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BDuncan

What's your favorite chocolate, and why?

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At the moment, I'm in love with Ghirardelli Squares, various kinds (though I've been working my way through a Peppermint Bark pack since Christmas. Yum!) It's funny because I find all other Ghirardelli bars/varieties pretty "meh" but I love their little chocolate squares...rich flavor and lovely texture, yet I can stop after 1 or 2 pieces and feel satisfied :raz:

In contrast, chocolate that totally disappointed me recently: Godiva. My mother bought me a Godiva White Chocolate sampler for Christmas to pay me back for all the Ghirardelli white chocolate squares she'd "stolen" from my stash, and they've been utterly disappointing in their lack of flavor and blah texture. Did I just get a bad batch or is Godiva all-hype and no-substance?

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In general, the darker and more bitter the better:

For nibbling: Plantations 100% studded with roasted cacao nibs.

For noshing: Valrhona 90% - has a nice deep wine lingering flavor. I prefer it Michel Cluizel (too nutty), Vinchy (too woody and grainy), or Scharffen Berger (too pasty).

In desserts: At least 80%, if possible, and with a dash of cacao nibs.

Favorite "hybrid:" "Red Heat" by ChocoVosges Haute lVosges Haute Chocolate (Although I have to admit, I wish it were darker (it's 55%). Also, admittedly, I don't eat a lot of "hybrids").

Most memorable experience: Black truffle truffle - that's right, dark chocolate ganache infused with black Perigord truffles. OHMYGOSH... it was GREAT!! :raz:

U.E.

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For years I worked a couple of months a year in Frankfurt Germany and became addicted to a chocolate bar called (believe it or not) Herren Schwarzen Schokolade.  It's an odd name and it isn't some sort of fancy chocolate bar but I don't think I've ever tasted better dark chocolate.  Has anyone heard of it?  It's not available over here (I've looked) but if you ever find yourself in Germany, be sure to find it.

R

This is one of my favorites too! I just finished my last bar :sad:


Edited by SushiCat (log)

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Someone gave me a box of chocolate candies that was like biting into a bar of butter, it was so disgusting. Sadly, Ive had this experience many times. I'm wondering if people just keep giving me expired chocolate because I can't imagine why any manufacturer would make chocolate taste that way.

Anyway, tomorrow I go to my sister's home which has a stash of Valrhona guanaja. I'm bringing Chocovic Ocumare and Guaranda to compare. What should I be looking for? Is there some type of standard or characteristics that constitute a great chocolate?


Edited by savvysearch (log)

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Someone gave me a box of chocolate candies that was like biting into a bar of butter, it was so disgusting. Sadly, Ive had this experience many times. I'm wondering if people just keep giving me expired chocolate because I can't imagine why any manufacturer would make chocolate taste that way.

Anyway, tomorrow I go to my sister's home which has a stash of Valrhona guanaja. I'm bringing  Chocovic Ocumare and Guaranda to compare. What should I be looking for? Is there some type of standard or characteristics that constitute a great chocolate?

If it makes you shiver while eating it, thats great chocolate.

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I'm very partial to Droste dark chocolate pastilles. Love the flavor, the size of the bite, the crunch and the melt.

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Valrona Le Lacte, El Rey Icoa White and Cadbury Dairy Milk.

I prefer dark chocolate as a coating, could never really dig it eaten straight.

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Someone gave me a box of chocolate candies that was like biting into a bar of butter, it was so disgusting. Sadly, Ive had this experience many times. I'm wondering if people just keep giving me expired chocolate because I can't imagine why any manufacturer would make chocolate taste that way.

Anyway, tomorrow I go to my sister's home which has a stash of Valrhona guanaja. I'm bringing  Chocovic Ocumare and Guaranda to compare. What should I be looking for? Is there some type of standard or characteristics that constitute a great chocolate?

If it makes you shiver while eating it, thats great chocolate.

