Dark chocolate reviews

Can dark chocolate be ethical, good for you and delicious?
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  • Updated:29 Oct 2008


The following products scored the best in our tests: 

What to buy
Brand Price/100g
Connoisseur’s choice
Valrhona Guanaja $14.67
Michael Cluizel Noir de Cacao $9.95
Quality at everyday prices
Lindt Excellence $3.39
Moser Roth Premium Dark (Aldi) $2
Quality with a conscience
Edel Bio $4.61
Cocolo Dark $5.49

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Our results

Chocolate The best overall was Valrhona Guanaja, followed by Michael Cluizel Noir de Cacao. Both are premium brands manufactured in France, and cost about $10–$15 per 100 grams. While these two were among the most expensive on test, a high price doesn’t guarantee a good score: Max Brenner 100% Pure and Dolfin Chocolat Noir were in the same price range and didn’t score particularly well.

Tied for third place were Lindt Excellence (also manufactured in France) and Moser Roth (German-made, available only from Aldi). These chocolates were equal top in our lay panel test and they’re a lot cheaper than the first two.

Some of the chocolates divided the panel – some loved them and some hated them. We’ve called these mixed emotions in the table.

While not at the top of the table, the organic and/or fair trade chocolates certainly held their own. Edel Bio is the best of the them, and scored well overall. Also scoring well was Aldi’s Just Organic. Unfortunately, it’s going to be discontinued and will be replaced by a fair trade organic chocolate — it might be worth giving it a try to see if it’s as good as the Just Organic.

The panel’s favourites were Cocolo, Lindt and Moser Roth (Aldi). Edel scored well among the people who like dark chocolate. The experts’ favourite, Valrhona, scored quite well, while wooden spoon honours went to Cadbury Old Gold — as it did with the experts. See the lay panel results below.

What the experts say

What the experts say about dark chocolate
Brand (in rank order) Out of 10
Tasting notes
Pack size (g) Country of manufacture Organic certified Price / 100 g ($)
Valrhona Guanaja 70% Dark Bitter 9
Good looking; rich aroma; smooth, silky texture; complex flavour with good length, clean finish.”The way dark chocolate should be.”
75 France 14.67
Michael Cluizel Noir de Cacao 72% 8.5
Shiny; texture almost perfect; not overly bitter, flavoursome, a very good chocolate.
100 France 9.95
Lindt Excellence 70% Cocoa 8
Shiny; silky texture; great cocoa flavour and aftertaste, not as complex as some, well-balanced.
100 France 3.39
Moser Roth Premium Dark 70% Cocoa 8
Fine looking; good aroma; creamy texture; not complex but well-balanced; “love the bitterness”.
125 Germany 2.00
Edel Bio Organic Extra Dark 71% 7.5
Well made, smooth; complex, with fruit and tobacco notes; good length.
80 Holland 4.61
Ghirardelli Intense Dark Twilight Delight 72% 7
Shiny, good-looking; good cocoa aroma and flavour, smoky, pleasant.
100 USA 8.95
Just Organic Dark 70% (A) 7
Shiny; good snap and melt; pleasant flavour and lingering aftertaste.
100 Germany 1.49
Cocolo Premium Organic Dark 70% 6.5
Appearance a bit dull, good flavour, smooth, “a lovely taste for a dark chocolate”.
100 Switzerland 5.49
Haigh’s Gourmet Dark 70% 6.5
Shiny with rough patches; sweet, pleasant but simple. “Lacks punch.”
100 Australia 8.00
Artisse Organic Extra Dark 71% 6
Distinct snap, smooth, slightly pasty texture, flavoursome, complex. “Good for new dark chocolate tasters.”
100 Switzerland 5.49
Droste Pastilles Extra Dark 75% 6
Shiny, looks good; pleasant tasting but simple, no stand-out flavours.
100 Holland 2.99
Green & Black’s Organic Bittersweet Dark 70% 6
A bit rough; good melt and smooth texture; good flavour, sharp aftertaste.
100 Italy 3.99
Jacques Grand Cru 72% Cacao 6
Looks smooth; slightly waxy/gritty; flavour a bit bland, stale.
100 Belgium 5.95
Max Brenner 100% Pure 70% 5
Dull appearance; excellent texture; simple, one-dimensional, unbalanced, bland.
70 Israel 15
Whittaker’s Dark Ghana 72% 5
Some rough patches; a lilttle chalky/waxy/gritty; strong cocoa; “good chocolate let down by texture”.
250 New Zealand 1.2
Cadbury Old Gold Dark 70% 4
Very sweet for a dark chocolate, unpronounced flavour. “Ordinary.”
220 Australia 1.68
Dolfin Chocolat Noir 70% De Cacao 4
A bit rough, air bubbles; bland, “very weak taste for a dark chocolate”.
70 Belgium 12.71
Mixed emotions
Dagoba Organic Conacado 73% 4-9.5
Rough-looking, waxy texture; pungent, surprising taste, “artificial”. Intense, balanced, excellent.
56.7 USA 10.49
Kaoka Noir 70% 4-8
Shiny with bubbles; waxy/gritty/crumbly; good bitterness and flavour, great cocoa flavour, “very pleasant but pedestrian”.
100 France 5.29
Nestlé Club Noir Intense 70% 5-9
Shiny with a few spots; strong cocoa aroma; smooth texture; good cocoa taste and bitterness, but a little simple. “Too sweet, commercial.”
100 Switzerland 2.99
Ritter Sport Fine Extra Dark 71% 3-7.5
Good texture; good bitterness and cocoa flavour; a bit simple, not distinct enough.
100 Germany 2.99
Scarborough Fair Organic Sinless 70% 3-8
Shiny with bubbles; reasonable snap and melt; completely dominated by caramel notes, buttery.
100 Australia 4.59

Taste test results – everyday eaters

Results – everyday eaters

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