November 12, 2006
Well I jut did a factory tour of Scharffenberger in Berkeley California and I purchased there new "Limited Edition 72% Cacao Las Islas Caribbean Bar". It is the most aromatic bar I have ever smelled. you can smell it a mile away! lol. It's taste is great too...lots of citrus or sour notes(reminds me of madagascar chocolate). Try it out...
October 13, 2009
Originally posted by whnyc
What are some great tasting dark chocolate bars that are also good for you health-wise(non-Dutched)?
Most of the very best chocolate bars are non-Dutched, so your choices are truly enormous. With that in mind, you could pick just about any of the "great" chocolates, e.g. Amedei Chuao, Domori Porcelana, Michel Cluizel Los Ancones, etc. etc.
Now, if you want mostly the purported health benefits of the chocolate itself, it makes sense to get the highest percentage that you possibly can. Taking this to the extreme, then, you'd want an unsweetened, e.g. Michel Cluizel Noir Infini or Domori 100% (both of which are spectacular)
However, if your tastes can't quite take the challenge of unsweetened, the 85% class also has an interesting, and organic, choice - Charlemagne dark chocolate (84% [sharp-eyed readers, please note earlier error in another post when I said it was 88%. A reinspection of the wrapper revealed the amount as 84%]) As a class, though, the 85% somehow seems to be disappointing, even from usually reliable manufacturers such as Michel Cluizel. Up a little at 90% there's also Slitti's Tropicale, well worth the adventure. The 70% class, next step down, is where the explosion of possibilities occurs, and here your choices are virtually limitless. Amedei makes a superb Madagascar and Trinidad in addition to the Chuao. Domori's Puertomar is almost on a par with Porcelana. Valrhona comes through with the interesting blends Guanaja and Araguani. Bonnat has a whole set of choices, perhaps best being the Puerto Cabello (technically the best of his line is Chuao but Amedei's version is better still - and the one you should buy exclusively of this varietal)
For the complete package, perhaps the "healthiest best" is Domori Chacao Absolute - superb chocolate, and it's organic too. The ingredients list is truly minimal: cacao beans and sugar. Flavour complexities make this one shine in every respect.
Really, though, it depends on what particular style you like best. Do you prefer a fruitier chocolate (such as, e.g. Valrhona and Porcelana/Sur Del Lago beans)? A bolder, more full-bodied chocolate (such as, e.g. Amedei and Chuao/Ecuador Arriba beans)? A sophisticated, nutty/spicy style (such as e.g. Domori and Madagascar beans)? A dark, earthy/coffee style (such as e.g. Pralus and Ocumare beans)? As you can see there's a lot of variety out there - if you can narrow your likes and dislikes you can almost certainly find the chocolate that works for you.
July 4, 2006
I would suggest that as long as you stick to bars with around 70% cocoa solids and above and check that their ingredients are as pure as possible i.e. without added artificial flavourings, vegetable fats etc then that's about as healthy as chocolate gets. Here at 70% most of us forum members believe that pure fine chocolate shouldn't contain much other than cocoa mass, sugar, natural vanilla and maybe soya lecithin(added for fluidity). Additional cocoa butter is sometimes added to create a smoother texture which is acceptable but not ideal in health terms due to the additional fat content.
I would stress though that chocolate it never going to be a 'health food' as such because it is high in both fat and sugar. However, pure high cocoa chocolate can have some health benefits as it contains helpful antioxidants and can have a positive effect on your mood due to the seratonin that it helps to release in the brain. It's one of those things like red wine that can be beneficial in moderate quantities but also contains things that are not so good for you if consumed in larger quantities. Moderation is the key.
I personally find that eating around 30g of pure dark chocolate a day stops me from craving other, less healthy treats as it is so satisfying in flavour and gives me a great mood lift (probably induced by the pleasure of eating the chocolate as much as by my brains chemical response!).
As far as recommendations go you will find plenty on this site. Try the chocopaedia reviews and search the forum for a thread called 'favorite chocolate'.
I'm sure there has been further discussion in greater detail about the health benefits of chocolate on this forum too but I can't remember where.
I hope that helps,
Hi whnyc. I wonder what exactly your criteria are for a chocolate being "good for you health-wise"?
Arguably, chocolate's greatest health benefit comes from its high levels of antioxidants.
The presence of antioxidants is strongly correlated with deep colour and bitterness: in cocoa, we have the dark purples and browns of anthocyanins, and the lingering bitterness of tannins and catechins. Forastero is king here, which actually means that (in relation to antioxidants) ordinary dark chocolate made from bulk cocoa is better for you than the pale, delicate Criollo varieties such as Chuao and Porcelana.
FYI, the debate about which cocoa beans contain more antioxidants (or flavonoids) has already taken place in the thread titled [url="http://www.seventypercent.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=808&SearchTerms=antioxidants,forastero"]"Doctor wants to put the treat in treatment"[/url].
Of course, if experiencing exotic pleasures is important to your health (and I'm not being sarcastic here - I'm sure a little bit of pure pleasure is great for your health), then by all means pursue the rarest delicacies of the chocolate world, such as Chuao and Porcelana.
In the book "Foods That Fight Cancer" by Richard Béliveau and Denis Gingras, the authors specifically recommend eating 40g of 70% cocoa solids chocolate every day. The only proviso is that, to be worthwhile, the chocolate must not contain milk solids, because milk solids bind up the beneficial antioxidants, making them unavailable to your body.
Hence, there's no real physical benefit to be had from eating milk chocolate. For this reason, beware of the cheaper dark chocolate manufacturers who sneak milk fat or milk solids into their bars!
I wonder if you consider pesticides in food to be bad for you health-wise? If so, you might want to have a think about choosing organic chocolate.
Very dark chocolate used to give me terrible headaches -- until I started making my own chocolate, from organically grown beans, and my headaches disappeared, even though I now eat a fairly substantial amount of the darkest chocolate imaginable (100% cocoa solids).
To the best of my knowledge, the link between pesticide residues in food and headaches is still only anecdotal -- but the amount of anecdotal evidence is growing, especially in relation to wine.
Many people will try to tell you that pesticides aren't used in the cocoa industry. Those people are, at best, ill-informed. To name but one example, Ghana (a major cocoa producer) still has government sponsored cocoa spraying programs -- and, worse yet, they still use lindane, which is so dangerous that it's banned for agricultural use in the USA and Europe.
Personally, I'd think twice before eating any cocoa that was grown in Ghana, because of the pesticide issue. Many blended chocolates contain cocoa from Ghana.
Finally, does your conscience affect your health? If so, then perhaps eating a certified Fair Trade, or otherwise fairly traded chocolate, might be good for your soul.
November 12, 2006
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