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World Chocolate Day

Discussion in 'Food' started by Simon Hampel, 8th Jul, 2016.

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  1. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Founder Staff Member

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    I know it's a bit late now - but today (7th July) was apparently World Chocolate Day (not to be confused with International Chocolate Day which is an American thing in September I think).

    Anyway, to celebrate, I thought I would post a bit of research data my wife and I did over the past few weeks.

    I bought 15 different types of dark chocolate and taste tested them with my wife to see which ones we liked the best. We don't tend to eat a lot of chocolate - but I do occasionally make a hot chocolate (basically melted dark chocolate in warm milk), or a dark chocolate mousse.

    My go-to chocolate has always been the Lindt Excellence blocks (70% Cocoa usually), but I wanted to try the others to see how they compared.

    Here is the list of dark chocolate I bought:
    • Cadbury Baking Dark Chocolate
    • Cadbury Coco
    • Green & Blacks Organic Dark Chcolate
    • Haigh's 70% Dark Chocolate Tablet
    • Lindt Dessert 70%
    • Lindt Excellence 70%
    • Lindt Excellence 85%
    • Lindt Excellence 90%
    • Lindt Excellence Smooth Blend 70%
    • Nestle Baker's Choice Choc Bits - Dark
    • Nestle Plaistowe
    • San Churro Chocolate Buds - Dark
    • San Churro Spanish Couverture Bar - Dark 70%
    • Whittakers Dark Ghana
    • Woolworths Gold Swiss Intense Dark Chocolate
    Here are some others I haven't yet tried but included the data in my research.
    • Haigh's Ecuador Single Origin Dark
    • San Churro Spoon O'Hot Choc - Dark
    • San Churro Mini Chocolate Block - Dark
    • Lindt Dessert Premium Dark 51%
    • Haigh's Dark Chocolate Couverture
    I was interested to compare Cocoa content and carbohydrate content in each type of chocolate, so I've compiled a list based on the supplied nutritional data - this list is ordered by carbohydrates per 100g, with the chocolate with the highest cocoa content naturally having less carbohydrate (and correspondingly higher fat content).

    I've also included comments about each product - my wife and I were in agreement with most of these and had very similar favourites.

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    Our personal favourite products are (in order):
    1. Lindt Excellence Smooth Blend 70%
    2. San Churro Spanish Couverture Bar 70%
    3. Lindt Dessert 70%
    4. Lindt Excellence 70%
    5. Haigh's 70% Dark Chocolate Tablet
    The Lindt Excellence Smooth Blend is a new product for which they supposedly carefully choose the cocoa beans which give the smoothest taste.

    I'm not sure if this is a gimmick or not - but the results are undeniable - this is the easiest dark chocolate to eat, it doesn't have the sharp bitterness that other 70% chocolate does and has a much sweeter taste than the other 70% chocolates, despite having less carbohydrate and the same sugar content as the normal Lindt Excellence. I do note that the fat content is quite a bit higher and they have added an emulsifier (soy lecithin) to the Smooth product which isn't present in the regular product.

    But either way, our previous favourite Lindt Excellence 70% has been superseded by our new favourite Lindt Excellence 70% smooth blend.

    An honorable mention goes to the San Churro Spanish Couverture Bar 70% which we tried for the first time today after a quick dash to San Churro for hot chocolates at afternoon tea. It's very nice - very smooth and better in flavour than the Lindt Excellence 70% which was our old benchmark. Not quite up to the new high standard of the Lindt Excellence Smooth Blend - but it's close. The main thing letting it down is the price - at $7.06 per 100g ($6 for an 85g block), it's far more expensive than the Lindt 100g blocks which you can usually get at the supermarket for $4 but are often on special for around $3.

    Interestinly, we found our block of the new Lindt Dessert 70% (which replaces the old Lindt cooking chocolate 200g blocks, but in a not-as-useful new 180g block!), we thought tasted better than we remembered and actually better than the Lindt 70% Excellence we normally buy. The chunkier block intended for cooking makes it more difficult to nibble on, and perhaps it was just this particular block that was lucky to have nicer flavoured beans - maybe we need to buy more blocks to randomly sample for consistency and check whether we still feel it's better than the Lindt 70% Excellence.