Ahem. I also like a smooth melt, interesting background notes, and a long finish.

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Someone gave me a box of chocolate candies that was like biting into a bar of butter, it was so disgusting. Sadly, Ive had this experience many times. I'm wondering if people just keep giving me expired chocolate because I can't imagine why any manufacturer would make chocolate taste that way.

Anyway, tomorrow I go to my sister's home which has a stash of Valrhona guanaja. I'm bringing  Chocovic Ocumare and Guaranda to compare. What should I be looking for? Is there some type of standard or characteristics that constitute a great chocolate?

If it makes you shiver while eating it, thats great chocolate.

Ahem. I also like a smooth melt, interesting background notes, and a long finish.

The Ocumare was the most complex with notes of spice, fruit, flora and wood and the aroma is strong. You can smell it a foot away. I don't like strong spice and floral tones in my chocolate. It was too feminine for me. It was eating chocolate by Chanel.

The Scharffen Berger (blue label) was too fruity with this sour aftertaste. That was just bad and tasted as if it was polluted with some artificial chemicals. It was my least favorite.

The guaranda was less complex than ocumare and almost like milk chocolate for a dark chocolate, but also very earthy and raw like a roasted coffee bean. The spicy wood notes hit you immediately. It seemed the the most "rough" in taste, but not in texture. I like it rough and manly.

The Valrhona was my favorite. I didn't get to taste Guanaja, and this was the Noir Amer. It has this wonderful natural, organic fruity sweet taste. Of the 4, it tasted the most like what I imagine chocolate should taste like. I think it may be the least complex, but it wasn't bland. Very sharp clean chocolate taste, not as milky as the Guaranda. With the guaranda, there was this distinct bitterness. But with Noir Amer, there was a distinct acidity which I didn't mind, and the bitterness wasn't overwhelming and seemed to balance well with the sweetness.

1)Valrhona Noir Amer

2)Chocovic Guaranda

3)Chocovic Ocumare

4)Scharffen Berger

After overloading on chocolate, eating Doritos never tasted so good!


Edited by savvysearch (log)

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savvysearch.

you sound like my kind of chocolate eating friend - love the dark without the sour. floral's nice, but could do without... enjoy the deep dark richness with a slight natural fruity sweetness - almost like red wine...

u.e.

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I'm also a fan of the dark without the sour. I think that corresponds to the Belgian style rather than the French style.

Valrhona is always too sour and fruity for my tastes... tastes underroasted, maybe? In coffee roasting, bright acid-y flavors persist in lightly roasted coffees, and smooth out when the roast gets into the mid range. I'd bet that chocolate is similar.

Chocolove's products are great... wish I knew which belgian chocolate house made the chocolate for them. An old favorite was their 66% bar with nibs, which they stopped producing due to quality control issues with their nibs (or so their reps at the fancy foods show told me). The ratio of cocoa butter to liquor in the Chocolove bars in the 60's is great. Their bars in the 70s get a little to crackly and the melt is a little less smooth than I prefer.

My favorite bar in the 70s is the late lamented Swartenbroeckx 77% Noir, of which my stash is still holding out despite the fact it has been commercially unavailable for 5 years. This bar has a fabulous rich deep chocolate flavor with no sourness, and a smooth melt that conceys that flavor wonderfully well.

Anybody have recommendations for further belgian style chocolate bars that are not insanely expensive and readily available in the US? The Trader Joes bars that come in threes are belgian and have the cocoa butter percentage right, but the cacao liquor in there is not interesting enough. IF they used more rich and deep chocolate, I'd be all about them... as it is, they're cheap and decent, but not exciting.

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Someone gave me a box of chocolate candies that was like biting into a bar of butter, it was so disgusting. Sadly, Ive had this experience many times. I'm wondering if people just keep giving me expired chocolate because I can't imagine why any manufacturer would make chocolate taste that way.

