- Natural or Organic Ingredients
Be careful! I found a metal button in the chocolate
Get serious — it’s chocolate!
Scharffen Berger 70% (that’s 70% cacao) is the perfect degree of darkness, in my opinion; their milk chocolate tastes pretty much like everybody else’s (maybe a little better), and their 82% is too caffeineated for me (I would find myself clinging to the ceiling with fingers and toes, like a Gekko); but if you have a higher caffeine tolerance, you might like the bitterness of the 82% more than the 70% — experiment! (I haven’t had occasion to try the 62% yet, but I would probably consider it not dark enough.)
This is sipping chocolate, not chugging chocolate: It’s best to nibble a little bit with each tiny bite, focusing all of your attention on the flavor, consistency, fragrance, and the aftertaste.
Valrhona is another good chockie, sweeter that Scharffen Berger and (in my opinion) with a simpler taste. If I were cooking something with chocolate, I would choose Valrhona; but for eating straight, I prefer SB.
Valrhona (from the Rhone Valley, hence the name) is a classic European chocolate — French, in this case. Scharffen Berger is American, despite the name, from Berkeley; in 2005, Hershey bought them out; but I don’t believe the parent company has monkeyed with the manufacture of SB chocolate. Wikipedia says that Scharffen Berger was the first American chocolate manufacturer to open in 50 years that creates its own chocolate “from bean to bar.” They taste very different, each being at the top of form for the region (Europe or America).
I think Valrhona has a wider selection of flavors in their chocolate, but they all tastes a bit too sugary to me; Scharffen Berger is more a dessert than mere chocolate, but neither one is a simple candy bar.
The prices are comparable to buying the same chocolate from Whole Foods or some other store that sells gourmet chocolate. However, since it’s sold by third-party grocers, you can’t get free shipping; at least I don’t see any reference to it. And shipping is pricey: eight dollars for chocolate costing up to thirty dollars worth… so if you can find it at a local store, you’re better off buying it from there.
But if you live in a chocolate desert, this is an alternative, if you must have a truly fine chocolate.