Does anybody know a good store in the states, or in Ohio, that I could get fine chocolate bars from? Is anybody here even from the states? The best that I've found is a 60% Feodora bar that I bought from Tops Market (If that means anything to anybody). It's good, but many say that It's mediocre compared to others. Buying online doesn't seem reasonable since I would end up spending crazy amounts for shipping. Any help is greatly appretiated.
August 1, 2006
Look up "chocolate," "candy," or "confection" in the phone book. Call the stores and ask if they sell imported chocolate such as Valrhona and Cluizel. Scharffen Berger might be easier to get, though. Also, some delis and pastry shops sell chocolate too. Ordering online isn't such a bad idea. The only reason why it seems too expensive now is that most online stores charge warm weather shipping fees to prevent the chocolate from melting. If you have the patience, wait until the fall and order. If you order a substantial amount, then the shipping fee practically pays for itself.
July 31, 2006
Good chocolate can save you money if you eat it carefully - you need less to satisfy you chocolate cravings and for that reason if for nothing else it is healthier.
Yeah, I have found that good chocolate satisfies me after just a piece or two, while lower quality chocolate, I tend to eat more.
I was going to go out to local coffee shops and pastry shops today to look for chocolate, but the power went out in northeast U.S. and part of Canada, so I thought that it was pointless. Tomorrow if the power is back, which they're guessing that it will be.
August 1, 2006
I don't know about you, but sometimes I have the urge to eat the whole bar. I don't mean I would mindlessly consume it in one minute, but I would slowly eat it until it's gone. Again, this is a rare occurrence, and it has never overpowered me. Once you realize that the quality of fine chocolate demands higher prices, I believe that you would become more mindful concerning your expenditure towards chocolate. However, if you want to find your favorite chocolate by comparing as many as you can, then money might not be much of a concern, especially if you're impatient. Exploring is fun, though, so take your time and enjoy the journey.
Oh, I've had urges to eat an entire bar. I sit down with a bar entirely planning on consuming it all, I let a peice or two slowly melt in my mouth, then I feel completly satisfied and don't feel the need to eat anymore. I mean, that flavor lasts, so I don't find it necessary.
I found some Chocolove at a health food store. I wrote more about it in the "Chocolate Bars" forum.
July 31, 2006
Half a bar is my max in one go, though I eat a lot from couverture blocks and it's a bit harder to keep track.
August 1, 2006
Sometimes I plan on eating half a bar, but I never do. One time, I even planned on a chocolate splurge, but then I decided that too much at one time will ruin the fun of eating it in small doses later. I like to reserve a small portion of my day to eat two or three squares of chocolate and to conduct taste tests. Although the time to consume the chocolate is brief, the lingering flavor and satisfaction it brings me is "priceless." After all, too much of a good thing will eventually lead to banality. However, with all the different types of chocolate around and the different taste tests one can conduct, the aforementioned problem is practically non-existent to the chocophile. If you want a very satisfying chocolate, try El Rey's Gran Saman. It's only 70%, but the lower quantity of cocoa butter and higher quantity of cocoa liquor produces a stronger chocolate taste. The aftertaste is long and powerful. Try it compared to Apamate; the difference is quite noticeable.
When I was younger (and ignorant of fine chocolate), half a pound of M&M's would satisfy my chocolate craving, but since then I have refined my palate and educated myself on the differences between chocolate and candy. M&M's are candy; my chocolate craving was deceivingly "satisfied" by the sugar rush these color coated pieces of hydrogenated oils provided. Now I can truly say that my chocolate cravings are satisfied after eating chocolate from brands such as Cluizel and Domori.
Yeah, I like to savor the chocolate slowly so that it doesn't become trite. It's over and done with soon enough, but the next time I get to eat the chocolate is that much better.
Some people don't understand it when I say that I don't like candy, but love chocolate. I was sitting at work with this guy who was eating a Snickers bar or something (And tried to tell me that the chocolate is good for him). I ran down the ingredients list and showed him all of the sugar, milk fat, and hydrogenated oils. Then I explained what I learned about chocolate and the fact that it's mainly chocolate, not other flavors. Anyway, my point being, I think that most candy is disgusting both taste-wise and health-wise.
Ohh, the Gran Saman sounds tasty. I'll have to seek one out.
August 1, 2006
Well, it's all a matter of taste and how you define candy. If you consider candy as mounds of sugar and artificial flavorings and oils, then Snickers and Reese's are indeed candy. However, similar products can be produced using natural ingredients that are much healthier, but at the same time possessing a much different flavor (truffles, pralines, etc.). I prefer this somewhat unrefined and natural flavor because the ingredients don't leave undesirable aftertastes and textures that mass marketed candies do. Then, one asks himself, "If this is not candy, then what is it?" The rather broad designation "confection" has been reserved for these superior culinary creations; under this label can be placed the aforementioned truffles and pralines, as well as gianduja, fueilletine, nougat, and many more delightful treats.
