Chocolate: The Ratings

We taste the chocolate so you don't have to!

As any true chocoholic knows, true chocolate is dark chocolate. Kriss and I started getting serious about our dark chocolate after I brought home some samples from Europe. And as we started doing our tastings, we realized that we needed to make our evaluations a bit more scientific. At the very least, to record what our tastes in the stuff are. Especially so, because our tastes are running a bit on the expensive side these days.

Our system: we wanted to keep it simple and have limited our reviews to "+", "-", and "0." Plusses mean we like the stuff and would buy it again. Negatives mean that we won't. The zeros indicate that we liked it fine but won't seek it out again. Sometimes we agree. Sometimes we don't.

As of June 17, 2013, we have reviewed 113 different chocolates, and we'll update this from time to time as we go.

Date Country Manufacturer Brand Cocoa Content Paul's Review Kriss's Review Comments
5/5/06 Italy Novi Grenada 80%
+

+

Our favorite

5/15/06 Finland Fazer Exclusive 70%
0
-
5/20/06 Italy Novi Ecuador 75%
+
0
5/25/06 Holland Droste Pastilles 72%
+
+
6/30/06 France Michel Cluizel Infini 99%
-
-
Great texture and nice spiciness, but inedible
7/4/06 Italy Guido Gobino Trinidad 80%
0
-
 
7/10/06 France Michel Cluizel Grand 85%
0
+
7/17/06 France Lindt Excellence 85%
0
0
7/20/06 Germany Hachez Cocoa d'Arriba 77%
-
0
8/5/06 France Valrhona Noir Amer 71%
0
0
8/19/06 US (Hawaii) Hawaiian Host Dark Macademia ??
0
+
8/19/06 US (Hawaii) Menehune Mac Dark Macademia ??
0
0
Not enough nut taste
8/19/06 US (Hawaii) HI Chocolate Factory Dark ??
-
-
Overly sweet, artificial flavor?
8/26/06 Spain Blanxart Negro 62%
-
-
Tastes like coffee and too sweet
8/27/06 US (Oregon) Dagoba New Moon 74%
+
0
Weak start, but good finish
8/29/06 Russia Korkunov Dark 72%
-
0
Pleasant and creamy, but lacking personality
9/4/06 Italy Green and Black Bittersweet Dark 70%
+
0

