High-cacao-percentage dark chocolate bars are becoming ever more sophisticated. This category is also getting a notable boost from trendy high-fat, low-sugar diets, such as Keto—the higher a chocolate bar’s cacao percentage, the less sugar (and more chocolate flavor) it contains. We were curious to see how these higher-cacao bars compare to one another, so we selected eleven 70-, eleven 80-, and five 90-percent cacao or higher nationally available bars and sampled them plain.
The textures of the bars were crucial. Chocolates that were conched (heated and constantly stirred) during processing were smooth, which we liked; one brand that wasn’t conched was coarse and gritty. Bars containing extra cocoa butter were also smoother than those without.
We were also impressed by flavor complexity and noted some trends. A series of factors, including bean origin and fermentation, drying, roasting, and storing procedures all contribute flavor nuances. In the bars we sampled, we detected notes of coconut, coffee, pumpkin spice, and raspberry. Our favorites in each category were the smooth, rich, and fruity Chocolove Organic Dark 73% Chocolate Bar; the silky and coconutty Lindt Excellence 85% Cocoa Bar; and the supersmooth and fruity Alter Eco 90% Deepest Dark Super Blackout Organic Chocolate Bar.