Anyone who has spent any time with me will know that I am a chocolate person. I know it’s a stereotype (women and chocolate, blah blah blah), but I love it. There are so many chocolate related posts on this blog that I couldn’t even begin to link to them all.

I’m the person who will always gravitate towards chocolate as a treat rather than crisps or pizza. I will always choose the chocolate dessert in a restaurant. I make brownies upon brownies upon brownies. To truly mark the obsession, I just did a chocolate workshop. This is my bag, basically.

Now, I will very happily eat white, milk, or dark chocolate. I know white chocolate isn’t technically chocolate and so on, but a very good quality white chocolate is a thing of beauty, and don’t even get me started on caramelised white chocolate, which is the food of the gods (I will do a post on how to make it, if you are interested). But, for the sake of fairness here, I had to go for something simple, so that I could get equivalent samples. Hence, five types of plain 70% dark chocolate.

70% dark chocolate is what I use in baking all the time, so I am pretty attached to it, and always have a few bars in the cupboard for short-notice baking emergencies (happens more often than you might think). Usually, though, I go for whichever name-brand is on offer at the supermarket. Often, I end up with Lindt 70%. So I was curious to see how other 70% dark chocolates measured up.

As before, I feel I need a rambling disclaimer: obviously, I am doing this in my kitchen and not in a lab and I am not a scientist. These are the opinions of one person – that said, one person who has been trained to taste for quality. Also, the products used in this series are just examples – obviously each supermarket has, say, eight or nine different types of dark chocolate or whatever the product may be, and I’m not going to try every single one because what am I, made of money?

Finally, I should highlight that I tasted all the products blind, and at the time of tasting and making my notes I didn’t know which product came from which shop. I sat in one room while my glamorous assistant (er, my husband), prepared the samples in another. Any notes added regarding packaging and so on were only done after blind tasting, when I learned which supermarket had made A, B, C, D, or E.

The Blind Taste Test: Dark Chocolate

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Chocolate
per 100g
£*
kcal
fat
carb
fibre
protein
salt
Aldi
1.03
574
43.0
30.0
14.0
9.8
0.01
Lidl
1.03
547
40
33
12
7.8
0.03
Sainsburys
1.45
547
40.2
31.9
12.2
8.4
0.02
Tesco
1.50
577
41.9
37.0
9.7
8.1
0.01
Waitrose
2.19
565
41.0
34.0
12.0
9.0
0.02

A – Lidl – J.D. Gross – 6/10

  • Good texture – a nice snap when broken. Creamy when eaten. A fairly sharp, bitter flavour with hints of coffee. A decent dark chocolate I’d happily eat, but not surprising or very special.

B – Aldi – Moser Roth – 7/10

  • Slightly softer and less bitter than the first sample, but still strong. A hint of fruitiness in the taste. A bold and dark flavour, and a velvety texture when eaten.

C – Tesco – 7/10

  • Another good texture. Tasted sweeter and softer than either A or B, with a less obvious bitterness. A slight orange/fruity taste in the background, and fairly creamy when eaten.

D – Waitrose – 8/10

  • Tasted somehow more chocolatey than the first three samples (sounds silly, but it did). Fruity and soft, and not too bitter – very mellow, especially in comparison to A and B. Tasted definitely different to the others, with a distinctive fruitiness.

E – Sainsbury’s – 5/10

  • Very distinctive flavour: maybe a hint of coconut. Hard to describe, but not as pleasing as the first four samples. Not too bitter, and quite soft and sweet in flavour. For me, the least appealing.

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Conclusion

This was an interesting taste test, and somewhat different to any of the others I have done so far. I don’t think any of the products I tried were bad. Even the offering from Sainsbury’s, which I liked the least on balance, was perfectly fine. Whether or not you like each type of chocolate will depend very much on personal taste and what you are looking for. Aldi and Lidl’s offerings were of a different style to the others. Neither supermarket did their own named-brand, and instead stocked J.D. Gross (made for Lidl) and Moser Roth (made for Aldi).

Even though Aldi and Lidl’s products were 70% cocoa dark chocolates, as were the rest, they were notably darker and tasted more bitter. You could even see visually that they looked darker. So, for those who like their dark chocolate to be pretty strong and not too sweet, these would be perfect. The others were all mellower, sweeter, and tasted like they were a lower cocoa percentage than the first two, even though they weren’t.

Personally, I would eat or use any of these products. Now that I have more experience of the range available, I might use the Aldi or Lidl darker chocolates for baking something rich and with a distinctive dark chocolate flavour.  The others might do better in something designed to be more accessible; perhaps for people who don’t have such a taste for serious dark chocolate.

So, for the first time, I am not going to pick an official winner this week. If I was just eating the chocolate, unadorned, I’d probably go with the Waitrose offering. However, I don’t think it’s necessarily better than the others. The Aldi and Lidl products were clearly of a different genre, and trying to do a different thing. Which chocolate would be best of the bunch would be entirely dependent on your personal taste, and what you wanted to use it for.

*Prices correct at time of writing.