    Our trusty Lindt 70% Excellence has been relegated to 4th place - but that's not to diminish this stalwart of dark chocolate lovers - we would still gladly welcome this into our home at any time, and as my wife has been known to say "hey, it's still chocolate".

    Finally, at the behest of the chatroom crowd I did a run to Haigh's chocolates a couple of weeks back to try their dark chocolate blocks. I was pleasantly surprised at how nice their 70% Dark Chocolate Tablet was - almost as good as the Lindt 70% Excellence and I would be more than happy to substitute it if I couldn't get the Lindt for some reason ... if it weren't for one not insignificant factor of the price. At $11.25 per 100g block, it was only surpassed by Haigh's own Ecuador Single Origin Dark 63% at $13.69 per 100g ($10.95 for an 80g block) - which I didn't try; and the San Churro Spoon O'Hot Choc - Dark which topped the price list at $12 per 100g ($6 for 50g block) - but at least with the San Churro, you got a wooden spoon to stir your hot chocolate with.

    So at nearly 3 times the price of Lindt chocolate (4 times the price if you can get Lindt on special) ... one must ask, "is Haigh's really 3-4 times as good as Lindt?", to which the answer is of course a resounding "no" - but as pointed out by the chatroom crowd - you don't buy Haigh's to eat - you buy it to give as a gift. Huh? Not eat chocolate, but give it away? Sacrilege! Lies! Scandal! Okay, the packaging is nicer than Lindt - but I don't know anyone who ever said "oh, my gift of chocolate doesn't look as nice as it should - here, take it back". Not ever.

    Indeed, given you can buy 3-4 blocks of Lindt for the price of a block of Haigh's ... I challenge you to find someone who would rather receive 1 block of Haigh's than 3 or 4 blocks of Lindt as a gift?

    Just one last thing to note - having experimented with those exotic other Lindt products - the 85% and the 90% Excellence ... I have come to the following conclusions ...

    The 85% dark chocolate is just nasty - incredibly bitter and leaves you feeling like you need a spoonful of sugar to take the edge off - in which case you would be better off just having the 70% to start with.

    However, the 90% is a different beast altogether. Something interesting happens when you get to this level of cocoa intensity. Yes, it is very bitter - but rather than tasting more bitter than the 85%, what I actually found was that the cocoa chocolate taste was so incredibly intense that it overpowered the bitterness and you were left with this glorious sensation of almost pure chocolate. It's by no means sweet and it's something that has to be experienced more than enjoyed - certainly not something I'd "snack" on. But it is an experience, and something I'd challenge any dark chocolate lover to try - just like you would savour a wine - this is something you savour, not devour - pay attention to the complex flavours and how they develop on your tongue - the multiple layers and sensations that are far more than just "chocolate".

    I'll leave you with my hot chocolate recipe. Get a large mug, put 50g of your favourite dark chocolate in it and then fill it up with milk. Put it in the microwave and cook it until the milk just starts to bubble up (watch carefully - you don't want to burn it or make it overflow). Remove from the microwave and stir for about 30 seconds until all the chocolate has blended into the milk. Enjoy. You can get fancy with adding stuff like vanilla or nutmeg, but that's no longer a hot chocolate - that's something different and you'd probably want to use cheaper chocolate if you're going to spoil it by adding stuff :p

    If you ask nicely, I'll share my chocolate mousse recipe too.
     
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  2. Bayview

    Bayview Well-Known Member

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    My favourite is...all of the above and in as large a quantity as I can eat before I feel sick. :p

    Last night was a quiet night; cherry ripe and a dairy milk mint bubble bar....with 2 glasses of Sav Blanc; of course. ;)
     
    Last edited: 8th Jul, 2016
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  3. bashworth

    bashworth Well-Known Member

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    One thing I have found out about chocolate is Cadburys Milk chocolate varies depending on where it is made.

