Exactly how good are Lindt bars? Montegrano mentioned that the 70% and 85% are worth a look. How do they compare in bean selection, methods, roasting? Also, how is this Ghirardelli company? I don't think much of them already since they use milk products in their chocolate, so I'm guessing that they're of lower quality. The only reason that I ask about these bars specifically is because I found a specialty store that carries both of those brands. El Rey's site says that they also carry theirs, but the guy on the phone didn't mention them. We'll see.
July 31, 2006
The 70% and the 85% are better than you might think, given their common availability. We will have reviews in the Chocopaedia very soon. Their other bars, flavoured, milk white, are not recommended because they use vanillin, rather than real vanilla.
They have in the past made some origin bars, in several different guises (e.g. 'Ecuador') but I'm not sure if these are still around - I need to check with Lindt.
August 1, 2006
First of all, which Ghirardelli chocolate were you referring to when you mentioned the inclusion of milk? Perhaps my memory is fading, but the last time I checked the ingredients list for their dark chocolate, I did not see any milk products listed. Obviously, milk chocolate has milk products; it would not be called milk chocolate if the milk was left out. Factors of superiority lie in other areas, such as beans, fermentation, roasting, etc., not in whether the chocolate is classified as milk or dark. Cluizel and Valrhona make milk chocolate as well, but they are not lower end brands. Ghirardelli makes an extremely good milk chocolate and a good baking bittersweet chocolate. If you ever need chocolate for a recipe real quick, and you have no alternative, go for Ghirardelli.
I could have sworn that I found a review of a dark Ghirardelli bar and I saw milk fat in the ingredients, but I can't seem to locate it. I know that the main components of good chocolate lies in how the beans are prepared; I have been educating myself recently about chocolate. I also know that there are good milk chocolates. Anyway, I thought that the only guideline for a chocolate to be labled as dark was it has to contain a certain amount of cocoa butter, and if they include milk products, they are probably trying to cover up poor beans. Hershey's has a bar that they label as dark chocolate that contains milk fat, so I made the connection between them and Ghirardelli. Again, I am very new to the world of chocolate and don't know much about different brands. I have learned a lot, but PLEASE correct my mistakes. I was probably reading two reviews for a milk and a dark Ghirardelli bar and got the ingredients confused between the two.
So do you reccomend any Ghirardelli dark bars?
August 1, 2006
Personally, I don't recommend any Ghirardelli chocolate, other than the bittersweet baking bar and their milk chocolate. Different types of chocolate are determined according to the minimum percentages of chocolate liquor, sugar, and other ingredients defined by the FDA. Unsweetened chocolate has 100% cocoa liquor; bittersweet must have a minimum of 50%; semisweet 35%; and sweet 15%. However, a good bittersweet chocolate is going to range in the 70's, so don't settle for anything less; the true taste of the chocolate would be covered up by the extra sugar in lesser percentages, although experimentation in the 60% range is encouraged to determine what suits you.
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