I was asked to do an interview this morning with Professional Candy Buyer Magazine to discuss dark chocolate. Ask anyone—dark chocolate is the “feel-good” food of the decade. What could be better? It tastes great and has enough serotonin and caffeine to lift your mood, spirits and attitude any time of the day.
One thing the reporter should have been told prior to our meeting is, “Don’t ask Ed any open-ended questions about chocolate.” And, of course her first question was, “What do you think about ‘dark chocolate’?” Wow… off I went.
First of all, I love great dark chocolate. More to the point, I love Choclatique dark chocolate. We have several choices of the deep, dark goodness… they include:
- Private Reserve Dark Chocolate (64%)
- Ebony Dark Chocolate (72%)
- Elephant—Seriously Strong Chocolate (76%)
- Q-91 (91%)
- Single Origin Dark Chocolates from, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Madagascar, Columbian and real American Hawaiian Dark Chocolate (all at 65%)
What’s the difference? Where do I begin?
- Private Reserve Dark Chocolate (64%) is “reserved” for our terrific couverture for our boxed chocolate and for Ingots, Tablets and Tapestries. Private Reserve is made from 17 equatorial beans grown from the Tropic of Cancer to the Tropic of Capricorn. They are fermented, dried and roasted to perfection. This chocolate is conched (blended) to an ultra-smooth texture for 72 hours at precise temperatures to bring out the natural, dark, fruity flavor of the cacao bean.
- Ebony Dark Chocolate (72%) is a very intense, bittersweet chocolate used primarily for making pastry—very intense chocolate cakes, pies and puddings. It is much sharper than our Private Reserve Dark Chocolate and is not particularly suited for making truffles and other confections. It is the ultimate chocolate-lovers’ baking chocolate.
- Elephant—Seriously Strong Dark Chocolate (76%) is mind-blowing in its complexity, rivaling all of the high percentage cacao chocolates from the European legacy chocolate makers. Elephant Chocolate is a harmonious mélange of Criollo and Trinitario beans, bringing out the light floral aromas of ripe cherry and the essence of raisin top notes. There are deep chocolate layers punctuated by the complex flavors of tart citrus, red fruit and roasted walnut and almond notes. The mild but complex aroma gives way to the intense flavor of Elephant Chocolate. This full-bodied, very intense chocolate is smooth on the palate with a long, bittersweet finish. The elephant-shaped chocolate is a deep, dark red-brown, with an incredibly perfect glossy finish, so that the chocolate appears to glow. This is a chocolate for eating, not for baking. It has flavors and textures you won’t soon forget.
- Choclatique Q-91 is our super-dark, bittersweet premium chocolate high in cacao mass. One of the most pleasant effects of eating Q-91 chocolate is the “euphoric feeling” that many people experience after indulging. Q-91 chocolate contains more than 300 known beneficial compounds. Scientists can’t yet explain some of the pleasurable effects of consuming chocolate, but they’re working on it.
Recent medical research has linked the antioxidants found in cacao—the fruit from which dark chocolate is made—to decreases in blood pressure and reductions of “bad” cholesterol levels. Chocolate is a known stimulant and is also thought to be an aphrodisiac. The darker the chocolate the richer it is in flavanols which many physicians and nutritionists say are beneficial to your health.
The small amount of caffeine found in chocolate (1.4 oz of chocolate = 1 cup of decaf coffee) combined with Theobromine, a weak stimulant also present in chocolate, provides the “lift” that chocolate eaters experience. Although no conclusive proof exists yet, Phenylethylamine is reputed to be a mood elevator and an anti-depressant.
Scientists are still developing their opinions on the health benefits of dark chocolate. It is probably not a good idea to replace your daily intake of fruits and vegetables with a 6-layer frosted chocolate cake—whether dark or milk chocolate, but the research has certainly reduced the stigma of a moderate daily chocolate habit.
How can you judge chocolatier and the quality of their chocolate? Savor the flavor of their chocolate; no fillings, just chocolate. Trying a bag of our Assorted Ingots is a great way to get to know our chocolate. Give them a try and let us know what you think.