If I had to choose between milk chocolate and dark chocolate, 10 out of 10 times I would choose milk. It’s not that I hate dark chocolate. I often don’t like the bitterness or overly fruit-forward flavors found in some bars. When you want to eat it, we recommend the smooth milky chocolate. My brother, on the other hand, is more known in our family for preferring to snack on cacao nibs and cocoa (yes, really.) He thrives on his dark chocolate. My dad lands somewhere between the two of us and my mom doesn’t like chocolate.
After much debate about the benefits of dark chocolate, my brother and I decided to give it a try. As with my previous bake-off competitions (don’t let anyone tell you these ginger molasses cookies are still popular and pumpkin bread is only for fall), a few to crown the best dark I participated in this chocolate taste-off, along with the guidelines of the grocery store’s chocolate brands.
All chocolates were tasted at room temperature and served with a palate cleanser in between. We stick to only 70% (ish) chocolate bars available at HEB Candy Isle. (Sadly, the Valrhona Dark Chocolate Bar is said to be hype-worthy, but unfortunately it wasn’t readily available.)
My brother is a dark chocolate lover, so I asked him what he was looking for when ranking these bars.
To be honest, I didn’t expect the stack of chocolate bars I chose to taste different from each other. For testing purposes, I was looking for a bar that offered a unique flavor without being too sweet or too fruity.I wanted a balance of flavors with cocoa. The real test: Which bar will you go back to for the next square? (Let’s be clear, none of us are professional chocolate tasters, we just wanted good chocolate!)
Our favorite chocolate is smooth on the tongue, not whitish or thick. Properly tempered chocolate should be crunchy, so I kept that in mind as well.
I just added it to the ranking because my brother said it was important, but I think it’s self-explanatory.
At the end of the tasting, I noticed that there were actually a few new additions to the rotation, one to reserve for carving into chocolate chip cookies, and another to stick with for buying its milk chocolate counterpart. Here are the results of our dark chocolate taste test.
Tasteoffs: The Best Dark Chocolate Brands
#6 Green and Black’s Organic 70% Dark Chocolate
I am Green and Black’s Milk Chocolate STAN. I live for it and stock up when it goes on sale at Whole Foods, so I was hoping this would rank higher than the three of us. , The taste was okay, and it tended to be a little smoky and astringent. Overall, this was just that, so ranked 6th. I will continue to promote the milk chocolate variety and save this bar for my impending chocolate chip cookie baking.
#5 Ghirardelli 72% Twilight Delight
I live for the Ghirardelli milk and caramel filled variety. However, this bar unfortunately fell short of its target. My brother found that the flavor actually leaned toward smoky, with almost licorice notes. My brother said he didn’t like the smell of this bar and it reminded me of over roasted coffee. (Send him a DM to discuss the importance of chocolate scent.
#4 Chocolove 70% Strong Dark Chocolate
Flavor-wise, this chocolate bar was okay. All three of us agreed that the fruitiness of this bar was pleasantly mild. However, I had some concerns about the texture. The chocolate didn’t melt smoothly on our tongues when we ate it. I haven’t tried the milk chocolate counterpart here, but I liked the flavor of this one, so I’m adding it to the list for comparison.
#3 Lindt 70% Dark Chocolate
We’re Abasti’s house Lindt chocolate truffle fans, so we were excited to try this bar. As a milk chocolate lover personally it didn’t bother me, but my brother said the flavor was a bit weaker than other bars. We enjoyed this bar overall and came back a time or two for an extra square.
#2 Tony’s Chocolate 70% Dark Chocolate
We’d seen it in the Trader Joe’s aisle, but had never tried Tony’s chocolate before. It tasted fresh and my brother really liked it. Personally, as a milk chocolate lover, I preferred it to be a little milder. But overall, I thought the dark chocolate flavor was good. The texture is smooth and we liked it too. I do wish the bars were a little thinner as the large clumps make it difficult to break the shards. When it comes to aesthetics, this bar was a clear winner.
#1 Perugina 70% Bitter Sweet Chocolate
Honestly, this bar was the underdog for our group. It was the only bar I ate whole during the tasting. What made it stand out was the flavor. Tasting his notes of nutty coconut, the texture is very rich and creamy. This bar isn’t bitter at all, it’s mild enough to transform someone who doesn’t like dark chocolate, and it’s the perfect bar to reach for when a chocolate craving strikes. I was shocked to find and my brother liked it too.
All in all, I think there is something out there for everyone! And even giving my brother a “I said so” moment. Coming into taste testing, I specifically said, i don’t think you’ll notice the differenceBesides, he reminded me that I haven’t tried enough different types of chocolate. He’s tried a few different varieties so he can point out what he likes and dislikes about each one, so he can try new ones that are on hand.
These are just selections from the grocery store, but there are some gourmet, little bean-to-bar options that I love.
Fossa chocolate salted egg cereal
Mal Tien Jan
Madou Chocolate Dark Rose
cantu goat milk
If you’re looking for the perfect bar with the prettiest wrapping, check out our list of the best ‘status chocolate bars’. Give people what they want this Valentine’s Day.
This post was originally published on February 20, 2021 and has since been updated.