The Best Chocolate Bar (for Gifting or Eating)

If you’re looking for a great chocolate to give friends and family that won’t break the bank, we recommend the E. Guittard Quetzalcoatl 72% chocolate bar. Six out of six blind tasters picked it as a top-three favorite out of a lineup of seven different bars. It also delighted the discerning palates of two Sweethome writers. At $2.90 for a 2-ounce bar, this is boutique chocolate flavor at a grocery store price.

One of my favorite things to give as a hostess gift is a stack of hand-selected chocolate bars from my local gourmet market. It’s fun, whimsical and shows a little more thoughtfulness than a bottle of wine purchased en route to a dinner party. But store shelves are saturated with chocolate bar options these days. With all of the choices out there, what do you get? How do you know that $4 bar of 70% is really that good? After 15 hours of research, I spoke with chocolatiers, chocolate retailers, and a 15-year veteran of the business to try and wrap my head around this mammoth subject. We whittled down 44 considerations to 16 and then seven.

Let me just say this right off the bat: Chocolate is personal. We don’t want to tell people that the chocolate they’ve been enjoying for years is bad and that they should stop buying it right now. If you know what you like, go for it! Hannah Sullivan at Alma Chocolate put it very well: “It should be delicious to the person tasting it. I try to never judge what someone thinks is ‘yuck’ or ‘yum’ — although the more someone tastes, the more sensitive they become to what they think is good.” We are just trying to shed some light on an otherwise mysterious subject and provide some tools for education and exploration. So let’s get down to it, shall we?

What do I know about chocolate?

I’ve been making my living in the world of food for about 18 years. I was a self-taught baker before attending the California Culinary Academy to beef up my chops on the savory side of things. I continued to work in restaurant kitchens in San Francisco, Austin and New York City. When I got tired of that, I became a food editor for Martha Stewart Living and Everyday Food. During this time, I’ve come across a lot of chocolate for cooking, eating and candy-making. I can pick out a high-quality chocolate quite easily, but there’s always room for more learning.

How we chose

At first, choosing which chocolate to bring in seemed like a daunting task. There is so much chocolate out there! To get a better idea of what makes great chocolate, I talked to experts like Hannah Sullivan at Alma Chocolate, Joanne Kryszek at Chocosphere, Christopher Elbow at Christopher Elbow Artisanal Chocolate, Eric Case at Valrhona and Suzie Hodon at Choco Q. They told me that to understand good chocolate is to understand how it’s made from bean to bar.

…basically, good chocolate comes from good beans that are processed with care.
There’s a whole world and story behind this which you can click here to read all about, but basically, good chocolate comes from good beans that are processed with care. And that means the company that makes the bar should have good relations with farmers and a reputation for consistently high quality.

After being initially overwhelmed by the amount of seemingly high-quality chocolatiers (everyone has a favorite), we decided to set some parameters. Chocolate bars that had extra flavors and mix-ins added were immediately out—that means no nuts, chiles, fruit, milk or salted anything. A good chocolate should speak for itself. If a company doesn’t make a plain bar, chances are it’s trying to mask the quality of the chocolate itself. Next, we decided to exclude otherwise-excellent producers that only made single-origin bars (like Dandelion in San Francisco, or Woodblock in Portland, Oregon). The reason for that: which one of the many single-origin offerings would be the right contender to bring in? It was impossible to tell; we would have to taste every offering from a single producer. Compound that by the multitude of brands selling chocolate this way, and there simply would have been way too many options to assess objectively. Lastly, we stuck with dark chocolate with cocoa percentages that ranged from 61% to 85% because that’s a good blend of flavor and sweetness that’s pleasing to most palates.

In the interest of accessibility, we wanted to be able to recommend a bar that that could be purchased easily at a store or through a reputable internet source. We also pitted cheaper grocery store brands against high-quality boutique chocolate to gauge what, exactly, the difference was between them. I really didn’t understand the difference between the same percentages of different brands until I actually tasted for myself. The differences are staggering. You really can taste the difference between a whole bean dark chocolate bar and one that has had a bunch of extra cocoa butter mixed into it. Since cocoa butter has no flavor (it’s just fat), the sugar becomes much more pronounced. Plus, the quality of the cocoa beans used to make the chocolate have much to do with the flavor. Cheap bars of chocolate comes from cheap cocoa beans.