Burnt taste

9/16/06 US (California) Scharffen Berger Bittersweet 70%
0
0
Moody (lots of different tastes, including simply bland)
9/23/06 US (Indiana) Endangered Species Intense Dark (w/Cocoa Nibs) 75%
0
+
Paul says dry and nibs taste gritty; Kriss says perfect blend of sweetness and flavor (nibs add interest)
9/24/06 US (New York) Godiva Extra Dark 72%
-
0
Unexceptional. Creamy but flavorless
9/29/06 Belgium New Tree Pleasure 73%
0
0
Nice, but unmotivated
9/30/06 US (California) Ghirardelli Twilight Delight 72%
+
+
Fruity, with nice sharpness
10/8/06 Columbia Nacional de Chocolates Santander 70%
+
+
Cherry tones, with some coffee taste
10/10/06 France Chocolat Bonnat Madagascar 75%
+
0
Fruity and creamy (with maple flavor)
10/12/06 Italy Amedei Madagascar 70%
+
0
Slightly acidic with fruitiness; slow to start but nice finish
10/13/06 Belgium Dolfin Noir 70%
0
0
Dry but consistent flavor; fine middle-of-the-road chocolate
10/14/06 Italy Amedei Jamaica 70%
-
-
Bland and acidic
10/19/06 Italy Domori Carenero Superior 70%
+
0
Fruity and tropical
10/28/06 Italy Amedei Ecuador 70%
0
0
Fruity but otherwise unexceptional
10/31/06 Switzerland Rapunzel Bittersweet 70%
-
+
Paul says it's dry and crumbly; Kriss says excellent bouquet and surprisingly sweet
11/4/06 Italy Amedei Trinidad 70%
0
-
Smoky beginning, strong aftertaste
11/10/06 US (Colorado) Chocolove Strong Dark 70%
-
-
Sweet, some flavor at beginning, but fades
11/11/06 Italy Amedei Venezuela 70%
?
?
Strong acidity with fruitiness, strong aftertaste [We weren't able to decide and need to get more for a rating]
11/16/06 Belgium Dolfin Noir 88%
0
+
Sweet tasting (considering the high cocoa content); sticks to throat
11/17/06 Italy Amedei Grenada 70%
-
-
Burnt coffee taste
11/17/06 Spain Valor Dark 70%
-
-
Sweet (tastes like Hershey's)
11/26/06 US (Washington) Theo Ghana-Panama-Ecuador 75%
0
-
Very bitter start, fills in with sweetness, but becomes sticky
12/1/06 US (Indiana) Endangered Species Supreme Dark 72%
-
-
Not bitter, not sweet (it has no taste at all!)
12/16/06 Germany Divine Dark 70%
0
0
Some sharpness, but no sophistication
12/28/06 US (Indiana) Endangered Species Extreme Dark 88%
0
0
Not enough flavor, but otherwise pleasant
12/29/06 Italy Giraudi Fondente 80%
0
0
Complex strong coffee flavor, sweet body and buttery aftertaste; good but very expensive
12/30/06 Switzerland Equal Exchange Very Dark 71%
+
+
Creamy and simple, well-rounded
1/1/07 France Pralus Fortissima 80%
+
-
Paul says it's fruity with a strong flavor explosion but bitter aftertaste; Kriss says it's just bitter
1/6/07 Venezuela El Rey Carenero Superior 73.5%
-
-
Aromatic and sweet, grainy texture
1/12/07 Italy Venchi Extra Bitter 75%
-
-
Fatty, pudding-like,with a strong bitter aftertaste
1/13/07 Canada Terra Nostra Intense Dark 73%
0
0
Pleasant with fruity undertones
1/20/07 Belgium Galler Noir 85%
0
0
Strong, fruity, coffee flavor
1/23/07 Ecuador Vintage Plantations Dark 75%
+
+
Very strong, nutty flavor, powerful cocoa undertones
1/28/07 Belgium Nirvana Single Origin Tanzania 70%
+
+
Subtle cherry flavor
2/2/07 France Weiss Dark 85%
-
0
Very little flavor (or at least very slow to develop!)
2/6/07 Switzerland Lindt Ecuador 75%
+
+
We both like the Ecuadorian Arriba bean
2/17/07 France Olivier Sao Tome 70%
+
0
Creamy with a coffee smell and a fruity/nutty taste
2/21/07 Belgium Cote d'Or Brut 86%
0
0
Creamy but not much falvor or personality
3/6/07 France Bernard Castelain Intense 77%
0
0
Pretty, fine, but no distinct qualities
3/10/07 US (OR) Dagoba Conacado 73%
-
0
Unremarkable
3/16/07 US (AZ) Xocai Antioxident Nuggets 70%
-
-
Dry, crunchy, and sweet
4/3/07 Holland Droste Superior 75%
+
0

Tastes like the Droste Pastilles, but more bitter and not as complex

4/5/07 France Valhrona Le Noir Extra Amer 85%
0
0
Creamy with some fruity flavor, but largely plain
4/19/07 US (VT) Lake Champlain Sao Thome 70%
-
-

Very sweet

4/28/07 Spain Chocovic Ocumare 71%
-
0
Strong and promising start, but never develops
5/11/07 US (CA) Scharfen Berger Extra Dark 82%
+
+

