gingkoseto wrote:organic and fair trade chocolates are generally great in quality and tastes.
I have generally found chocolate with 'fair trade' and 'organic' labeling to be disappointing. I am more serious about my chocolate than my tea, and have tried chocolate from dozens of different makers, big commercial producers to some pretty small productions.
For 20 years I was allergic to chocolate--great big hives and swollen lips and eyes if I tried to sneak some, as I did every 5 years or so. But that last time I tried it, starting with some chocolate coated mint patties that probably contained only a tiny bit of actual cacao, I didn't break out, and I haven't since.
My theory, and I'm sticking to it, is that chocolate for me is like penicillin for someone who is seriously allergic to it: there is a specific desensitization protocol that can be used in an emergency, of giving a tiny then gradually increasing dose of it while making sure that the level of it in the body never again goes too low until the treatment is low, because stopping and starting it again will allow the allergy to return. But as long as a constant level of the drug is achieved and maintained in the blood, someone can get safely treated with it for a period of a few days or weeks. [FYI, this is only done in a hospital with lots of monitoring, don't try this at home!]
So I need to maintain a certain daily chocolate dosing or I will revert to chocolate allergy.....or at least that is how I rationalize my daily dose.
For a long time now I have preferred the 70% Scharffenberger, and only a few of the others I've tried have come close--some of the Michel Cluizel 1st Crus de la Plantation were right up there, but they're far more expensive than even my Scharffenberger, and to me not sufficiently better to justify the added cost.
But I'm always looking for new things to try, and have a bar at home that I bought recently that says it was made by the local cacao growers in Venezuela. Hope springs eternal, but Scharffenberger always wins.
This is my main competitor to sencha to start the day: hot chocolate
. Some exceptionally fine days start with a little of both.