How we tested

chocolate on foilFor our first round of tasting I recruited fellow Sweethome writer Christine Cyr Clisset and her husband to taste 16 dark chocolate bars with me on a brisk New York City evening. The first tasting wasn’t blind; it was more like three friends sitting around a table, objectively tasting and discussing. We were looking for things like mouthfeel and texture—waxy or chalky, gritty or smooth. Flavor was very important, too.1 We were looking for complex and exciting flavors or even samples that hit right in the middle with quintessential chocolate flavor. We checked for “off” or “funky” flavors.

We then chose seven finalists to advance to a blind tasting round: Green and Black’s Dark 70%, Ghirardelli’s Intense Dark Twilight Delight 72%, Valrhona’s le Noir 61%, Divine’s 70% Dark Chocolate, the El Rey Apamate Dark Chocolate 73.5%, the E. Guittard Quetzalcoatl 72%, and Michel Cluizel’s Noir De Cacao 72%.

I then invited six friends over for a blind tasting. Like the hot cocoa review, I had them make notes and rate their first, second and third-place favorites, as well as the one they liked the least. In the end, there was a clear winner, one that was called out by everyone who tasted in the first and second rounds.

Our pick

main_pickE. Guittard’s Quetzalcoatl 72% was the clear crowd-pleaser in the tasting line up. In the first tasting, we picked up on the coconut flavor immediately, but then noticed how well it melted on the tongue, letting the flavors unfold. There is a very nice sweetness-to-bitterness balance, probably due to the fact that they don’t add extra cocoa butter. This is a true whole bean bar and it’s delicious.

This was a landslide winner, as every taster put this bar in their top three.
This was a landslide winner, as every taster put this bar in their top three. The blind tasters called it “a great balance of sweet and bitter,” “slightly coconutty,” “cinnamon-y and spicy, big flavor,” and a “great all-purpose gifting chocolate.” It received three first-place votes, two second-place votes, and one third-place vote—the only chocolate bar that was favorably ranked by every taster.

E. Guittard has been crafting in chocolate in California for 135 years, and the Burlingame-based company is still family operated, unlike better-known Bay Area chocolatiers Scharffen Berger (now owned by Hershey’s) and Ghirardelli (now owned by Lindt). Guittard still takes great pride in their chocolate, using only shade-grown beans and sourcing those beans from small farmers all over the world. Developing relationships with the farmers is the best way to ensure a consistent, quality product, as the beginning stages of making chocolate are in the farmer’s hands.

A more indulgent selection

Also Great
This is a very smooth chocolate with a great ratio of sweet and bitter flavors. It's slightly fruity but has a nuttiness that balances it.
If you’re feeling a bit fancier, you might want to go for Michel Cluizel’s Noir de Cacao 72%. Joanne Kryszek at Chocosphere called this out in her list of favorite makers. This is truly a fine chocolate bar, and it’s made in Southern Normandy, France. It has a balance of sweetness to bitterness that I think is perfect; while it’s slightly fruity, it has a bit of nuttiness to balance the flavors. The mouthfeel is very smooth, with no detection of particles of sugar, and it melts evenly on the tongue. At a price of $6.25 for a 2.5-ounce bar, it is a treat for special occasions. As one of my tasters put it, “It has an earthy flavor, nutty on the finish with a light, pillowy texture—very smooth.” Other tasters thought it was “thick, almost sticky, fudgy with subtle tanginess.”

Great for eating and baking

Also Great
This chocolate has an intense flavor that adds a lot of chocolatey goodness to cooking and baking. We didn't test it against other baking chocolates, but it's our personal preference.
The most polarizing bar in our tasting line up was the Valrhona le Noir 61% bar. It received comments like, “lush chocolate, decadent,” “flavor lingers,” and “smooth texture, fruity, dense, and comforting chocolate taste.” While it got one first-place and two third-place nods, two of the tasters chose this bar as their least favorite, citing it as too sweet. We decided to call this one out as a great quality chocolate to bake with. I speak from personal experience when I say that Valrhona is one of the best chocolates to work with and Sweethome editor Ganda Suthivarakom agrees, saying “I also always choose Valrhona for cooking because it tastes chocolate-ier to me.”

Just to be perfectly clear, we did not test these chocolates in cooking applications. We just called this one out for this purpose from personal experience. Also, I really enjoy this chocolate for eating. It has superb mouthfeel and the flavor is intense. Valrhona makes blended bars in various percentages, so play around and find the one that complements your palate and baking style.

What else did we look at?

