Hank's Chocolate Blog

By Hank Cohen, hancohen@aol.com

 From  The domestick coffee-man, shewing the true way of preparing and making of chocolate, coffee and tea  by Humphrey Broadbent, London, 1722. courtesy of HathiTrust.

From The domestick coffee-man, shewing the true way of preparing and making of chocolate, coffee and tea by Humphrey Broadbent, London, 1722. courtesy of HathiTrust.

As a continuation of my April and July tastings, last month I pitted Neuhaus Extra Dark against Trader Joe’s Extra Dark Chocolate Wedges, ranking them on a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 being the best. Chocolate selections must have a minimum of 70% cacao content to qualify as “gourmet.”

Neuhaus.JPG

Neuhaus Extra Dark: 74% Cocao
Price paid: $7.99 for 3.5 oz. (100 grams).
Store: Rodman’s, 5100 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC Also available for same price at the Neuhaus boutique in Union Station.
Origin: Made in France with mixture of beans. No single-country origin.
Intensity of chocolate flavor: Strong and silky smooth. Envelops the palate.
Duration of taste: Long. It really keeps on giving.
Overall appreciation: 10

This bar provides a great chocolate experience from every point of view. It is the quintessential after-dinner chocolate that goes with fine wine or cognac. But at $7.99 for 3.5 oz., it is twice as expensive as the next highest-cost bar. I would reserve this for special occasions and not for everyday nibbling.

Trader Joe’s Extra Dark Chocolate Wedges: 73% Cacao
Price paid: $3.99 for 3.5 oz. (100 grams).
Store: Any Trader Joe’s.
Origin: Made in Belgium from mixed beans, mainly from Africa.
Intensity of chocolate flavor: Strong with a shot of bittersweet.
Duration of taste: Moderately long.
Overall appreciation: 8

This is a fun presentation, with 16 triangular pieces in two layers. The quality is at a high level on a par with other Trader Joe’s Belgian chocolate bars with the same brand name. There is another Trader Joe’s dark chocolate bar with 75% cacao that is cheaper and just as good as this one. But the presentation in this round box is great for many fingers reaching in after dinner. If you are into dark chocolate for heart health, two of these wedges have sufficient flavonoids to cover one day’s requirement.

Hank Cohen and his wife, Suzanne, have lived at 3605 R Street since 1969, with some absences due to foreign service in Africa. Since retiring from the State Department, Hank has been consulting for U.S. companies doing business in Africa. He has just been appointed to the Foreign Service Labor Relations Board, the highest level of appeal for labor-management disputes at State. He recently published The Mind of the African Strong Man: Conversations with Dictators, Statesmen, and Father Figures, which is available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.