocolate. Just a subjective taste thing!

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Wawsanham

                                                                    I would say that my word choice of "chalky" was probably not perfect; it was in reference to the taste rather than the texture.

                                                                  2. I have read that with chocolate, the percentage of chocolate liquor in the end product is not necessarily proportionate to the amount of sugar in it. Different brands that are all, say, 60%, can have different amounts of sugar.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                      True up to a point. It's also true that they can have different amounts of cocoa solids, since the percentage is the sum of the cocoa solids (what gives the product its chocolatey flavor) and cocoa butter. Thus one 60% bar may have more cocoa solids and less cocoa butter than another (or vice-versa).

                                                                    2. I really really love to pop a Dove Promise milk chocolate in my mouth and just let it dissolve in the roof of my mouth.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                        Seriously agree. Better than a live reading of "50 Shades of Grey". ;)

                                                                        1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                                          My coworker gave me a copy of that last week. I haven't started it yet, but maybe I should get some Dove Promises and double my fun.

                                                                      2. Go to Aldi. Buy unsweetened chocolate squares. Melt with a sweeter (honey or maple syrup) and a pinch of salt. Wait for it to cool and mature a few hours. Eat with a baked apple. Or a ripe raw banana.
                                                                        This chocolate comes out darker and less sweet than anything in stores

                                                                        1. Milk chocolate is faster. Dark chocolate is longer.

                                                                          1. I use chocolate primarily for baking, and I prefer the dark bittersweet chocolate chips, because they are a nice counterpoint to a sweet cookie dough.

                                                                            1. Dark only. And as someone else already posted - the darker the better. I find milk (& "white") chocolate too sweet & on the insipid side.

                                                                              1. I've always preferred dark chocolate simply because I like it better. I keep a 85% Lindt bar for my nibbling pleasure in my fridge at all times. I am fortunate that my local Grocery Outlet stocks them for $1.99.

                                                                                1. Mr. RNR recently brought out a dish from the pantry that had about 15 dark chocolate bars with one or two pieces out of them at the most. I have to confess that I just don't like it, and after one piece I put it away because I don't want anymore. Then I see a bar in the store that looks good, buy it and repeat all over again. I just keep buying it because I'm SUPPOSED to like it, because it's proper and not pedestrian and good for you in a way that milk chocolate isn't.

                                                                                  But you know what? I don't like it. I quit buying those bars.

                                                                                  1. Both.
                                                                                    It's kind of like asking "red or white?"(wine).
                                                                                    Both have their appropriate usage.

                                                                                    1. Both. But never white.

                                                                                      1. I prefer dark chocolate. Aldi sells a decent sized dark chocolate bar for $1.49 (I think). I'm currently in Arizona and discovered that Fresh & Easy has a package of three dark chocolate bars made in Belgium (about 1.75 ounces each) on sale for .99 cents. I just cannot go back to Hersey's chocolate.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                          The Aldi nearest to me was just selling the organic Green & Black bars for $2.49! Dark and milk w/ almonds. Who knows how and why they got a supply in, but I know that's a great price for Green & Black.

                                                                                        2. I'm not a fan of chocolate for its own sake. Like others here, I see the merits of different types of chocolate when combined with other flavors. As I age I'm losing my sweet tooth altogether, but when younger a favorite confection was a dark chocolate truffle blanketed in white chocolate then rolled in coconut. White chocolate also goes well with tart strawberries, so does dark chocolate. I do occasionally enjoy Lindt dark chocolate bars with orange filling, but once a year at Christmas I'm irresistibly drawn to buy and eat a box of Queen Anne milk chocolate covered cordial cherries, cheap and so, so sweet but it's a sentimental splurge. I still like chocolate covered almonds, either milk or dark. A small square of very bitter dark chocolate is actually pretty good with a glass of rich red wine. And so on.

                                                                                          Just don't get me started on apples. I'm fiercely partisan to my favorite variety of apple. Chocolate, meh. SO's the chocoholic.

                                                                                          1. I never really thought about it. I guess I like the flavor of chocolate, and dark chocolate tastes more like chocolate than milk chocolate.

                                                                                            1. Dark. Of course.
                                                                                              Doesn't everyone?
                                                                                              Only a true chocoholic goes for dark.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                Too narrow for me. I like both; it depends on my mood.