Sunday, January 29, 2017

Super dark chocolate blocks: Reviewing 85% to 100% cocoa options

It's no secret that I love chocolate and my In My Kitchen posts often feature my lastest chocolate discoveries. However, it has been many months since I've done a proper chocolate review. Today's post aims to make up for lost time with reviews of four dark chocolate options. And by dark I really do mean dark - these blocks range from 85% to 100% cocoa.

Starting with the 85% choices, one of my Christmas presents was the M&S 85% cocoa 'Intense Dark Chocolate' block. I featured it in my January In My Kitchen post but didn't elaborate on flavours then.

For a long time I avoided 85% cocoa blocks because I don't like the Lindt 85% cocoa option, and it put me off other chocolates of the same cocoa level. Happily, I am now a convert and know that the Lindt flavours don't generalise to other brands. This M&S 85% cocoa block is delicious. The packaging describes the flavours as bringing "aromas of ripe fruit and a flavour of mixed berries, with the slight acidity balanced by overnotes of honey". I wouldn't have come up with this exact description but agree that the tartness of the berry-cocoa tones is offset by a more mellow sweetness.

Another 85% choice, although quite a different one, comes from Cavalier. This is a stevia sweetened block and the first chocolate of that type I have tried.

I think you can detect stevia in the after-taste of the chocolate but as I don't mind stevia flavours it didn't bother me. This was sweeter than the M&S block and than many dark chocolate options and the cocoa was less intense. I also tasted vanilla notes and in an odd way, the block reminded me of Easter egg chocolate.

Whist I don't like the 85% cocoa Lindt block I do love the 90% cocoa version - I still maintain it tastes of brownies - and so I was interested to try the even darker 99% cocoa Lindt option.

Unlike most Lindt blocks, this is only 50g (vs. 100g) but costs about the same, so it is an expensive chocolate choice. Given that, I was disappointed to find I didn't like it much at all. The block was dry and eating it felt a bit like eating cocoa powder from a spoon. As might be expected with such a high cocoa content, it was also bitter and in this case the bitterness was too strong for me.

I was amused by the tasting notes provided within the packet, which warn that the block may take some getting used to, and which advise working up to it through the lower cocoa Lindt options.

I can attest, though, that the high cocoa content in Lindt 99% chocolate is not the reason I don't like it. Indeed, I tried an even higher cocoa percentage in the Montezuma 100% cocoa option. This was the first 100% cocoa block I'd seen and it took me a while to figure out how 100% cocoa was even possible (of course, it includes cocoa butter as well as cocoa powder).

Somewhat to my own amazement, I loved this block. Like the 90% cocoa Lindt option, it is surprisingly sweet (especially as there is no sugar in this) and mellow. It is dark, of course, and deep and dense, but I didn't find it bitter. It probably does require a certain level of chocolate enjoyment though as I gave Mr Bite a piece and he was far less impressed and said it tasted like plain cocoa powder.

So there you have it - four dark chocolate blocks. Of these, my favourites would be the 85% cooca M&S block and the 100% cocoa Montezuma block. In contrast, it's fair to say Lindt 99% cocoa won't be a regular purchase for me.

Do you enjoy very dark chocolate? And if so, do you have any favourite brands?


  1. I tried one of the lindt blocks - I thought it was the 99% but I don't remember it being smaller so maybe it was the 90% - it was far too bitter for me so I imagine these would be too but it is really interesting to hear your thoughts on them and that not all high cocoa blocks are the same

    1. I didn't realise the 99% one was smaller until I noticed the 50g written on the pack - the block itself looks like the 100g ones but I guess is thinner. That may be part of why I felt a little ripped off price wise! I would like to offer you some of the Montezuma one to see if you like that ore :-)


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  2. Interesting stuff - I do like a really dark chocolate block, but I don't think I've ever got up to the 100 percent mark. It's good to hear that the Montezumas came out so well- they do make some good stuff!

    1. They do indeed - one of my favourite chocolate brands!

  3. What a lovely idea to review dark chocolates! We are HUGE chocolate fans in our home - the purer and darker the better. :) One of our highlights of 2016 was going to the Salon du Chocolat in Paris and eating chocolate all day (dream day!). Hehe Thanks for this wonderful review, now off to eat a square of dark chocolate!

  4. I love dark chocolate...I once tried Lindts 99% and wasnt such a fan! But Lindts 85% and Montezumas dark chocolate is SO good!

    1. I'm glad it's not just me who isn't fond of the Lindt 99%! Montezuma is far better :)

  5. I'm intrigued by the 100% option. I've found that Lindt does tend to be chalkier and bitter in some varieties, which is a shame as it's so readily available. I was very interested to read about your comparisons... all in the name of science of course :)

  6. Oooh those are dark. I really like dark chocolate... but I tend to only get up to about 85%. I am intrigued by your 100% bar, especially since you liked it. I find the darker it gets, the more bitter it gets, but I haven't tried many different ones, so I should probably expand my horizons.
    "I don't like the Lindt 85% cocoa option" yuck. Neither did I. It actually put me off Lindt completely.


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