Chocolate Obsession

Up until a couple of years ago I didn’t eat chocolate. For me, it was about as appealing as coffee and lobster – I just didn’t see what all the fuss was about (and I know that sounds crazy for an Islander to say). Then I tried some dark chocolate, and now I am hooked! I must say, I still don’t get very excited about “normal” chocolate; it’s the dark stuff I like, and the darker the better. Shoppers Drug Mart has become my purveyor of choice, offering several different brands. My favourite is Côte d’Or’s Brut (86% cocoa), followed by Lindt’s 85% and Poulain’s Ultime noir (86%). I do also like those brands’ 70% offerings, but any less than 70% and it starts getting way too sweet for my taste. The folks at Just Us! have a 70% Dark Chocolate bar which is good, and I love that their chocolate is organically grown and fairly traded. I just wish they offered an 85% bar as well.

The way I enjoy chocolate is to savour it slowly, letting each piece melt in my mouth. I can make half a bar last the whole 30 minute drive home after work. I don’t understand why anyone would want to chew good chocolate – why not enjoy it for as long as you can?

Interestingly, while writing this post I have discovered something a little unnerving. Côte d’Or is now owned by Kraft Foods, and Poulain by Cadbury. Although both chocolatiers have been around for a very long time (since the 19th century), they have succumbed to the notion that “growth is more”, and have allowed themselves to be swallowed up by huge multinational corporations who can arguably better promote their product internationally. I say “arguably” because Lindt, with similarly auspicious beginnings, has managed on their own to grow into a company that boasts huge international distribution with nearly a billion Swiss Francs in worldwide sales. I find it worrisome to see a small company align themselves with something larger (as in Seaman’s by Pepsi). Will the products retain their same quality, or will they evolve into something more “marketable” in response to the new owners’ wishes? I guess if I’m really serious about this, I will boycott the big boys (like I already do with WalMart) and support the little guy who I know promotes the tenets of environmental responsibility and social JustUs! You can have your chocolate and your principles too!

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11 Responses to Chocolate Obsession

  1. The square-shaped “Ritter Sport,” especially the “Dark Chocolate with Whole Hazelnuts,” also for sale at Shoppers, is a good nutty chocolate experience. I usually consider nuts and chocolate to not be a good pairing, but this one works for some reason.

    My mother bought me a small bar 90% cacao chocolate this summer — I’m as much of a chocolate snob as the next guy, but 90% was just too much for me, more like flavoured cement than chocolate.

    Next time you’re looking for a different chocolate experience try this: have a couple of Fisherman’s Friends lozenges, then go to City Cinema and have a dark Zero bar. It will send cool shivers down your spine.

  2. Nuts and chocolate work for me. There is a President’s Choice bar I get occasionally – dark chocolate with almonds. It’s a huge bar – 400 g I think (for $3.99, brown wrapper with gold trim). It’s not great quality – more of a “chewing” bar rather than a “slow savour” bar – but I do enjoy it.

    I saw a 99% cocoa bar at Shoppers this summer (by Lindt), and was tempted, but I figured it might be too much of a good thing, so I chickened out. Also, I recalled a childhood incident which may have been the reason for my chocolate abstinence for a good part of my life. I had sneaked a piece of my mom’s Baker’s Secret chocolate into the basement to eat. This stuff is meant for baking, not eating (as the name implies). Even worse, the piece I had pilfered came from the box of unsweetened chocolate. It was hugely disgusting. But I couldn’t very well return the piece to it’s box with a bite out of it, so I sat there in the basement and got rid of the evidence in the only way I could think of – by forcing the whole thing down. I couldn’t even look at a Baker’s Secret box for weeks, and to this day, that taste sensation remains a very vivid memory.

  3. Laura (McBurnie) Sylvis says:

    Try the Cocoa Camino dark chocolate – it’s fair trade and organic and yummy. (Especially the mint flavor, though I can’t find that on the Island.)

    Oh, and hi! I just surfed on in from Mom’s bookmarks while visiting for the weekend. 🙂

  4. Susan Arbing says:

    Hi Dale,

    I just discovered some excellent dark chocolate by accident and remembered that you had posted about your choclate obesession. I thought you might be interested.

    It’s Just Us fair trade chocolate and comes in a couple of flavours–dark, milk and a few others. I’m not sure if you can get in Charlottetown, but here in Halifax you can get it at the Quinpool Superstore, Planet Organic and Home Grown Organic Foods (where I discovered it).

    Hope you get a chance to try it out.

  5. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any place in Charlottetown that sells Just Us! chocolate bars. I’ll keep my eyes open and post updates if I find places. My mom is a big supporter of Just Us! She takes orders for coffee from people in the community, and sends in big orders (direct to Just Us!) every couple of months. I think if your order exceeds $200, the shipping is free. I got her to order a box of the dark chocolate for me one time – there were 15 bars in the box (that’s 15 hours of enjoyment – see initial post above), and it worked out to $2.50 per bar (compared to the retail price of $3.49). She must have ordered an extra box because the whole family got a dark bar from her for Christmas! Buying Fair Trade appeals to Mom’s sense of what is right, and when she takes on a cause, look out!

