According to the International Cocoa Association, the net sales value of confectionaries in 2011 was $55 billion worldwide. And I can safely say that I contributed to that value. I’m a chocoholic, and if it’s chocolate, I’ll taste it. I’m currently working my way through a Wawal 70% bar from Poland and a Raaka chili chocolate bar I picked up at Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg. I’ve sipped drinking chocolate from Marie Antoinette’s recipe from 1775, and I’ve sampled random bars from every country I’ve ever visited. For the most part, I’ve enjoyed them all.
But some I’ve enjoyed a little more than others. It’s time to share the love. Here are my top five favorites. I’ve hooked many friends on these chocolates, and I bet I can hook a few of you too.
Unless you too are an unrepentant chocoholic, you probably won’t recognize many of these brands, and most of you aren’t going to find these bars in your local grocery stores (although Whole Foods carries Mast Brothers). If you’re lucky or persistent, you can catch them either online or in specialty shops. But for me, the hunt is almost as satisfying as the chocolate itself…although not quite.
If you have any favorites I’ve neglected, let me know in the comments; I’m always willing to try new chocolate.
This Swiss company’s Black Praline Goldbar is sweet but not too sweet and unctuously smooth, its creaminess offset by thin layers of almonds and hazelnuts.
In a blind taste test, I chose the Ambanja as my favorite of their entire product line–two years in a row. Almost everything Guittard makes is terrific, however, this bar excels thanks to its bright, fruity notes and a berry finish.