Sugar-like substances are added to various foods nowadays, even to potato chips. Dark chocolate emerges then as a relatively healthy snack. People have different experiences. Some point out that 70 % chocolate still contains too much sugar and makes them fat. Others have found that 70 % chocolate is surprisingly nutritious and helps them lose weight. How can that be?
We consume different amounts of energy depending on work, leisure time and who we are friends with. For example, even if Proverbs 28:25 may have been meant metaphorically, it says according to one literal translation: ”… he that is relying upon Jehovah will be made fat” (NW), so some of us need darker chocolate than others in order to be reasonably slim.
However a very possible explanation is that the person who tried 70 % chocolate and added weight, tried a bar which had ”70 %” writ large on it, but which actually contained ca 55 % cocoa. This is possible because some producers make 3-layered chocolate bars with chocolate – sugary grease – chocolate. If it tastes sweet, it is not chocolate. Chocolate is bitter. These layered bars typically has a fine-print after the ingredients saying ”At least 70 % cocoa in the chocolate.” instead of ”At least 70 % cocoa.” Who would have thought the bar contained non-chocolate?
The EU has defined chocolate for the European market thus:
”Chocolate” designates the product obtained from cocoa products and sugars which contains not less than 35 % total dry cocoa solids, including not less than 18 % cocoa butter and not less than 14 % of dry non-fat cocoa solids.
There is no definition of ”dark chocolate” but since ”chocolate” needs > 35 % cocoa, the ratio for ”dark chocolate” should be substantially higher.
Following Marabou’s habit of writing 70 % on most sorts, (even when it is not all chocolate) many people expect a chocolate bar to contain at least 70 % cocoa if it is called ”dark”. And as we can see in the table, several other brands have 70 %-bars. Therefore, if there should exist a threshold where a chocolate becomes dark, 70 % is it.
The table below compares 15 sorts of dark chocolate bars, available in Sweden, to help you pick the right ones for your need and financial circumstances. It does not tell the whole story – some sorts were made from better ingredients, using certified processes that are less damaging to the environment. Some ingredients are fair-traded, some have a bad reputation and some of this is reflected in the price.
The index is simply:
index = %cocoa – price in SEK – energy content for 1 g in kJ
|Brand / sort||Cocoa ratio||Energy, kJ||Fat ratio||Sweetener||Flavour||Price, kr||Index||Sold by|
|Superior: Dark Orange||70 %||2 050||34 %||sugar + glucose||orange (vanilla)||14,00||35||Netto|
|Änglamark: Mint Flavour||70 %||2 500||45 %||cane sugar||mint (vanilla)||25,00||20||Coop|
|Marabou: Cocoa Mint||70 %||2 465||45.5 %||sugar + milk||mint (salt, almond)||16,00||29||many|
|Marabou: Sea salt Pecan||70 %||2 450||45.5 %||sugar||salt (pecan)||16,00||29||many|
|Cloetta: Mörk Choklad||72 %||2 150||42 %||maltitol + sucralose||–||15,00||35||many|
|Natra Zahor: Noir aux Canneberges||72 %||2 250||37 %||sugar||cranberry||19,00||30||Ica|
|Garant: Mörk choklad – kakao||72 %||2 250||39 %||sugar||–||14,00||35||Willys|
|Con Amore: Extra Dark||72 %||2 317||42.1 %||sugar||–||11,00||37||many|
|Con Amore: Touch of Orange||72 %||2 234||37.9 %||sugar + glucose||orange||11,00||38||many|
|Natra Zahor: Ecuador||74 %||2 400||44 %||sugar||–||19,00||31||Ica|
|Superior: Extra Dark||80 %||2 350||48 %||sugar||(vanilla)||14,00||42||Netto|
|Anthon Berg: Extra Dark||81 %||2 450||48 %||sugar||(vanilla)||25,00||31||many|
|Marabou: Cocoa||86 %||2 630||56.5 %||sugar + milk powder||–||16,00||43||many|
|Lindt: Dark Supreme||90 %||2 400||55 %||sugar||vanilla||22,00||44||many|
|Green & Black’s: Dark||? %||2 395||41.6 %||raw cane sugar||(vanilla)||30,00||–||many|
Green & Black’s Dark has 70 % cocoa solids, that is cocoa with the fat removed, so its total cocoa content should be higher, and in deed it tastes more bitter than a typical 70 %-chocolate.
Prices were rounded and in case I saw the bars for sale in several stores, are an average. This is in the country side; expect somewhat expensier in the cities.
Where flavours are in parentheses they are barely noticeable.
A positive step is that some brands display percentage of cocoa mass and cocoa butter in the ingredients listing. Superior and Anthon Berg does this. Another positive development is the existence of flavoured bars with high chocolate content. Lindt 90 % actually tastes vanilla in a meaningful way.
What is your favourite dark chocolate?