Ghirardelli Intense Dark Twilight Delight was not that great in the first tasting, but we felt that we needed a supermarket brand to advance to the blind tasting. It got a vote for second place and two votes for third place. The most common descriptive for this brand was “waxy.” Other tasters found it had a “dry, powdery feel,” “bitter finish,” but was “rich in chocolate flavor.”

El Rey Apamante Dark Chocolate 73.5% is still one of my favorites, but it didn’t get the love from the blind tasting group. All El Rey chocolate comes from Venezuela, and it is truly something to experience if you want to try 100% Venezuelan chocolate. It has a toastiness that is almost like a marshmallow straight off a campfire.

Green and Black’s 70% is a fine chocolate that’s pretty easy to find at higher-end grocery stores. It’s heavy on the red fruit and is almost overwhelmingly sour, like a mouth full dark red cherries.

Divine 70% Dark Chocolate was a hit at the first tasting, but the blind tasters felt that it was bland, with no rich flavor and even a mild “off” chocolate flavor.

Bars that didn’t make it past the first round

Chocolove 70% Dark was waxy, crumbly and had zero complexity. Actually, it had almost no flavor.

Domori Il Blend 70% is crazy intense chocolate. I loved this one, but I was out-voted by the other two first-round tasters. While I found its intense bitterness matched its perfectly velvety mouthfeel and was most pleasing, my tasting companions found it to be “tannic bitter” and “too rich, a little over the top.” It’s also really expensive at $2.50 for a 1-ounce bar.

Ritter Sport Fine Dark Chocolate 73% comes from a brand that I love purely for their whimsical fillings, but the plain dark chocolate couldn’t stand up to the more refined contenders.

It was more like Magic Shell than a bar of chocolate.
Dove Dark is so mild, it tastes purely like vanilla candy coating. It was more like Magic Shell than a bar of chocolate.

Jacques Torres Dark Chocolate 60% turned out to be pretty chalky and brittle. The flavor was a little flat in the beginning, then moved into slight nuttiness. It’s a nice bar, but not great.

Godiva Extra Dark 85% was very waxy and tasted like coffee that had been sitting on the hot plate for half the day.

Lindt 70% has an unmistakable plasticky taste and feel. They list extra cocoa butter in the ingredients, so there must be a lot of the stuff in there. The sweetness borders on cloying. One commenter called it “good Easter bunny chocolate.”

Scharffen Berger 62% was the more balanced of the two Scharffens in the mix. It was a bit subtler in the fruit, but it still was lacking in complexity.

Scharffen Berger 70% is so heavy in sour fruit overtones, it’s all you can taste. I found this imbalance off-putting.

Freshness and storage

Chocolate is best when stored in an airtight container out of the sunlight at temperatures between 65° and 68°F (big window, I know). Here are the 2 reasons why: chocolate has a lot of fat in it, and fat absorbs odors. Your pantry and refrigerator have a lot of errant smells going on and they will easily be soaked up by the chocolate. Also, humidity is the devil for chocolate; excess humidity will make chocolate “bloom” (fat solids rise to the top and create blotchy white spots). In these ideal conditions, dark chocolate can keep for a year and milk chocolate for 6 months (solid bars, not filled bonbons).

It’s best to store chocolate at climate-controlled room temperature. But not all of us have that luxury, so here’s how to refrigerate: wrap your chocolate very tightly in cling wrap, then store in an airtight container or zip-top bag and store in the refrigerator. When you are ready to use/eat it, remove from the fridge but keep it wrapped tight until it comes to room temperature. This is for 2 reasons: There is a bunch of humidity in a refrigerator, and we already established that humidity is the devil. Also, you want to keep it wrapped up while it comes up to temp so it doesn’t collect any condensation and have an altered texture.

What about bars you’ve had for a while? How do you know they’re good? Look at it and make sure it’s still shiny and hasn’t lost its temper. Any blooming is a sure sign of improper storage. Next is to taste is to see if it’s adopted any of the flavors or smells around it. Also, if it tastes stale, you know it’s old. Go buy yourself some fresh chocolate.

What makes great chocolate?

We’re not here to convince you that you should stop enjoying the Hershey’s you grew up on, but in order to better understand our picks and process, it helps to know what characterizes good chocolate from a culinary perspective.

