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Shameful
July 26, 2003
5:13 am
bobvilax2000
Seville, USA
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I’ve always enjoyed dark chocolate much more than any other form of chocolate, but lately I’ve been REALLY enjoying it. Unfortuently I live in the states and havn’t had any fine dark chocolate, yet. Only Hershey’s Special Dark, which is probably considered junk to the Doctors of Chocolate. I was just wondering if anybody knew the Cocoa content of Special Dark. I’ve read on this site that you’ll never know the percentage of some chocolate, sooo…

July 26, 2003
2:37 pm
bobvilax2000
Seville, USA
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I did a little bit of research and I found four things wrong with this chocolate bar.

1) Sugar is the main ingredient, not cocoa.
2) The cocoa was made with alkali.
3) They used valinin.
4) The chocolate is black, which I read is a sign of low quality chocolate, but I forget why.

It also has milk fat in it. I know that dark chocolate doen’t have any milk in it, so this seems like a bad sign, also.

Ramble on!

July 26, 2003
4:59 pm
Martin Christy
London, United Kingdom
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You’re quite about your reasons why this bar may not be as good as it should. That sugar is the main ingredient means the percentage could be anywhere from 30% to 60% – but it’s probably around 35%.

Opinions vary as to whether dutched cocoa (made with alkali) is better or worse than other cocoa, but the use of vanillin really shows that the manufacturer is prepared to use second best ingredients. This probably extends to the beans used as well, which will be cheap ‘bulk’ beans rather than ‘flavour’ beans. ‘Flavour’ beans usually include criollo and trintarios beans that are much redder in colour. The black colour could also be caused by over-roasting, which is often done to hide the taste of lower quality, unfermented beans. The use of milk fat is really just there because its cheaper and maybe has production benefits. (A lot of vegans have complained to Hershey’s about this.)

Although you live in the US you have plenty of options for fine chocolate. Ghirardelli’s top of the range bars are quite passable and use real vanilla. Also there are many others around from companies like Newman’s Own, or stores such as Trader Joes – organic or Fair Trade bars tend to be of a reasonable quality. Also in Scharffen Berger (www.scharffen-berger.com) you have a genuine US based fine chocolate manufacturer, based in San Francisco.

You can buy European fine chocolate from many online sources, such as [url]www.chocosphere.com[/url], or the shop on this site will ship to the US (www.seventypercent.com/shop/).

You really haven’t tasted dark chocolate until you have tried a true fine chocolate bar. The flavour is a world away from the mass-produced bars – even people who say they don’t like dark chocolate usually have their minds changed when they taste a good fruity fine chocolate. Get hold of some Michel Cluizel, Valrhona, El Rey or Scharffen Berger and you will see what I mean!

Martin Christy
Editor
www.seventypercent.com

Martin Christy Editor www.seventypercent.com
July 26, 2003
6:09 pm
bobvilax2000
Seville, USA
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Thanks for all of the info. Very informative. The strange thing about Hershey’s is that their Cocoa powder has a red color to it, so it would seem that their dark chocolate would, too. I like to use their powder to make my spicy bittersweet drink and it always comes out looking red. Maybe, they’re using better beans for the powder? Who knows? Anyway, I looked in the phonebook today and found a couple chocolate stores that may carry finer chocolate. If they don’t have anything, I’ll definitely buy online.

August 9, 2003
12:14 pm
Martin Christy
London, United Kingdom
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Is the Hershey’s cocoa powder dutched (it will give ‘alkali’ as an ingredient)? Sounds like it isn’t given the colour (dutching is supposed to make cocoa darker.) Is cocoa powder the only ingredient?

It would seem odd of them to save their better beans for their cocoa powder, but then I guess there’s nothing else in it to hide the flavour of lower quality beans, so maybe you are right.

Martin Christy
Editor
http://www.seventypercent.com

Martin Christy Editor www.seventypercent.com
August 9, 2003
2:49 pm
bobvilax2000
Seville, USA
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I was wrong. I noticed some of the littler bits that flake off when you break the chocolate, and they were a red color. I guess my eyes were tricked when looking at the actual bar.

Nope, cocoa is the only ingredient in the cocoa powder.

September 7, 2003
3:26 am
theobroma
MIlwaukee, USA
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Yep, good words Martin. I don’t agree with the suggestion of Ghirardelli, but it is a step in the right direction.
And Bob, do stay away from the hershey’s. If you can get ahold of Cluizel or Valrhona (as Martin did well to recommend), or Domori maybe… then great!
Best wishes
Kyle

Oh no! My Agustus!

Oh no! My Agustus!
August 9, 2003
12:06 pm
Martin Christy
London, United Kingdom
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Hello KingMonkee,

Glad you like the Puertomar so much. Do you think we might convert you to our dark chocolate cause?

Martin Christy
Editor
http://www.seventypercent.com

Martin Christy Editor www.seventypercent.com
April 29, 2004
4:46 pm
alex_h
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yup! domori will do that to you.
now try the porcelana…

May 17, 2004
10:51 pm
adornix
Frankfurt a.M., Germany
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What I love is the contrast between Domori’s Puertofino and Puertomar. Puertofino with its strong wood and tobacco taste followed by Puertomar’s cream and cherry…
By the way: the Bonnat “Puerto Babello” also has a very nice cherry aroma.

