Product Review: Chocolate
Your fearless Spirituality Squad braves the demands of a healthy chocolate taste test.
After careful deliberation, the S&H team determined that there’s no better way to inaugurate our new Product Review section in the weekly e-newsletter than by conducting a taste test of the single food item that’s never too far from our thoughts: chocolate. (How’s that for self-serving and productive!) Five manufacturers available at the local co-op met our heart-healthy criteria, as determined by The Cleveland Clinic—antioxidant-rich examples containing at least 70% cacao. Each selection is also a verified Fair Trade product, an important designation that ensures its workers are not exploited.
Taking production cues for our blind taste test from step-by-step instructions shared by Amano, an award-winning chocolate manufacturer (not one we tasted), we sampled the goods for the following qualities: smell, flavor, and texture, plus anything extra special. Prices per bar ranged from $2.79 to $4.69. Tasting tip: Allow each bite to melt in your mouth rather than chewing it, as its flavor profile will ideally evolve over a few minutes. Here’s what we found:
Dagoba (74% cacao)
Nutty aroma; pleasing, light cacao flavor; lightly waxy texture
Endangered Species (72% cacao)
Fresh-brewed coffee smell; slightly bitter flavor; crunchy texture
Equal Exchange (71% cacao)
Dark cacao fragrance; fruity flavor; dense, creamy texture
Green & Black (70% cacao)
Mild fragrance; deep, milk chocolate flavor; creamy texture
Wei of Chocolate (72% cacao)
Floral aroma; salty taste; slightly grainy texture
Verdict: No surprise! Chocolate preference is very subjective. While we would not turn down any of these chocolates, Equal Exchange gets our nod for the most attractive, informative packaging; Wei of Chocolate’s vegan Himalayan Pink Salt offering was so exceptional that its intense flavor haunted some of us for days.