A little more cocoa butter makes for a better mouthfeel, but too much and the chocolate becomes very sweet.
First off, let’s discuss those percentages that are so proudly displayed on packages of chocolate these days. Let’s say, for example, you have a bar of 70% in your hand. The only thing that number is telling you is that 30% of that bar is sugar, and 70% comes from the cacao bean. It says nothing about cocoa solids and fat, so a cheaper bar of 70% will have more added fat than a high-end chocolate bar. That’s not to say that added fat equals poor-quality chocolate; see our brief discussion of couverture chocolate2. A little more cocoa butter makes for a better mouthfeel, but too much and the chocolate becomes very sweet. Ideally, you want a balance of bitter to sweet, whatever that balance means for you. Also, keep in mind that percentage doesn’t say anything about quality of cocoa bean. Suzie Hodon at Choco Q says, “Percentages do not indicate quality. If an 85% chocolate is made of poor quality cacao, it’s going to be a disgusting chocolate bar.”

So, let’s say you’re holding a bar of chocolate in your hand. What’s a good checklist of quality? Well, first look at it. A good sheen and that audible “snap” when breaking it is a great indicator of proper tempering. The flavor should be complex, evolving as it melts on the tongue. Our pick starts out with intense coconut, and then moves through caramel and finishes with spicy cinnamon undertones. You shouldn’t be able to detect any particles, such as sugar crystals or cocoa solids. A smooth chocolate means better refining and longer conching.

Christopher Elbow says that when he’s tasting chocolate, he looks at flavor, first and foremost. Then he looks for a nice balance and acidity, and, of course mouthfeel. Smoothness is very important with chocolate. When talking about minimally-processed (or old-world-style) chocolate, he says, “…it doesn’t unfold on your tongue very pleasantly. If you can physically detect the particles of sugar and some of the cacao fiber on your tongue, I don’t think it’s a very good attribute of a bar. I prefer it to be very smooth, to melt homogeneously on the tongue.”

Each chocolate has its own set of flavor profiles.1 Get to know what you like about chocolate. It can be quite intimidating to read about all of the flavors that can come up in a simple piece of dark chocolate, but becoming fluent in this particular language helps when reading up on different types of chocolate, or identifying what agrees with you and what doesn’t. Chocolate can be fruity, floral, nutty, earthy, spicy or even vegetal. Our top pick has intense coconut overtones that are unmistakable as soon as the chocolate starts melting on the tongue, while Green and Black’s 70% has a strong fruity flavor reminiscent of cherries.

Wrapping it up

You can’t beat the E. Guittard Quetzalcoatl as a great crowd pleasing chocolate bar that is perfect for gifting. The price is right, it’s very accessible and its flavor profile doesn’t require a super-taster’s palate to be appreciated. So if you need a last-minute gift for that dinner party or the person you forgot to add to your list, pick up a few of these or add one to a hand-picked assortment that is sure to please.


How is chocolate made?

Making chocolate is a process, that’s for sure. Each step plays an important role in the end result. While understanding how chocolate is made doesn’t help you much while standing in front of a huge display of bars trying to decide what to buy, it’s a cool thing to know if you’re really into chocolate.

The cacao bean is the most important part of chocolate. Great chocolate cannot be made from a substandard bean.  Joanne Kryszek, an Owner at Chocosphere, put it like this: “An important factor is the bean.  Quality cacao beans are hard to find and there is a price tag to go with them.  Top notch makers buy only the best beans, whether they are Forastero, Trinitario, or Criollo.  However, just as it takes a master winemaker to make great wine from good grapes, the same goes for chocolate.  The skill and technique of the maker is almost as important as the quality of the cacao. Great makers know how to process the beans to bring out the best qualities of the bean’s genetics and geographical origin.”

There are 3 major varieties of cocoa used for chocolate production: Criollo, Forastero and Trinitario. Criollo are highly prized for its complexity. This variety is also the rarest, as the tree is susceptible to disease. About 1% of the world’s chocolate comes from Criollo, and it grows mainly in Central America.

Forastero is a heartier bean originating from Brazil. It can withstand harsher growing conditions and is farmed in south America as well as West Africa. Depending on who you ask, Forastero makes up 80% to 90% of the world’s cocoa production. This is the bean of the cheap chocolate bar—think supermarkets, gas stations, and fun Ssze. There are exceptions, of course. I was told that there are some good chocolates coming from Forastero beans, but no one could give me any examples. (Damn you, secretive chocolate industry!)