August 30, 2003
I've just started looking for high quality dark choc in UK. Chocolate Trading Co. is good site and I ordered Cluizel, etc but then I saw the chocosphere site (why won't they ship outside US?) and read reviews on chocophile and now I want Slitti (100%!), Venchi and El Rey.
I made a trip to London - Harrods (hmm), Selfidges (better), etc - I thought Soho Italian delis would be good, but nothing.
Planning another trip: Harvey Nichols?
Any other suggestions?
July 31, 2006
The problem with Harrods, and especially Selfridges is the range they stock is very variable. Sometimes they seem to buy in a lot of unusual bars, and sometimes the stock goes down to almost nothing. In my time I have bought Chocovic, Voison, Amedei and other curiosities in Selfridges, but they are no longer to be seen (though Amedei seems to come and go). Fortnum and Mason is ok, but again the range is limited.
For your next trip to London you should take yourself along to trip to Villandry in Great Portland St. An interesting deli and they carry Valrhona, Cluizel, Bonnat and others. Also Rococo on the King's Road for Chantal Coady's homemade delights.
You can get Venchi at Selfridges, and El Rey in Waitrose (just the Apamate and the milk though).
Glad you have some supplies on order, but have you checked out our very own seventypercent.com shop (www.seventypercent.com/shop)? Our range is limited at the moment to Valrhona, Cluizel and the Chocolate Society, but we're currently working on an upgrade to the store and will be bringing in at least three new ranges over the next few months. Our aim is to really concentrate on dark chocolate and supply as many of the bars that we review as we can.
August 30, 2003
So, just got back from another shopping trip to London in search of dark chocolate – a bit better this time. Thanks for your recommend of Rococo – picked up the 85% and 99% - this I just tried, v bitter, as you would expect (or would you at their prices? £3.75/85g bar by the way) and acidic (isn’t that bad? Maybe I’m wrong, I’m still a bit of a novice so I’m not very good at describing taste, or even noticing it!). I am wondering whether it’s supposed to be used in cooking – anyone else tasted it?
On my first trip I picked up Ackerman’s 99% (£2.45/85g) from Selfridges. It was very earthy, which I quite liked, and hardly bitter at all – I managed to polish off the whole bar in three sittings but would not recommend. I am trying to remember the ingredients, I’m sure it had sugar (which Rococo does not) but would 1% or less make any difference? I do really want to stick to 80+% bars (Cluizel and Galler 85’s seem to be the sort of thing), as I want to cut down on (or cut out) sugar.
Anyway, I obviously need more practice at tasting before I try the hard stuff, it’s just wasted, my buds need tuning in I suppose – I’ve only just moved on from Lindt! Nevertheless, the elusive Slitti is becoming an obsession. The proprietress of Rococo opined that I would not find Slitti chocolate in London (by which I think she meant UK) as it was too “specialist” (what does that make Rococo?) – this, of course just makes me want it more. I thought I might have a lead after a web search gave me “La fromagerie” (Moxon Street off Marylebone High Street) they (apparently) normally stock bars by Bernard Dufoux and Slitti chocolates, all very exclusive, and all very sold out! New order due in November for Christmas.
I was disappointed with Villandry chocolate-wise – just G&B’s and something else I’ve forgotten the name of - except one solitary remaining bar of El Rey Icoa (which is not really on my list, but I did see a rave review) – ok it must be good for cheese and meat, which I ignored. I popped into two Waitrose stores in passing but no sign of El Rey - must be regional?
Mortimer & Bennett in Chiswick had most of the Bonnat range at £2.50/100g, which I have not tried yet, so I got three of the “puerto cabello” (because your reviews seemed to single it out) and three others at random.
Harvey Nichols had the Chocovic Origen Unico trio at £2.40/80g, plus what looked like the complete Amedei (I’ve got the 70% which I’m saving for Christmas…well I’ll keep you posted…). I did pick up Enric Rovira 70% (£2.95/100g) which I have not seen mentioned on web. There was a 100%, but, as ingredients simply read “cocoa paste”, I hesitated, but now I wish I’d got it (it wasn’t in the cooking section.) Any reports?
Also I went back to Selfridges to double check for Cuba Venchi, but all they had was bags of chocs and the “blocchetto” of dark 56% (£4.95/200g) all aimed at the tourists I suppose. I got the 75% from Choc Trading Co. (which I’m saving for… yeah, yeah) but I’d like to try the 85%, which their site claims is the best in the world! I hovered over Godiva 85% boxed squares at £10 odd (didn’t notice weight) – Godiva is a bit touristy, no?