Anyway, tomorrow I go to my sister's home which has a stash of Valrhona guanaja. I'm bringing  Chocovic Ocumare and Guaranda to compare. What should I be looking for? Is there some type of standard or characteristics that constitute a great chocolate?

If it makes you shiver while eating it, thats great chocolate.

Ahem. I also like a smooth melt, interesting background notes, and a long finish.

The Ocumare was the most complex with notes of spice, fruit, flora and wood and the aroma is strong. You can smell it a foot away. I don't like strong spice and floral tones in my chocolate. It was too feminine for me. It was eating chocolate by Chanel.

The Scharffen Berger (blue label) was too fruity with this sour aftertaste. That was just bad and tasted as if it was polluted with some artificial chemicals. It was my least favorite.

The guaranda was less complex than ocumare and almost like milk chocolate for a dark chocolate, but also very earthy and raw like a roasted coffee bean. The spicy wood notes hit you immediately. It seemed the the most "rough" in taste, but not in texture. I like it rough and manly.

The Valrhona was my favorite. I didn't get to taste Guanaja, and this was the Noir Amer. It has this wonderful natural, organic fruity sweet taste. Of the 4, it tasted the most like what I imagine chocolate should taste like. I think it may be the least complex, but it wasn't bland. Very sharp clean chocolate taste, not as milky as the Guaranda. With the guaranda, there was this distinct bitterness. But with Noir Amer, there was a distinct acidity which I didn't mind, and the bitterness wasn't overwhelming and seemed to balance well with the sweetness.

1)Valrhona Noir Amer

2)Chocovic Guaranda

3)Chocovic Ocumare

4)Scharffen Berger

After overloading on chocolate, eating Doritos never tasted so good!

I haven't had the Chocovic Guaranda, but I would put 1, 3, and 4 in the same order you did.

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When it comes to good belgian chocolate, I'm not choosy...just get me Leonidas anything!

The latest indulgence well-worth marring my complexion with the odd youthful 'beans', is Royce Nama Chocolate flown daily from Japan. :wub: I had the one flavored with champagne. Mmmm...

Droste dark chocolate is a good stand-by fix.

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We appear to be falling into the linguistic trap common to talking about chocolate... when I said Belgian, above, i meant to say bars of eating chocolate as they are made in Belgium. I did not intend to say "Belgian Chocolates", of the Leonidas variety, which are fillings surrounded by a thin shell of chocolate.

I wish it were possible to say Belgian chocolate without having to go through an explanation like that every time...

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My absolute favourite chocolate bar is Jean-Charles Rochoux's tablette aux noisettes (bar with hazelnuts). The hazelnuts are toasted and then coated in a very thin layer of caramel and surrounded by very rich and fruity dark chocolate - a hint of bitterness, but not sour at all. Oh my God, they are soo good.

We tried Bernachon's Kalouga chocolate bar (dark chocolate filled with salted caramel) shortly before we found Rochoux's shop and this was like a "real man's" chocolate bar. The chocolate was incredibly intense, dark and bitter. It was an amazing contrast with the salty gooey caramel. I could only eat one square without feeling like I had a lead weight in my stomach. I can't say that I didn't like it but in the end it was just too much for me. In contrast I could have gobbled down the entire Rochoux hazelnut bar immediately. It was very more-ish as the Brits say.

Here are some photos...

gallery_29603_2480_45892.jpg

gallery_29603_2480_20222.jpg

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Okay - nearly fell in love with Vosges' new "Barcelona"bar (milk chocolate with hickory smoked almonds and grey sea salt) today - but, it had a couple faults:

1. Milk chocolate (I think we're around the 40% mark - too creamy/milky/sweet for me). I wished she would make a version with darker chocolate.

2. The grey sea salt doesn't kick in until the very end - but LOVED :wub: the crystals - the real treat, in my opinion, of this chocolate.

