One evening last summer, inspired by the chocolate bar display at PCC in Edmonds, WA, I decided to create a tasting of three of the bars for my husband and myself. I arranged the bite-sized pieces and bars as you see in the photo. Then, we started in (this was dessert on a warm evening after dinner). As we analytically let the morsals melt in our mouths, I made a few notes about the qualities of these three bars with similar cacao content. Thinking that I had long ago tossed out my notes, I never posted our amateur findings. My notes showed up in a kitchen drawer a couple of weeks ago, so here you have them:
Ghirardelli Intense Dark Evening Dream 60% Cacao
The most aromatic; rich, but not a very complex flavor (no artificial flavors); thinner bar breaks nicely; most economical
Perugina Bittersweet Chocolate 60% Cacao
Inferior, dirt-like aftertaste; artificial vanilla (vanillin); added milkfat detracts from cacao richness; classic European packaging is handsome
Moonstruck Dark Chocolate 68% Cacao First Place Award
Complex flavor with coconut and blackberry notes; no artificial flavors; fun graphics on the package; the 68% cacao content probably plays a big part in this bar being the top choice in this limited tasting event
Once we had eaten our fill, the bars were put away, to be nibbled at now and then during that week. My husband commented that when he ate the chocolate without being in critic mode, even the Perugina bar tasted just fine, thank you.