I look forward to an expanded 70percent shopping section, and I must really learn to enjoy want I can easily acquire! I will only be going back into London for …well, I won’t go on.
July 31, 2006
Actually, I rather liked the Rococo 100%, which I prefer to the Cluizel. The acidity may be the fruitiness that often comes from the finer criollo beans, so it's usually a good sign - though opinions differ on this a lot! You must have been a little high after the Ackerman's bar? One reason I have not reviewed them here yet is they don't seem to list their ingredients, so it's hard to tell if they qualify – I must contact them about it. Personally I think their chocolate is good, but nothing out of the ordinary.
I must get some Lindt reviews up. Although they are mass market, I think the 70% and 85% bars stand up well against many other strong chocolates that you might think would be better.
I still haven't tried Slitti myself, must rectify this very soon.
Sorry about Villandry, they are normally very good. But then that's the usual story; no one keeps a consistent supply! Our local Waitrose in North London always has El Rey, and has started carrying a few Valrhona bars as well - sorry for another false lead! Glad you found Mortimer & Bennet - I miss their Covent Garden store where I first found Bonnat. Must pop-in to Harvey Nicks, sounds like they've improved their range a bit (mind you last time I went was Easter, so that might explain things.) We'll be stocking Bonnat soon - we have placed an order already.
Always be wary of anyone who claims to have 'the best chocolate in the world'. (Or 'now that's what chocolate's supposed to taste like' for that matter.) Those who are the best don't need to say it. Venchi are ok, but I would never put them in the same league as Cluizel, Bonnat, Valrhona, Domori, etc. As for Godiva's chocolate, it's best left where it was meant to be, on their bon-bons and pralines, not in a bar on it's own.
No Valrhona on your travels? You should try Guanaja and Ampamakia at least, to get a taste of the 'fruity' end of the market.
August 30, 2003
Any leads are better than none - I had a fun day so don't worry. As for Guanaja, it was top of my list after I read your review - it's probably the best chocolate experience I've had so far, new tastes for me, but too easy - I've no will power, I need something that will impose it's own disciple, if you know what I mean. The Ackerman's kind of left me cold, which is why I said I was wasted on me - it just goes to show what I was saying about being a novice taster, it sounds like Rococo use the best (how cynical to think otherwise) and I described it as a bad beaujolais. I'm afaid I'm a terrible snob in all areas of life: not everything is a matter of opinion is it? I suppose I just want the confidence to be able to say I like something or not without worrying what other people think - which I know comes with experience, so bring on the next bar! I was pleased to here you mention that Lindt was not that bad, I've been eating the 85% for years, not looking any further than Tesco. I had the occasional trip to Calais and found Poulaine 86% and Lindt 99% - this I found inedible at the time.
I've got a bar of the Ampamakia: perhaps I'll try if after the Rococo (which is getting better) to compare - is it just that the Criollo is such a new experience for me?
I had an email reply from Slitti - one line that just said "we have not authorised dealer in UK" - very helpful! But there is an opening there...
August 1, 2006
Lindt only offers two products that are worth consumption: their Excellence 70% and 85%. Since you seem to like fruitiness, the 70% would make an excellent, every-day, inexpensive eating chocolate. Also, try Scharffen Berger, El Rey's Gran Saman, or Valrhona's Manjari for a fruity chocolate. Godiva is one of those brands that doesn't live up to the media hype and uses this to market their products as gourmet. Their price range ($36/lb I believe), no doubt, ranks them up there, but the quality of their chocolate certainly does not. Just take a look at the ingredients list and compare the findings to another brand, such as Lake Champlain, who uses all natural ingredients. The difference in taste and texture is amazing. If you ever see Cuba Venchi's gianduja, do yourself a favor and get it. Although the chocolate isn't the finest in the world, the gianduja is.
September 7, 2003
This may not be timely or locally pertinent, but I plan to open a chocolate shop in the midwest USA within the next few years. Before that I hope to help create a more wide-ranging and efficient online chocolate shop for chocolate lovers. The idea for the website would be both to direct you to the nearest supplier of fine chocolate, and also to ensure those suppliers have a wide selection (slitti too!). If anyone is interested in helping, be it with business, websmarts, investing, information, etc, let me know. As for now, it's just an idea...
Oh no! My Agustus!
August 1, 2006
Sounds interesting. I sent you an E-mail, but send me one to establish contact:
July 31, 2006
Peter, you can send emails through the forum without having to show your email here - just go to the person's profile and do it from there. You might like to edit your reply and remove your email address, else it will probably get 'farmed' for spam.
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