    Speaking of Christmas: over Christmas Andrea gave me a couple of bars of Dagoba chocolate – two flavours: Conacado 73% and Xocolatl 74%. The Conacado was very nice – lots of character. The Xocolatl contained chilies, and made for a very interesting flavour sensation. I liked both! Dagoba has quite a few different flavours, which you can purchase on their website if you can’t find it in a store. I would love to try the Lavender/Blueberries and Raspberries/Rosehips flavours. Don’t they sound amazing! Dagoba is “Dedicated to the Art of Chocolate Alchemy: Transforming cacao into exquisite chocolate through Full Circle Sustainability that blends quality, ecology, equity & community.” Thank you, Andrea, for introducing me to this great chocolate!

    Update – Feb. 13, 2007 – The Superstore in Charlottetown sells Just Us! chocolate bars for $3.49.

  6. Andrea says:

    I’m glad you liked the Dagoba chocolate bars, Dale. I thought I gave you a lavender bar too – I was at the store where I bought them over the weekend (The Mercantile on College Street) and they have a number of different flavours. I’ll get some and we can have a tasting the next time I’m home (which will probably be sooner than later).

    I’ve also been enjoying Green & Black’s organic chocolate lately – can you get it in the Maritimes? It’s British. They have a Maya Gold bar that has orange and cinnamon that I like. Lately, too, I’ve been experimenting with hot chocolate – using really good cocoa and adding things like cayenne and cinnamon to it. I love spiced chocolate.

  7. I found Green & Black’s at Sobeys in Charlottetown for only $2.99. I’d seen it before (for $5.00 or more), at Pete’s Frootique in Halifax (where everything is overpriced) and at Planet Organic, and although it appealed to me, I couldn’t justify spending that much cash on a chocolate bar. So I was glad to find it at Sobeys. And it is REALLY GOOD CHOCOLATE! They had a few of G&B’s many flavours there. I got the Dark 70% and the Dark with Ginger (you have to try it!). I also bought the Mint for Sandy (I can’t eat it because it contains wheat syrup – ?). She says it’s OK – mint chocolate is not really her thing. Green & Black’s chocolate is organic (but only their Maya Gold is fair trade). I will definitely be buying more Green & Black’s!

  8. I went to Shoppers Drug Mart the other day and bought a boxed collection of Guylian chocolates, Guylian Solitaire (150g). They were being cleared out: regular $5.99, on sale for $3.29, actually rang in at the cash for $2.49! Good bargain! and very tasty chocolate. The box includes 30 individually wrapped chocolates, 10 each of their Asian Dark (56%), Aztec Gold (65%) and African Ebony (70%) flavours. I see on the Guylian website that they only list the 45g and 250g sizes, which must mean that Shoppers was clearing them out because the 150g size has been discontinued. Their being individually wrapped may deter the staunch environmentalist – I thought I was one, but it seems that getting a great deal on chocolate trumped my green heart. Oh dear…

  9. andrea says:

    Boyzo Dale, your chocolate addiction is really getting out of control! What do the kids think? Do they like chocolate? I don’t remember loving chocolate when I was a kid like I do now.

    I haven’t had Guylain before – there is another kind I get at Shoppers Drug Mart, the name escapes me – but I don’t think any of the chocolate sold at Shoppers is fair trade is it? (not that it stops me, unfortunately)

    I’m going to the Mercantile in the morning to get some Dagobas to take with me to Charlottetown. Any requests?

  10. Dale says:

    A long overdue answer to your question, Andrea: the kids LOVE dark chocolate. Maybe not as much as I, but they certainly won’t turn it down if offered!

    Shoppers has two Cocoa Camino flavours, Dark and Milk (as does the Superstore). These, perhaps because they are organic and/or fair trade, are located in the Natural Foods section, rather than the regular chocolate section of the store.

    And thank you, Andrea, for bringing the Dagoba Lavender/Blueberries and the Lime (with Macadamia nuts) bars for me to try. The flavours are subtle, but very very nice! Dagoba is great!

    Incidentally, JustUs! have added some new flavours to their lineup: Midnight Mint bar (42 g – Peppermint-spiked dark chocolate), Dark Chocolate Almond bar (35 g), and Dark Chocolate-covered Almonds (114 g pouch). I’ve ordered the almonds through my mom. Chocolate-covered almonds always reminds me of selling chocolate bars at school as a kid. This is the first time I’ve ever seen them with dark chocolate – I can’t wait to try them!

  11. Pingback: Making Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups « Dale Sorensen’s Blog

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