Our staff and experts generally agreed on the pick of the dark chocolates. Alter Eco Dark Chocolate Velvet Touch of Organic Milk topped the staff panel test, with Green & Black’s coming a close second; these two tied for the top spot with the experts. Alter Eco caused a little controversy, however; its high cocoa butter content and the presence of milk mean it can’t be considered a true dark chocolate. Some of the hard-core dark chocolate lovers among the staff complained that it was “too soft and sweet for a dark chocolate” and “disappointing”.
Our in-house expert judge, Fiona Mair, also marked it down for its similarity to milk chocolate, but would have scored it well in that category. With a higher cocoa content than regular milk chocolate, it could be considered a dark chocolate for the milk chocolate lover. Green & Black’s Organic Dark Chocolate, on the other hand, is a more authentic dark chocolate.
Loving Earth deserves a dishonourable mention, with both the staff panel and experts placing it last. It is also the most expensive, at $7.90 a bar. This was the only raw chocolate in the test, included because it looks and is packaged like a traditional chocolate block. As the cocoa isn’t heated during the production process, this product isn’t going to have the same texture as regular chocolate. The agave used instead of sugar also adds to its different flavour. If eating raw food appeals to you, you may find this product appealing – just don’t expect it to be exactly like regular chocolate.
Our staff panel and experts didn’t see eye-to-eye on the milk chocolate. Cadbury Dairy Milk topped the list for the staff panel, but came bottom for the experts. With all plain Cadbury Dairy Milk blocks now carrying Fairtrade certification, it was interesting to see how it fared against the lesser known brands. Staff found it “sweet” and “pleasant” – “a good, traditional-tasting milk chocolate”. It didn’t score quite so well for some of the dark chocolate lovers in the group, who found it too sweet and tasteless – “lacking cocoa flavour”. Our experts described it as “an average chocolate bar – not unpleasant, but not top-ranking” and “commercial and ordinary, with not many redeeming features”.
The experts scored Aldi’s Just Organic Milk at the top. While they deemed Cocolo to have a more complex flavour profile, with dairy notes, Just Organic is better overall. “It’s the best value-for-money chocolate out of all of them – excellent quality for $1.99 a block,” said David Gee. It also covers all organic and Fairtrade certification bases. Green & Black’s fared quite well among the staff panel, with Just Organic claiming third place and Cocolo rounding out the bottom of the list.
USING THE TABLES Experts score each chocolate on a scale of 1-10, “1” being poor and “10” being amazing. Scores are then averaged.
Staff rank Chocolates are ranked according to staff taste test scores, with “1” being the most preferred. Ethical trade policies only refers to a company that is not fairtrade-certified, but has ethical trading policies in line with fair trade principles. Price per 100g is based on prices paid in Sydney stores in October and November, 2010