My step-mom loves dark chocolate. So when she was in town, we held a little dark chocolate showdown. We cruised around town buying one of almost every brand we could find, generally staying above 60% dark, ranging from super-market cheapies to specialty shop cuties. We arranged three blind testings, each with five chocolates. Then we had a taste-off of our favorites from each testing. We rated each chocolate on aroma, texture, and flavor, then gave an overall score. Here are our findings:
- The three of us (my step-mom, husband, and I) rated most chocolates very similarly. We had some definite preferences. But I thought our different palates would affect the ratings more significantly than they did.
- Per the taste test cliche, a couple supermarket cheapies ranked much higher than a couple gourmet brands - good news when making that flourless chocolate cake that requires 14oz of chocolate.
- The best-of-the-best taste-off was pointess. It was impossible to rank the top chocolates; they were very different in all aspects (aroma, texture, flavor), but all really good in their own ways.
- All the chocolates taste better on their own, without being compared. Since we only used three squares from each bar, I had a lot left over to nibble on. Chocolates that I rated pretty low in the showdown, still taste pretty good as a late night snack.
Here are the full results (slightly skewed toward my preferences):
Alprose Swiss Baking Chocolate 52%, 7.70sfr for 300g (not really fair at such a low cocao percentage)
Munz Swiss Premium 70% 1.40sfr
Cailler Noir Cacao Extreme 74%, 2.90sfr
Suchard Sensations Noir, 70%, 2.60sfr
Frey Ecuador 65%
Frey Noir Special 72%, 1.40sfr
Villars Chocolat Noir 72%, 2.90sfr
Teuscher Chocolate 66%, 7.20sfr
Teuscher Chocolate 77%, 7.20sfr
Sprungli Grand Cru Criollo de Maracaibo Venezuela 65%, 6.20sfr (I loved this one, but no one else did)
Michel Cluisel Les 1ers Crus de Plantation Los Ancones 67%, 9.40sfr (for 80g of 5 different varietals)
Dolfin Noir, 70%, 3.60sfr
Frey Edel Bitter 55%, 1.40sfr
Frey Noir Supreme Authentique Extra Dunkel 78%, 2.10sfr
Mascao Eclats de Cacao (with nibs) 73%, 2.90sfr (really a DQ because the nibs completely interfered with the flavor and texture)
Here's a site that gives guidelines for chocolate tastings.