If I had to choose between milk chocolate and dark chocolate, i would choose milk 10 times out of 10. However, here i am, knee deep in dark chocolate bars trying to name the best dark chocolate brand. Not that i don’t like dark chocolate, i am more often than not fond of the bitterness or overly fruity flavors that some bars have. I prefer soft milk chocolate for cravings. My brother, on the other hand, is more known in our family for preferring snacking on cacao nibs and cacao. (Yes, really) He gorges himself on dark chocolate. My dad arrived somewhere between us, and my mom, well, she’s not even into chocolate.
After a heated discussion about the merits of dark chocolate, my brother and I decided it was time to get a taste of the chocolate. Much like my previous competitions (this Ginger molasses cookies Still a favorite and don’t let anyone tell you Pumpkin bread Just for fall), we hit on that chocolatey taste with a few guidelines to crown the best dark chocolate brand from the grocery store.
Arrangement of guardrails
All chocolates were tasted at room temperature and served with palate cleansers in between. We just stuck to the 70% (ish) chocolate bars that were available at HEB candy aisle. (Sadly, while I was told Valhrona Dark Chocolate Bar was worth all the hype, it was unfortunately not readily available.)
Since my brother is a connoisseur of dark chocolate, i asked him what he was looking for in an arrangement of these bars. That’s what he said.
Honestly, I wasn’t expecting any of our select chocolate bars to taste so different from one another. But during the process, I was pleasantly surprised to discover distinct differences in flavor. For the purposes of our taste testing, we were looking for a bar that offered its own unique flavor without the sweet or fruity aftertaste. We wanted to balance the flavors with cocoa. The real test: What bar do we go back to for another square? (Let’s be clear, none of us are chocolate gourmets, so we just wanted chocolate that tasted good!)
We all agreed that our favorite chocolate is smooth on our tongues, not chalky or chunky. Properly tempered chocolate should have a pleasant flavour, so we also kept that in mind.
I only added this to my ranking list because my brother said it was important, but I feel like it’s self-explanatory.
At the end of our tasting, I actually found myself with a few new toppings for my course, some of which I’ll be saving for chopping Chocolate chip cookies, and some of which I’ll stick to buying their milk chocolate counterparts. So without further ado, here are the dark chocolate taste test results.
Taste-Off: The best dark chocolate brand
#6 Organic Green & Black Dark Chocolate 70%
I’m from Green and Black’s Milk Chocolate STAN. I live for it and am stocking up on it when it goes on sale at Whole Foods, so I was hoping this product would be a notch above what it was between the three of us. The flavor was okay, leaning towards smoke and a bit astringent, according to my brother. The texture was also good, we were hoping for a little more smoothness while eating it. Overall, this ranked #6 because it was exactly that, just okay. I will continue to increase the variety of milk chocolate though and save this bar for some impending chocolate chip baking.
#5 Ghirardelli 72% Twilight Delight
I live for Ghirardelli’s milkshakes and caramel-stuffed ones. Record me all day every day. But this bar unfortunately missed the mark. My brother noticed that the flavor actually tends to be smoky and has an almost licorice note to it. A review came from my dad saying it’s a bit bitter with a fruity flavour. My brother exclaimed that he did not enjoy the aroma of this bar, reminding him of the overly roasted coffee. (Feel free to DM to discuss the importance of aroma in chocolate.) Again, this bar is nothing to write home about but would find a nice home in some cookie dough.
#4 Chocolove 70% Strong Dark Chocolate
Flavor-wise, this chocolate bar was just okay. We all agreed that the fruits of this bar was light enough to be fun. However, in terms of texture, we had some misgivings. The chocolate did not melt as smoothly on our tongues as we ate it. I wouldn’t call it completely chalky, but overall we just wanted a little more textual enjoyment from this bar. I haven’t tried the milk chocolate counterpart here, but will add it to the list for comparison since i love the flavor of this one.
#3 Lindt 70% Dark Chocolate
We are big fans of Lindt chocolate at Avasthi’s house, so I was excited to try this bar. The flavor definitely leans towards the milder, sweeter side. As a fan of milk chocolate, i personally didn’t mind it, but my brother described it as a bit weaker in flavor than some of the other bars. The texture though was smooth with a nice shot of tape. We enjoyed this bar overall and went back once or twice for an extra box.
#2 Tony’s Chocolonely 70% Dark Chocolate
I’ve actually never tried any of Tony’s chocolates before, though I’ve seen them in the aisles of Trader Joe’s before. This chocolate had the boldest, most fruity flavor out of all the bars we tried. It tasted bright, and my brother really enjoyed it. Personally, as a milk chocolate person, I would have liked it to be a bit milder. But overall, I thought the flavor was good for the dark chocolate. The texture was soft and we all liked it too. We wish the tape was a little thinner, as larger pieces make it harder to break off a piece. and packaging? This bar was a clear winner when it came to beauty.
#1 Perugina 70% Bittersweet Chocolate
Honestly, this bar was the underdog of our group, so we were all bummed that we enjoyed it so much. It was the only bar we ate entirely during our tasting. What sets it apart is the flavour. It has rich nutty tasting and coconut flavors while the texture is very rich and creamy. Not at all bitter, this bar is mild enough to convert any dark chocolate hater, and the perfect bar to reach for when chocolate cravings strike. I was shocked to find a dark chocolate bar that i would actually buy again and that my brother loved it too. Lesson learned, never count as an underdog.
All in all, I think there is something for everyone! And I’ll give my brother an “I told you so” moment. Going into the taste test, I specifically said, I don’t think I will notice any difference. And it reminded me of, “You never try enough different types of chocolate.” He was right. Now that I’ve tried several different ones, I’m able to point out the things I liked and didn’t like about each one, which keeps me open to trying new ones on hand.
While these are just a grocery store selection, I have more delicious, mini-grain options that I love:
Fossa Salted Egg Chocolate Breakfast Cereal
Maru Tian Jian
Mado chocolate rose dark
Kanto goat’s milk
And if you are looking for that perfect ribbon with the most beautiful packaging, Consult our list of the best “chocolate bars”. Give people what they want this Valentine’s Day, am I right?
This post was originally published on February 20, 2021, and has since been updated.