May 18, 2004
10:23 am
alex_h
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hmmm, i can’t find any cherry in puertomar. maybe a slight hint. is that what you mean, adornix?
and puertofino was so subtle i couldn’t really taste much except for a light chocolatey taste that had no great length. can you find mushrooms in puertofino? how is that in chocolate? i imagine i wouldn’t care for it.

May 18, 2004
11:18 am
adornix
Frankfurt a.M., Germany
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Always interesting how different individual perception can be :-) The first thing I found when I was trying Puertomar was a distinct cherry taste with a bit of cream.
Let’s see what the Seventypercent Review says: “In the first rush there are dark, smoky tones, but these are soon buried by a flood of mint, cherry-lime and cream.”

Well, I really tried hard, but I never tasted mint… I had a good Schwarwälder Kirschtorte in mind.

Puertofino is a quite strong one in my opinion. Like most Domoris with a waxy (but not disturbing or disgusting) consistence, I had the impression of cigar box wood (is it sandal or cedar? I always mix it up) and in the length very nice tropical fruits.

Porcelana: I had to try hard to find the bread with marmalade (to be correct, I would say jam) and I only got it after a bit of puertofino, followed by a big morsel (right word?) of porcelana. Porcelana on it’s own produced always a quite strong (but interesting) taste of german yeast (or better: sour dough) bread with camembert cheese in my mouth :-) ) I really love it!

May 18, 2004
1:36 pm
alex_h
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yes, very interesting. maybe i’m not giving it the proper attention. but i figure as long as i enjoy it, eh?

domori’s consistency takes getting used to. i have gotten to like the waxiness. but the tastes you describe…whew! i guess i’ve got a ways to go.

is the latte sal waxy as well? have you tried the madagascar 70% or any of domori’s other new stuff? what’s it like? what all is new from domori?

May 18, 2004
3:06 pm
adornix
Frankfurt a.M., Germany
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Yes, the Latte Sal has a bit of that waxiness too. But I can say, that I like this consistence, especially on a milk chocolate – don’t ask why.
A very good training for the senses is to drink white wine as I do quite frequently. It is surprising how differenet even rieslings of the same vintager can be. Some years ago I would have never believed, that a wine may have the taste of raspberrys or apricots. But now I’m aware, that even chocolate have the same merrits. But it is still difficult for me to reproduce the very complex reviews of http://www.seventypercent.com. (as I wrote).
I have ordered the new Madagascar and 100% at IntVeld’s yesterday, because my local dealer (bitter&zart) did not yet know about these new products and were a bit surprised when I told them last week. Domori obviously forgot to inform them.
I hope I get these chocolates in the next few days and I will write about this interesting matter :-)

May 18, 2004
5:46 pm
alex_h
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maybe i should try wine more often. i have noticed how nice it can taste.
i just ordered from in’t Veld as well. the same as you in fact (in addition to domori’s blend).

just come back from downtown and thought i’d try domori green and – surprise, surprise – i found gem. can’t wait to try them.

May 18, 2004
9:31 pm
adornix
Frankfurt a.M., Germany
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Domori Green is one of my most favorite. The truly wonderful Blend No1 with jasmin tea. The flower aroma is very long lasting.
Im not so fond of Gem but the texture is interesting. And it is not at all sweet.

By the way: Yesterday I wrote “Puerto Babello”… Of course it’s “Puerto Cabello”.

May 19, 2004
12:44 pm
alex_h
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hmm, you are right! green is nice! just shared some with a colleague here at the office. she liked it as well.

is gem puro with sugar crystals added? takes some getting used to.

i was about to say! where can i get some of this great babello? :-)

May 19, 2004
7:32 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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I forgot what percentage Gem is; I’ll have to check when I get back home. I’ve tried it, and remarkably, it isn’t as sweet as one would expect. Of course, the chocolate is of a high percentage (at least 75%), but the sugar crystals don’t contribute much sweetness, unless you bite into one. I haven’t tried Green, but the Barrique bar is pretty good, though. The spices are pretty strong and accent the strong chocolate flavor perfectly. It will kind of take you by surprise if you don’t know what to expect. Although I’m not a big fan of flavored chocolate, I would actually consider eating Barrique on a regular basis. That and perhaps, Dolfin’s Masala bar, which is actually really good.

May 19, 2004
8:22 pm
alex_h
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gem has 85%, but it tastes like puro almost. the crystals don’t really add much sweetness, as you said.
i haven’t tried barrique yet for the reason you stated: i don’t care much for flavored chocolate either. but after being pleasantly surprised by green i think i might go ahead and try sometime.
when you first put green in your mouth you can smell and taste the tea leaves immediately. i used to make myself japanese sencha tea every now and then and, aside from the relaxing properties, i liked the smell. some might say it’s nothing special and stinks of grass (not pot), but i like it.

May 20, 2004
1:31 am
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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So why did you try Green if you’re not too fond of flavored chocolate? You should definitely try Barrique, just for completeness. I recently got a 72% anise bar from a brand called BruCo. Apparently, BruCo is supposed to be a good brand, as I’ve heard only good things about them. I got it just to try it. Why not? What have I got to lose, other than the $3 I spent on it?