My life would not be complete without dark chocolate. I have always loved chocolate. Over the years I have gone from milk to darker milk to sort of dark to dark to extra dark and finally to chocolate labeled wicked & extreme. Let’s get it straight right off the bat: I consider extra dark chocolate a health food. Heck, it is good for mental, physical AND emotional health. Read some of the nutrition labels on these bars. They are usually very low in sugar. They have protein and fiber. They are high fat, no question, but I’ll take fat over sugar any day.
Most of the chocolate I consume is in the range of 85-95% cocoa content. Go any darker than that at your own risk. And PLEASE don’t go out and buy one of those mass-market brands – sorry Lindt, Godiva, Ghirardelli – in my humble opinion they taste more like wax than chocolate. If you are going to commit to extra dark [or even just dark], you are going to have to spend some money.
So without further ado, here are some I recommend:
Endangered Species Panther 88% Dark Chocolate: This is the bar you can most often find in my refrigerator. Well, at least remnants of a bar. It is also one of the more reasonably priced bars out there. It is really (really) smooth and has great flavor. I don’t think you would guess it is 88% cocoa if you tried it. And **bonus** you can find it in many stores.
Taza Chocolate Wicked Dark 95% Stone Ground Chocolate: Taza chocolate bars are unique in that they stone grind the chocolate and don’t refine it. This gives their chocolate a gritty texture. Not gritty in a bad way, but definitely unique. I love it, but it’s not the traditional smooth creamy chocolate you are used to. This bar is amazingly good; it is not too bitter but has a nice kick to it. Definitely a chocolate bar you take your time with. Taza makes less extreme dark chocolate that is still above 80%, so you don’t have to go straight to the Wicked…
Chocolove Extreme Dark Chocolate 88%: Priced similarly to the Endangered Species and also easier to find than some of the others, this chocolate bar is relatively new to the market. Chocolove makes great chocolate, and this bar is no exception. It isn’t exotic or all that unique, but it doesn’t disappoint. A good go to bar.
Pascha 85% Dark Chocolate Bar & 85% Dark Chocolate Chips: I found Pascha in my search for extra dark chocolate chips to use in my baking. I like to bake and pretty much everything I bake has chocolate chips in it. I have learned if I omit the sweetener and add a few dark chocolate chips, it is perfect for my taste. ANYHOW, these Pascha chips and bar have a very unique flavor. I was trying to think what it was and all I could come up with was vanilla extract. And then I noticed on the label that it does indeed have vanilla in it. Look at me, the budding chocolate sommelier!
Endorfin Foods Single Origin Dark Chocolate (80%). I rarely venture below 85% cocoa anymore. But my friend Evia (best gift giver ever) gave me a 6 month chocolate subscription from Endorfin Foods last year. I’ve been around the chocolate block a few times and Endorfin makes some of the most amazing chocolate I have ever tasted. Their single origin 80% cocoa bars are simply to die for. They are pricey, but worth it.
So there you go, a 4th of July weekend homework assignment: dark chocolate taste testing. The market has really been exploding for the extra dark chocolate. Which makes me very happy. There are plenty of bars out there that I have not been disappointed in, but I tried to pick out my absolute favorites. I do, however, feel a certain obligation to keep trying them all.
So if you need an opinion on a potential bar of chocolate, well, chances are I’ve tried it.