Trinitario is a hybrid of Criollo and Forastero. As its name suggests, this variety started in Trinidad 300 years ago and is responsible for roughly 5% of the world’s cocoa production. Higher-end chocolates come from this bean as it has some of the complexity of the Criollo and the heartiness of a Forastero.

But cacao variety is not the only important thing. Eric Case, key sales at Valrhona and a 15-year veteran in the business, says, “The most important thing about chocolate is where the beans come from, how the beans are grown, and water.” He also adds, “Water is food for cocoa, it’s the placenta…It actually creates the placenta which is the [white pulp] around the beans that sustains them while it grows. How the beans are grown is super important. Are they shade-grown or sun-beaten? If out in the sun, all the water will evaporate.” Basically, the more water, the better the bean.

What about bean origin? Generally speaking, beans that come from Venezuela and Madagascar are considered the best. But (and here’s that exception to the rule again) great beans are being grown in parts of the Caribbean, West Africa and other parts of Central and South America.

After the cocoa bean is harvested, the beans are removed from the pod and put through a fermentation process. This removes many of the tannins and astringency from the beans. This is a very important step in the final flavor of the chocolate. While further steps down the line in the chocolate-making process contribute to smoothing out the flavor, more care taken in the fermentation process leads to a better bar. To quote Eric Case, “Fermentation is where flavor begins.”

After the beans have been fermenting for several days, they are dried, usually in the sun on large concrete slabs. When the beans are dry, they are ready to be shipped. Some say these two processes are two of the most important in the chocolate making process when it comes to flavor development; they’re done by the farmer, not the chocolate maker. This is why the better chocolate makers have developed relationships with their growers to make sure standards are put into place and processes are done the same way every time.

Roasting comes next in the process. This is done by the chocolate maker. Although there isn’t much detail about it, roasting is where a lot of chemical reactions happen that are important to the overall flavor. This is one of those trade secret things, and chocolate makers are very tight-lipped about their procedures. The roasting step is also very important for the next step, winnowing, as roasting helps separate the germ and the shell from the the actual nib. After the beans are cooled, they are put in a winnowing machine that removes the germ and shell from the nib. After winnowing, the nib can be Dutched or alkalized. This darkens the color and mellows the flavor. Dutching is not necessary, as there are many delicious natural chocolates out in the world. To Dutch or not to Dutch is the question for the chocolate maker.

The nibs are then ground—this makes cocoa liquor, or cocoa mass. For blended chocolate (beans from different origins) this is the point in the process where the nibs will be combined. In some cases, cocoa liquor is then pressed to extract cocoa butter, the cocoa butter is then used to add to other cocoa liquor to make chocolate. The cocoa solids left behind, or the “presscake,” is ground into cocoa powder. Extra cocoa butter is commonly added to chocolate. Couverture—this is what chocolatiers and pastry chefs generally use—is a high-quality chocolate with a higher percentage of cocoa butter. Not all chocolate has extra cocoa butter added to it. There are many producers that make “bean-to-bar” chocolates without added fat. One is not necessarily better than the other. Christopher Elbow, owner of Christopher Elbow Chocolates, told me that while he enjoys a nice whole-bean chocolate bar for eating, he can’t work with it.

The cocoa liquor with or or without added cocoa butter is then mixed with sugar, emulsifier and sometimes vanilla (or other flavoring). It then goes through a refining process, which requires the mixture to go through a series of rollers until the gritty mixture turns smooth.

The mixture then goes through another process called conching. The conche rolls and kneads the chocolate mixture constantly, breaking down the particles ever smaller to create the smooth mouthfeel that chocolate is prized for. Conching can occur from anywhere between 6 to 72 hours—the longer the chocolate is conched, the better.

The final step is tempering. Tempering is crucial to the final product when talking about texture. Fine Cooking has a great explanation: “Tempering is a process that encourages the cocoa butter in the chocolate to harden into a specific crystalline pattern, which maintains the sheen and texture for a long time.” Properly tempered chocolate is glossy and when you break it, there’s an audible “snap.” Poorly tempered chocolate can have white streaks, blotchy fat “blooms” or even have a spongy interior. It would be such a shame to lose all of that hard work to a bad temper (pun intended). Jump back.

