Chocolate Sunday – The Results of our Chocolate Tasting!

Last Sunday, as part of a brunch with friends, I planned a “chocolate tasting.” The impetus, which I wrote about in last Sunday’s blog post, was a sale on Vivani organic chocolate bars.

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Organic Cappuccino – the surprise winner!

I had bought eight of them: Organic Cappuccino, Organic Dark Cassis, Organic Dark (71 percent cacao), Organic Dark Mint, Organic Milk Hazelnut, Organic Dark Orange, Praliné, and Organic Milk.

There were seven of us at brunch, and the first order of business was to figure out in what order to taste the chocolate. The consensus, more or less, was milk before dark, in ascending order of cacao content.

I think in future, I’d save mint for last, because it had the strongest flavour. None of us had done this kind of tasting before, but as we went along, we figured out what type of things we should be taking note of: sweetness, creaminess, texture, mouthfeel, flavour, aftertaste, smell, and “chocolatiness.”

Although we didn’t agree on our ratings for each individual chocolate bar, our unanimous favourite was the Organic Cappuccino. This came as a big surprise. Not only is this a milk chocolate bar – and my friend Marlene said at the outset that she’s a dark chocolate person (like me) – but each square is topped with a layer of white chocolate, which doesn’t necessarily “count” for chocolate lovers. Personally, I thought it would detract from the taste.

But the creamy sweetness of the chocolate combined with the mild bitterness of the coffee won us all over.

I was a little taken aback at the sugar content listed on the label. Um, 47 grams for the cappuccino… but that’s per bar. Fortunately, the bars are made up of small squares.

It was also interesting to note that the plain dark chocolate bar is much higher in iron than its milk chocolate counterpart, 40 percent (for the entire bar) compared to 8 percent of the (recommended) daily value, according to the label. The plain dark chocolate is also significantly lower in sugar than our “winner,” at 24 grams for the entire bar. These are also things I take into consideration.

The Organic Dark Cassis – the one I thought would be my favourite – is a filled dark chocolate that at least one of us found overly sweet (53 grams of sugar per bar!). We preferred the unfilled bars – a matter of personal taste – and found the Organic Dark Orange (solid, not filled) to be tasty, yet subtle in flavour. “It’s very nice,” was one comment.

Our friend Sheldon summed up the tasting this way: “It was an interesting chocolate experience.”

It was fun.

Chocolate Sunday – A Chocolate Tasting!

Sometimes I think I’ve been a bad influence on my husband, who used to be  content to snack on Shredded Wheat – dry, eaten straight from the box.

These days, I’m not above hiding special chocolate from him if I don’t want it to disappear.

vivaniThat’s what I did a little over a week ago, after a shopping trip to Ambrosia Natural Foods, where I found 100-gram (3.5-ounce) Vivani organic chocolate bars on sale for $2.22 each.

Too tempting to pass up, but which of the nine sale-priced items to buy? I thought about picking two or three that looked the most appealing, but then I remembered that we were planning to have brunch today with our friends Sheldon and Marlene, and – as it turns out – three of four of our grown-up kids (our two, and one of theirs). I wouldn’t be the only chocolate-lover at the table.

I had an idea: a “chocolate tasting” would be an excuse to buy more. I came home with eight chocolate bars – Organic Cappuccino, Organic Dark Cassis (!), Organic Dark (71 percent cacao), Organic Dark Mint, Organic Milk Hazelnut, Organic Dark Orange (!), Praliné, and Organic Milk. I think the ninth option was a white chocolate variety – not in the same category.

I’ll have to take notes, and report back later… This should be fun!