    My daughter always prefers UK Cadburys and make me bring back seveal blocks each time I go to the UK. Talking to the customs guys they tell me this is fairly common.

    I did a bit of research and found that the difference is the sugar. In Australia they use cane sugar but in the UK they use sugar beet which gives a different "mouth feel"
     
  4. Casteller

    Casteller Well-Known Member

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    Lindt is good stuff, for 10 years I lived about 15 minutes walk from the Lindt factory and headquarters in Kilchberg, Switzerland, used to drop in sometimes, a real old style Swiss factory, interesting place. The factory shop has an amazing variety, used to get the "chilli chocolate" and some of liqueur stuff to take back to Australia for xmas presents. Chilli and chocolate go surprisingly well together.
    The 85% Lindt dark was too much cocoa taste for me, 70% was enough, but it was ok in small servings.
    100g Lindt blocks for only 1 Euro in Spain, good value (about half of Australian prices).
     
  5. Mumbai

    Mumbai Well-Known Member

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    I like only dark chocolates. Don't enjoy the milk ones. Lindt excellence are good, but I would rank Aldis dark chocolate up with the lindt. My personal favourite is the 'just organic' but wife likes 'moser Roth' better.
     
  6. EN710

    EN710 Well-Known Member

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    Please add Callebout and Valhrona to the list, they are divine ;) couverture version, you can use it to make other things
     
  7. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Founder Staff Member

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    Where do you get them from?
     
  8. EN710

    EN710 Well-Known Member

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  9. D.T.

    D.T. Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

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    What kinda goose would give Haighs away? :p
     
  10. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Founder Staff Member

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    I couldn't find any nutrition information on the Callebout website. Do the packages you buy online contain that information? Curious to know where they fit in the carbs/sugar/fat comparisons.
     
  11. EN710

    EN710 Well-Known Member

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  12. Xenia

    Xenia Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

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    My gosh Simon
    World chocolate day and you are researching carb content in chocolate. That is so funny.

    Just eat and enjoy chocolate.

    It's the second greatest enjoyment a human being can experience. ;)

    My favourite - toblerone
     
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  13. bob shovel

    bob shovel Well-Known Member

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    Wow that's a detailed summary! So detailed it hit my reading quota early on in the summary.

    Kit kat chunky and old gold is all i need. On special of course
     
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  14. House

    House Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    A man of good taste I see. I save me Chunkie's for after the gym.

    I eat half a bar of the Green & Blacks 85% every day. Less than 7grams of sugar.
    Buy 30+ bars when it's half price at $2 ;)
     
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  15. Simon Hampel

    Simon Hampel Founder Staff Member

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    Old Gold? The only person I know who actually eats that stuff is my Dad. I didn't even bother including it in my analysis - I'm not old enough to eat it.

    I am a recovering kitkataholic. It has been over 9 months since my last kitkat.
     
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  16. BKRinvesting

    BKRinvesting Well-Known Member

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    I always buy it as gifts for my wife. Weirdly I always buy 2 of whatever it is I'm getting. :p

    Ps. Simon - agree re. Lindt vs Haighs bars. But I find Haighs individual truffles leave Lindt in the dust.
     
  17. D.T.

    D.T. Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

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    It was a bit of a trick question / inside joke; I've never tried it myself but have bought it as a gift on numerous occasions. Mainly because it's an SA icon and my main client base is interstate.
     
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  18. BKRinvesting

    BKRinvesting Well-Known Member

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    Agreed. I did the factory tour when I was last down there.
     
  19. D.T.

    D.T. Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

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    What did you think?
     
  20. BKRinvesting

    BKRinvesting Well-Known Member

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    Wasn't a bad day out. A little boring but the "free" chocolate was a bit of fun. We've done the Cadbury ones in Hobart and Dunedin too. We don't drink so a chocolate tour is our equivalent to a wine tour :p haha
     
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