Product Review: Chocolate

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.

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