Nice flavor, sherry-like

5/18/07 Switzerland Chocolat Stella Noir 72%
-
+
Paul says it has no flavor, but Kriss loves the nibs!
5/19/07 Germany Hershey's Reserve - Sao Tome 70%
0
+
Creamy with mild fruity flavor. No aftertaste
6/2/07 France Bernard Castelain Macaibo 70%
-
-
Sweet start but doesn't go anywhere
6/16/07 Holland Droste Barettini 72%
0
0
Sweet
7/7/07 France Michel Cluizel Tamarina 70%
+
+
Strong burnt start with sweetness building over time. Unique!
8/3/07 France Pralus Trinidad 75%
0
0
Nice beginning but fades out
8/10/07 Belgium Cafe Tasse Extra Noir 77%
-
0
Flavorless start; Kriss says it gets "cocoa-ey"
10/9/07 Ecuador Vintage Plantations Dark 90%
-
-
Very bitter
10/12/07 Italy Slitti Gran Cacao 73%
0
0
Pleasant but unremarkable
10/13/07 Germany Schokinag Bittersweet 72%
+
0
Rich & fruity, but Kriss says it's plain
11/27/07 Italy Domori Puertomar Venezuela 75%
+
+
Bright cherry taste with coffee undertone
12/15/07 France Chocolat Bonnat Hacienda El Rosario 75%
0
+
Creamy and buttery
12/22/07 Switzerland Art Bar Dark 58%
-
-
Fruity, but not chocolatey
1/11/08 France Michel Cluizel Noir de Cacao 72%
+
0
Strong coffee flavor, but weak beginning
1/12/08 Italy Maglio Cuba 70%
0
0
Very creamy and smooth, but mild flavor
1/15/08 Belgium Nirvana Sao Thome 70%
+
0
Very strong burnt start with strong fruit flavor
1/17/08 Germany Vivani Organic 72%
0
0
Understated and unremarkable
1/19/08 US (California) SF Chocolate Factory Dark 72%
-
0
Plain but "non-offensive"
1/29/08 Japan Van Houten Dear Cacao 57%
-
-
Weird non-chocolate taste
2/2/08 US (California) Sjaak's Dark ?
-
-
Very Sweet
2/9/08 US (Washington) Theo Ivory Coast 75%
-
-
Bland and sweet
2/17/08 US (Oregon) Dagoba Milagros 68%
0
0
Fruity, but no outstanding characteristics
4/19/08 US (Washington) Theo Ghana 84%
-
-
Bland
5/2/08 Poland Goplana Gorzka 60%
-
-
"Tastes like cheap Easter Egg chocolate"
5/10/08 US (Washington) Theo Venezuela 91%
-
-
Flavorless
5/27/08 US (California) Scharfen Berger Antilles 75%
+
0
Creamy, with a citrus-like zing
5/30/08 US (Indiana) Endangered Species Organic 70%
-
-
Too sweet
8/24/08 Canada Botticelli Signature 70%
-
-
Dull
9/30/08 US (Wisconsin) Omanhene Dark 80%
+
+
A little dry, but complex taste (with a pleasant series of notes)
10/26/08 Canada Laura Secord Extreme Dark 70%
+
0
Fruity with sweet offsets to the bitter (Kriss was less enthused and says it was "inoffensive")
12/22/08 Canada Cadbury Premium Dark ?
-
-
Sweet milky flavor
1/3/09 Canada Laura Secord Extreme Dark 85%
0
0
A little gritty, with some nice undertones
1/14/09 US (Missouri) Askinosie Chocolate Soconusco 75%
0
+
Nice packaging, but we split on the taste (Kriss says it has a slow start and develops complexity, while Paul felt it didn't go anywhere)
1/26/09 US (Minnesota) Rogue Hispaniola 70%
+
+
Strong fruity flavor, with a series of flavors that appear in sequence. Buttery texture and nuanced flavor.
2/6/09 US (Massachusetts) Taza Stone Ground Organic 70%
-
-
Very grainy and a bit sweet
3/7/09 US (Missouri) Askinosie San Jose Del Tambo 70%
0
+
Nice packaging, buttery and fruity
5/1/09 US (Minnesota) Rogue Sambirano 70%
+
+
Strong citrus flavor and creamy texture. More aggressive than Hispaniola.
6/6/09 Estonia Kalev Dark 72%
-
0
Malty sweetness (more like chocolate sauce)
9/12/09 Austria Choco-Luna Cocoa 70%
0
0
Sheep's milk. Kriss says spicy (from the Bourbon); Paul says fruity
9/27/09 US (California) Newman's Super Dark 70%
+
+
Strong fruity taste.
12/19/09 US (Missouri) Bissinger's Dark 75%
-
-
Bland, with a coffee taste
3/13/10 Ecuador Pacari Raw 70%
0
0
Quite dry, fermented taste
11/28/10 Switzerland Maestrani Bittersweet 70%
0
0
Malty and not particularly chocolately (our sample was old)
12/19/10 Ecuador Pacari Los Rios 72%
0
0
Fruity undertone, with overall smoky flavor
1/15/11 Venezuela El Rey Gran Saman 70%
0
+
Not overly sweet, with a strong fruity flavor
4/30/11 Germany Grandessa Origin: Sao Thome 75%
0
0
Strong cocoa flavor
7/30/11 Germany Grandessa Origin: Equador 72%
0
+
Frgrant and fruity, with a pleasantly bitter undertaste
12/3/11 US (Minnesota) BT McElrath Dark 70%
0
0
Sweet cherry
1/22/12 Switzerland Governor's Choice Dark 72%
-
0
Bland, more mellow than 72% implies
5/13/12 US (Wisconsin) Gail Ambrosius Nibs 70%
0
+
Strong roasted flavor
4/22/13 US (Oregon) Moonstruck Dark 68%
0
0
Weak start, nice finish
6/17/13 US (California) E Guittard Quetzalcoatl 72%
0
+
Well rounded, with some sort of undercurrent giving it some muddiness
         
 

Return to Paul's Home Page