After learning about the connection between chocolate and health, I decided to work to make sure all the chocolate I use for eating and baking has 70% or more cocoa content. I took a trip to Whole Foods and found a great selection of kosher certified, non-dairy chocolate bars and a 365 brand private label bag of chocolate chunks that will replace chocolate chips in my recipes from now on.
I picked up a bunch of kosher dark chocolate bars and decided to try them all and report my findings. Tough life, huh?
Scharffen Berger – America’s first contemporary artisan chocolate manufacturer was bought by Hershey in 2005. They set out to craft the richest, most flavorful chocolate by sourcing the best cacao in the world, blending it in small batches, and gently processing to maintain the subtle flavors. Well, my kids say, “mission accomplished” -- this was their favorite! I find their chocolate to have a nice flavor and texture for baking, but it doesn’t quite melt in your mouth.
Theo Chocolates is the first Organic and Fair Trade bean to bar chocolate factory in the United States. The chocolates are made in Seattle where you can go for a factory tour and is certified by Square K. The vanilla flavors in this bar come through strongly and there is a really nice mouth feel.
Equal Exchange is a chocolate you should all become aware of not just for their quality chocolate, but also for their commitment to supporting worthwhile global causes. Equal Exchange, is Organic and Fair Trade. The chocolate is certified kosher in Switzerland, where the chocolate is made. They are the sole food partner of American Jewish World Service, which is encouraging the Jewish community to buy Equal Exchange chocolate and coffee to support small growers and community-owned cooperatives in the developing world. In addition, a portion of every pound of coffee or chocolate purchased through their Better Beans label will go to support AJWS's Reverse Hunger campaign. They have also given grants to the non-profit Fair Trade Judaica to support their work to promote greater public awareness of social justice issues involved with the global cocoa/chocolate trade.
Schmerling’s is available in most kosher markets, at least those I frequent in New York City. It is made in Switzerland, certified by the OU and is kosher for Passover. I tried their 72% dark chocolate and was pleasantly surprised with the texture and lack of bitterness. It is a quality chocolate I will be happy to have around this Passover.
Taza Chocolate was founded in 2006 in Massachusetts and produces 100% stone ground, organic chocolate using only the best ingredients while compensating growers fairly for their work. Their products are showing up in more and more stores nationwide and it is a must try. The stone ground process results in a pleasant, grainy texture that I have not found elsewhere. The 80% cocoa bar had a deeply satisfying sweetness and red wine notes that accompany each taste were incredible!
I know there are so many more chocolate companies out there, but today I focused on the ones with 70% or more cocoa and were kosher certified parve (please check your package) and I could easily find. I am sure I will have many more chocolate reviews to come. What is your favorite chocolate?