Green and Blacks 85%
Scharfen Berger 82%
E. Guittard 72%
These were the competitors in our evening chocolate taste test. We created several categories: best for eating, best for brownies, and best for buttercream frosting. The results were fascinating. Like good foodies, we ate, discussed, debated, then researched to see what the rest of the internet land had to say. (Turns out this is a hotly-debated topic with people getting quite passionate about their favs!) I’ll post some links later to some of the interesting sites we found.
Our results were mixed. One of us preferred Green and Blacks, observing that it was the creamiest, had the most depth of flavor, and was the most chocolaty. That taster felt the Valrhona was too subtle and not nearly chocolaty enough. We were in agreement that the Scharfen Berger had an liquor taste and was far more acidic than the others. It was interesting, but not one with which we wanted to bake. The other taster preferred the Valrhona, finding the subtly intriguing and enjoyable, while the creaminess of the Green and Blacks was overwhelming. We agreed that the two containing less cacao and more sugar were easy to eat, but really more of a semi-sweet than a dark and therefore, appropriate for chocolate chip cookies or brownies to help smooth the texture and cut the amount of granulated sugar, but less desirable in a frosting which already contains large quantities of confectioner’s sugar.
In our research, we discovered that Valrhona was the first real entry into the gourmet chocolate market for home bakers, but that most people don’t love it. Scharfen Berger and Green and Blacks had loyal followers, but since being acquired by Cadbury and Hershey, they’ve fallen out of favor. The blogs we read mentioned several types with which we were unfamiliar, so we’re now on the lookout for some other brands to try in a future taste-test!