Sunday, March 05, 2006

Dark Chocolate Taste Test Reveals The Generation Gap is Alive and Well

It’s been a while since I’ve posted—we were in Tahoe for winter break doing a little winter sporting, but mostly dealing with strep throat and its complications. We’re all glad to be back home and healthy and to celebrate, we put on a dark chocolate tasting last night. My younger son just learned that dark chocolate is a Super Food and he thought it would be a good idea to do a comparative tasting.

The four chocolate bars we tasted were a fair-trade organic chocolate we bought through our progressive, socially-conscious Berkeley school and three from our local over-priced grocery store: Isis Luxury Belgian Dark Chocolate (70% cocoa); E. Guittard Chucuri Bittersweet (65%); and Lindt Excellence (70%).

The boys’ unanimous favorite was the Guittard because it was “more like milk chocolate” and “didn’t have a funny aftertaste.” (The extra 5% of milk and sugar apparently does make a difference). My younger son ranked the Isis next for its lighter taste and thought the fair trade and Lindt tied for third. My older son preferred the Lindt with a “fruity aftertaste,” followed by the Isis, with the fair trade coming in last.

My husband and I had just shared a bottle of 2003 Domaine Les Pallieres Gigondas, a lush, peppery Rhone treat from Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, so perhaps it influenced our choices—unanimous for the older set on all four counts. Our favorite was the Isis because it seemed the most balanced and complex. The Lindt came second—smooth and multi-layered. The Guittard was our third choice because it seemed unbalanced and rather one-dimensional and overly forward in flavor, not surprising since the cocoa is from one region rather than a blend like the other two. The fair trade chocolate, which had seemed yummy enough when tasted alone, came out at the bottom with a rather harsh, earthy flavor. But we do appreciate that the small farmer got more of the profit out of this one. Really.

I’m thinking we might want to do a tasting with milk and semi-sweet chocolate, or perhaps an array of Guittard single region bars in the near future, because I suspect the bitterness of the 70% cocoa bars threw the results for the kids. Nothing like a good reason to taste more chocolate!

Soon to come, my thoughts on getting started writing sex scenes and erotica. It’s not as “hard” as it might seem.

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