(Last updated May 26, 2016)
Wow! There are some great ones out there! And I still manage to discover new ones, as those of you who’ve been watching this page know – my ratings get updated and new chocolates are added regularly. Many thanks to those of you who have sent in suggestions for new ones to try!
My taste, however, is very specialized, and I make no excuses! The only varieties of chocolate that make it into this table are pure, dark (at least 50% cocoa), unadulterated gourmet chocolate bars. (That doesn’t mean I never eat anything else… that Snickers bar can sure taste good after a 6-hour climb to the peak of a mountain… it just won’t make it into this rating since I consider it, along with other processed chocolate treats, to be “candy ,” not chocolate.)
Initially, I found many of these chocolates during my travels to Europe. Fortunately, most of the good ones are available now through online merchants. Notably, www.chocosphere.com carries the full line of Valrhona, Michel Cluizel, Amedei, Domori, Scharffen Berger, Cote d’Or and Cafe Tasse varieties. The excellent Italian line of Amedei chocolate is also available at www.amedei.it
These rankings are somewhat fluid and depend on my daily whims and preferences as I taste these chocolates under different conditions. So you may see a few changes in the exact order of the top few chocolates over time, but they generally stay at the same rating value. For example, a “10” will stay a “10,” and not change to a “10-” or a “9+,” etc.
Generally, I prefer the very deep, complex, non-milky flavor and smooth texture of the top French chocolates. The Belgian and Swiss chocolates, while highly rated and excellent in their own right, tend to have a simpler and creamier chocolate flavor that just doesn’t appeal to me as much. In addition, any chocolate with additives (other than high-quality vanilla), or other alcoholic flavors (or, heaven forbid, vegetable oils) just won’t fly with me – the flavors stand out as additives and degrade the overall taste experience. For the cognoscenti among you, I favor the chocolates with the purest blends of trinitario or criollo cocoa beans, with a preference for those with the fruity and nutty undertones (as opposed to earthy or tobacco tones).
Now it’s your turn to try them out… enjoy!! Click here to download the PDF file: Dale’s Chocolate Table or take a look at the top listings below.
Dale’s Gourmet Chocolate Evaluation Table