Chocolate! How Far will you Go?

I had to replenish our chocolate supply. Down to just a few chocolate covered almonds and espresso beans, it was time to restock. We’d converted to dark chocolate ages ago, given reports that it—like drinking red wine— promotes good heart health and more. Of course, like all dieting, moderation is stressed. Binging on chocolate, no matter its hue, isn’t going to do anything good.

Health aside, I love chocolate. I keep a few bars around, some flavored, some nutty, some plain. I break off a little chunk and have a quick nibble on the run. (These are the calories that don’t count, right?)

So it was alarming to read that prices for dark chocolate are rising thanks to the lack of rain that affected the cocoa bean harvest. Yet like many luxury products, price increases don’t always turn customers away. And chocolate is chocolate.

Growing up, I ate those Hershey’s Milk Chocolate squares. My father ate the ones with peanuts and my mother liked the dark chocolate, something I never understood, deciding it must be an adult taste. I loved Mounds bars and milkshakes made with Hershey’s syrup and that probably covered my chocolate menu. By high school, I started eating hot fudge sundaes with my best friend Kathy; it was the only way to solve our multitude of problems.  And then there was the time my sister Madeline and I ate an entire cartoon of Heavenly Hash ice cream one day after school. Well, that was then.

Now, not only do I need to select flavors, I need to consider percentages of cocoa present. The higher amount of cocoa; the better for you. Unlike my devout loyalty to specific cold cereals, ketchup and mayonnaise brands, I haven’t developed a one-brand must- have chocolate. I can take risks now and then.

So I bought a bunch at different percentages and did some taste testing.  Forget anything above 70%.  They’re dry, bitter, acidic and non-chocolaty.  60-65% is tolerable.  Milk chocolate—way down in cocoa percentage- is still yummy.  White chocolate isn’t really chocolate; it’s been refined so much there’s no cocoa left. But it does make a superb mousse with raspberries.

I sent my husband shopping recently with a short list that included baking chocolate, figuring he’d return with the Baker’s unsweetened. Instead, he found dark baking chocolate made by Ghirardelli.  343_600_1I used it in brownies; fudgy and divine.

What’s your favorite chocolate? How high will you for in percentages of cocoa?

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About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. (www.educationupdate.com). I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, www.smithsonian.com. (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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39 Responses to Chocolate! How Far will you Go?

  1. Alex Compton says:

    My favorite is from a local confectioner – Gourmas, with shops in Newark and Granville. And I still like milk chocolate the best. Now I’m craving some…thanks Lisa!

    Like

  2. Nancy C-J says:

    Yum! Rich and I recently discovered Trader Joe’s Dark Belgium Chocolate. Really really good and 1/2 the price of brands from Shoprite. One square a night is our ration and boy, do we look forward to it!

    Like

  3. Stella Sormani says:

    My favorite is Lindt dark ( no cocoa percentage given) with sea salt- it’s amazing.

    Like

  4. Chocolates are different. Some are bad! Don’t know if youremember the study that was done a few years agon chocolate. Munson’ s chocolate, manufactured in Bolton Ct.s high as some finre belgian chocolates. Remember the film, “Chocolate” and the chocolate laced with chilli? I put chilli in my cocoa. Hmm! Could go a cup of cocoa now.

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  5. Errors- On chocolate, Bolton, Ct. Munson;s chocolate, available at Madison Flower

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  6. OmaOrBubby says:

    I like little Hershey kisses. 2 of them and I’m satisfied. Yum. Also the Hershey bars of course. Fancy chocolate, such as the girhadelli and others don’t do much for me, although if it’s there – I will eat it. Lol
    I remember Barton’s chocolates that came in a rectangular box and you had a medley of different fillings.

    We have a See’s factory near our home and we drive by and smell the aroma!! Ahhh. They sell See’s in the supermarkets!!

    Remember the Lucy show where she works in a chocolate factory? For some reason I’m picturing that scene now!!!

    Delicious post!

    Like

  7. Kathy Jackson says:

    Just sent Monica’s Chocolates for a birthday gift! A hot fudge sundae; solved many teenage problems.

    Kathy

    Like

  8. May I please be invited to your next chocolate tasting party? Let’s pair each yummy tiny morsel with wine too! I am not a purist, I’ll eat anything chocolate, but love the Ghiradelli bites with sea salt and nuts.

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  9. I like the dark chocolate fruit and nut bar!

    Like

  10. Meryl Baer says:

    If you are ever in Lancaster County stop by the Wilbur Chocolate store in Lititz. The freshest chocolate and the Wilbur buds are divine, both milk chocolate and dark chocolate (my preference).

    Like

  11. Hold your groan, but I’m not a chocolate fan… I like Reeses, and occasionally there’s a bar that has Indian spices, that I like as well. Otherwise, I’m the black sheep in my chocolate loving family… I do love brownies, but Betty Crocker. 😉

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  12. I must have a gene that controls tastes: if you tell me something is good for me I will love it. So nothing under 70% cocoa for me. To my tastebuds milk chocolate isn’t tempting at all. I agree with Nancy C-J, that Trader Joe’s has a very good (and thick) chocolate bar with almonds.

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  13. hugmamma says:

    Great post! I’ve not yet had breakfast…but where’s my chocolate? Hmmm…

    Like

  14. nkapovic says:

    Reblogged this on Change of Heart and commented:
    Yes! It is possible to indulge and achieve a healthy heart. Moderation is key!

    Like

  15. I’m with you on the high percentage chocolate. Too high, and it’s just not tasty. I’ve always liked the dark chocolate best, and have even enjoyed it in the sugar-free versions, now that my husband (a TRUE sugar lover, and super slim) and I are trying not to overindulge on sugar.

    I hate, and always have, all cereals. Still, I eat my cold, all-natural, high grain one every day because. . . it’s good for me.

    Like

    • Someone told me to put the fruit in the bowl before the cereal and then you use less cereal, and it doesn’t get soggy so quickly. I love cold cereal– loaded with fruit and granola.

      On Wed, Oct 2, 2013 at 9:07 AM, cyclingrandma

      Like

  16. Fun post! There really must be a chocolate gene. I married into a chocolate loving family. Triple chocolate everything. I would always prefer cheesecake to chocolate cake, pralines ‘n’ cream to fudge brownie ice cream, a Payday candy bar to a Hershey bar, peanut M&Ms to plain. But that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate good chocolate. Things being as they are, I prefer milk chocolate to the dark, and enjoy white chocolate, even though it doesn’t seem like real chocolate. But I still do appreciate chocolate.

    Like

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