On flavors

1. When talking about fruit, it’s common to identify red fruit like berries or cherries or yellow fruit like mangoes, passion fruit or even bananas. Citrus fruit and dried fruit are also common flavor notes. Nuttiness is another common flavor profile found in chocolate. Bitter walnut, hazelnut and almond are characteristic of the Forastero bean. When we say earthy, we’re talking about aromas of soil (in a good way), musk or even mushrooms. You might get a bouquet of flowers in your nose when tasting some chocolates, violets and orange blossoms have their place in this world. There’s spice, not only the vanilla that some producers put into their bars, but cinnamon, black pepper and anise can naturally occur. All of that along with more esoteric flavors like grassiness and other vegetal flavors, exploration into chocolate can be really exciting stuff. But if you can’t taste any of that, don’t worry, as long as you’re enjoying yourself, that’s all that matters. Jump back.

2. Extra cocoa butter is added is commonly added to chocolate. Couverture—this is what chocolatiers and pastry chefs generally use—is a high quality chocolate with a higher percentage of cocoa butter. Not all chocolate has extra cocoa butter added to it. There are many producers that make “bean-to-bar” chocolates without added fat. One is not necessarily better than the other. Christopher Elbow, owner of Christopher Elbow Chocolates, told me that while he enjoys a nice whole-bean chocolate bar for eating, he can’t work with it. Jump back.

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  1. Suzie Hodon, Choco Q, Interview
  2. Hannah Sullivan, Alma Chocolate, Interview
  3. Joanne Kryszek, Chocosphere, Interview
  4. Eric Case, Valrhona, Interview
  5. Christopher Elbow, Christopher Elbow Artisanal Chocolate, Interview
  6. Shirley Corriher, Food Science: Why Temper Chocolate, Fine Cooking
  7. The Best Dark Chocolate: Our Taste Test Results, Huffington Post, August 31, 2012
  8. Lauren Deitsch, The Super-Fresh Guide to Storing Chocolate, Huffington Post, March 29, 2013
  9. Erin Zimmer, Taste Test: Dark Chocolate, Serious Eats, February 14, 2011
  10. Liz Gutman, Serious Chocolate: How to Store Chocolate, Serious Eats, August 31, 2011
  11. The world's top 10 chocolate bars, Fox News, October 15, 2013
  12. Lygeia Grace and Dawn Perry, The Best Chocolate Bars, Real Simple
  13. Sophie D. Coe and Michael D. Coe, The True History of Chocolate
  14. Harold McGee, On Food and Cooking
  15. Ron Herbst and Sharon Tyler Herbst, The New Food Lover's Companion
  • therouxdown

    What about the Endangered Species brand? I always see it in Whole Foods:

    • Michael Zhao

      It wasn’t recommended specifically by anyone we talked to and isn’t as common as, say, Ghiradelli. If you like it, then that’s all that really matters though.

  • Quiet Desperation

    I love chocolate in all it’s styles and types. I could take one of those Quetzalcoatl bars or a basic Snickers and be happy. I’m quite baffled at the hate good old milk chocolates gets in some quarters. There’s more to life than 99.9% bars of blackness that absorb all light from the room. ;-)

    Well, each to his own. Hey, there’s some who claim to not like chocolate at all, but that’s just madness. Madness, I say!

  • Rob Jeffries

    I really appreciate your tasting and review process. It’s transparent, thoughtful and to the point; also positive. Very refreshing!

    I’ve been in Specialty coffee for over 25 years. Coffee reviews, by contrast, seem ever longer, dryer and frequently, too judgemental.

    Thanks for presenting genuine knowledge and insight without snarkiness, or a bunch of self-serving bloviation that obscures instead of informing.

  • Cromulent

    Just bought some as a V-Day present for the wife. Interestingly, its substantially cheaper than the link at the top of this page implies. Hope this doesn’t mean the quality has declined since this review was written.

    • tony kaye

      Doubtful. I think it reflected the pricing around the holidays. Hope she enjoys it!

  • randomthoughts

    I really want you to compare your favorite (and I really want to try your favorite, because mine is expensive) to Amadei Chuao. It’s my favorite gifting chocolate because it’s distinctive in a super accessible way. I also made coated truffles with a 1kg brick that cost the earth and it retained its distinct character. (Amadei’s ‘premium’ chocolate, Porcelana, is OK but not distinctive.)

    I totally agreed with some of your notes on the other chocolates (Domori is distinctive but not so universally loved, Scharffen Berger 60 vs 72… it’s been years and I still remember how inedible the 72% was.)

  • Jeff Holmes

    The cheapest shipping option on Chocosphere is $10. To achieve the headline “grocery store” price, you have to buy >10 bars.

    Isn’t that pertinent to the value proposition? It is for me.