Comparison of 15 Dark Chocolate bars

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, made by DIPA sas Superior: Dark Orange 70 % 2 050 34 % sugar + glucose orange (vanilla) 14,00 35 Netto
choco_anglamark-wi Änglamark: Mint Flavour 70 % 2 500 45 % cane sugar mint (vanilla) 25,00 20 Coop
choco_maraboumint-wi Marabou: Cocoa Mint 70 % 2 465 45.5 % sugar + milk mint (salt, almond) 16,00 29 many
choco_marabousalt-wi Marabou: Sea salt Pecan 70 % 2 450 45.5 % sugar salt (pecan) 16,00 29 many
choco_cloetta-wi Cloetta: Mörk Choklad 72 % 2 150 42 % maltitol + sucralose 15,00 35 many
choco_natracranberry-wi Natra Zahor: Noir aux Canneberges 72 % 2 250 37 % sugar cranberry 19,00 30 Ica
choco_garant-wi Garant: Mörk choklad – kakao 72 % 2 250 39 % sugar 14,00 35 Willys
choco_conamoredark-wi Con Amore: Extra Dark 72 % 2 317 42.1 % sugar 11,00 37 many
choco_conamoreorange-wi Con Amore: Touch of Orange 72 % 2 234 37.9 % sugar + glucose orange 11,00 38 many
choco_natraecuador-wi Natra Zahor: Ecuador 74 % 2 400 44 % sugar 19,00 31 Ica
choco_superiordark-wi Superior: Extra Dark 80 % 2 350 48 % sugar (vanilla) 14,00 42 Netto
choco_anthon-wi Anthon Berg: Extra Dark 81 % 2 450 48 % sugar (vanilla) 25,00 31 many
choco_marabou86-wi Marabou: Cocoa 86 % 2 630 56.5 % sugar + milk powder 16,00 43 many
choco_lindt90-wi Lindt: Dark Supreme 90 % 2 400 55 % sugar vanilla 22,00 44 many
choco_greenandblack-wi 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?


One comment

  1. After writing a review like this I have got a heap of chocolate in the refrigerator but I cannot share them with friends because are all opened. Too bad! :}


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