Also tried the new "Creole" bar which supposedly has espresso, "New Orleans-style chicory" - but it tasted just of dark chocolate to me... there may have been a very slight hint of spice to it - but I honestly can't tell if it's because I really wanted there to be... :unsure: Good, but just doesn't live up to it's label.

u.e.

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We appear to be falling into the linguistic trap common to talking about chocolate... when I said Belgian, above, i meant to say bars of eating chocolate as they are made in Belgium.  I did not intend to say "Belgian Chocolates", of the Leonidas variety, which are fillings surrounded by a thin shell of chocolate. 

I wish it were possible to say Belgian chocolate without having to go through an explanation like that every time...

My bad.

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Has anyone else tried Casa Don Puglisi Chocoslab - Chili Flavor from Sicily?

I've recently been on a roll with Chili flavored chocolate.

Like the Dagoba Xocolatl and Vosges Red Fire Bar.

The Casa Don Puglisi is quite unusual.

First off, it is a beautiful package, brown paper wrapped with twine. There are only three ingredients, Cocoa Paste, Cane Sugar, and chili. The chocolate itself is crumbly and crunchy, similar in texture to a much refined version of Mexican drinking chocolate.

The chili flavor is an accent to the ethereal bitterness and sweetness.

It is quite delicious and unlike any chocolate I've tried before.


Edited by eje (log)

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Has anyone else tried Casa Don Puglisi Chocoslab - Chili Flavor from Sicily?

I've recently been on a roll with Chili flavored chocolate.

Like the Dagoba Xocolatl, but, don't care much for the Vosges Red Fire Bar.

The Casa Don Puglisi is quite unusual.

First off, it is a beautiful package, brown paper wrapped with twine.  There are only three ingredients, Cocoa Paste, Cane Sugar, and chili.  The chocolate itself is crumbly and crunchy, similar in texture to a much refined version of Mexican drinking chocolate. 

The chili flavor is an accent to the ethereal bitterness and sweetness.

It is quite delicious and unlike any chocolate I've tried before.

erik!!

i'm ecstatic over your post!! i was just about to send one out on the same topic. i'm a BIG FAN of "hot" chocolate (ie. spicy heat)!! :wub: in fact - i just bought the dagoba xocaltl TODAY - it's sitting right in front of me, but i haven't tried it yet. :laugh:

to date, vosges "red heat" is the best i've found (i much prefer it to her "oaxaca" bar - though it is darker). i have not tried casa don puglisi chocoslab - any clue where i might be able to find it? i'm going to chicago later this week... if that helps. i hope it's dark.

any other chile/spicy-inspired chocolates of note? (again, heavy preference for darker chocolates).

u.e.


Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

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Mozart kugeln!

:blink: ... this is in reference to... what? :blink:

sorry susan g, could you clarify please?

[edited: sorry, susan g, did a little sleuthing myself... i understand now, please excuse the ignorance... :blush:]


Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

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Eurochocolate Website

I just found the website above with lots of information about Modican chocolate.

Fascinating! Apparently, the pastry workshop of Don Giuseppe Puglisi is run as part of a half way house and shelter for women "in difficulty".

Their Website, unfortunately, in Italian.

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Fascinating!  Apparently, the pastry workshop of Don Giuseppe Puglisi is run as part of a half way house and shelter for women "in difficulty".

Their Website, unfortunately, in Italian.

do you get your d.g.p. chocolates locally in s.f.? any idea where i can find it in the midwest? i'm headed to the internet engines right now! :raz:

cheers.

u.e.

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My favorite dark chocolate for eating straight is Czekolada Gorzka (Bitter Chocolate/Chocolate Amer) by the venerable Polish chocolate company E. Wedel. Wedel is now owned by Cadbury, but the chocolate is still outstanding. If you are lucky enough to live in an area with a large Polish community, give it a try-- a 3.5 oz bar is only 99 cents at my local grocery here in Chicago. There is another Polish manufacturer named Wavel-- they are acceptable, but Wedel is better.

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