Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
5 Aug

The 5 Best Dark Chocolate Bars in the World

darkchocolateThe Modern Paleo blog’s been doing chocolate reviews recently, which struck me as a novel but totally understandable practice for a blog called Modern Paleo. In my mind, good dark chocolate – high cacao content, high fat, low-ish sugar stuff – makes any downsides to living in this modern world well worth it. Good dark chocolate really is that good. And one of the best parts about going Primal has been the way my heightened sensitivity to the slightest dash of sugar enables true appreciation of the bean’s slightly sweet product.

I’ve eaten a lot of chocolate in my day. Cheap American milk chocolate with an absurdly low cacao content was regularly gobbled up in my endurance days, but I’ve since moved on to more bitter pastures. About five years ago, I could enjoy your standard mid-grade bittersweet dark chocolate without worrying about the cacao content percentage. Now, I find the sweetness of anything lower than 72% cloyingly overpowering. That’s not to say I don’t like being overpowered by intense flavor, because I do – but only when that flavor is based on the bean. So, yeah, 72% is too low, and even the late 70s are generally pushing too much sugar. I try to stick to the 80s and even 90s.

You might notice that my picks are not inexpensive. They aren’t throwaway bars to be wolfed down in between mouthfuls of movie popcorn in a single sitting. In fact, throughout the composition of this post (the tasting, the writing, the sampling), I probably ate almost an entire bar’s worth of really high-quality, super dark chocolate. It wasn’t easy. It was probably too much. Normally, I’ll eat a square, maybe two, after dinner a few times a week, so I’m preparing myself for an impending stomachache. We’ll see. My point is this: good dark chocolate is self-limiting. You won’t go crazy and pig out on it because it isn’t pleasant to do so. The quality stuff always lasts longer than the cheap stuff.  Quality dark chocolate is definitely worth the extra expenditure.

Of course, what actually constitutes the best dark chocolate in the world is subjective. These happen to be some of my favorites, at least for now. My top picks are always changing as I never fail to try whatever high-quality, low-sugar dark chocolate wanders into my life or appears in the checkout line.

In no particular order, the list:

Valrhona Noir Extra Amer – 85% Cacao

lenoir extra 146x300

2.5 servings per bar

Each serving:

20g fat (12g saturated)

15g carbs (6g fiber; 5g sugar)

This bar looks fantastic: sleek, smooth, and dark, almost black, with a hint of red. A single square, if given sufficient mouth time, will slowly, smoothly melt, revealing floral, nutty, and coffee notes. If you try real hard, you may notice cinnamon, too. I think the biggest draw is the texture, which is silky (gosh, I sound like a chocolate advertisement using words like “silky”). That single square will resonate for several minutes, provided you don’t just chomp down without allowing it to melt.

The Noir Extra Amer goes well in a pot of spicy chili, right at the end just before serving. I get mine at Trader Joe’s for $2.99 a bar.

Chocolove XOXOX Extra Strong Dark – 77% Cacao

Picture4 3

3 servings per bar

Each serving:

13g fat (8g saturated)

11g carbs (3g fiber; 6g sugar)

The Chocolove XOXOX may have a ridiculously cheesy name and a slightly higher sugar content, but if you want a non-abrasive, introductory dark chocolate for beginners, this is it. If you’re trying to wean your significant other off of milk chocolate, go with the Chocolove XOXOX. You get the unmistakable flavor and light sugar content of a high-cacao bar with the creaminess and accessibility of a lesser-cacao bar. I keep these on hand for those times where I just want a bit of sweetness without the commitment required by the heavy darks. It tastes a bit like coconut.

You can find this bar at Whole Foods, Target, or Cost Plus.

Green and Black’s Dark – 85% Cacao

Picture5 2

2.5 servings per bar

Each serving:

21g fat (13g saturated)

14g carbs (5g fiber; 6g sugar)

Another brilliantly dark bar with glimpses of red, the Green and Black’s Dark is similar to the Valrhona in its mouthfeel. It’s creamy, silky, smooth, and melts very well, but it’s not quite so bitter. Oh, the bitterness is there, lurking and noticeable, but it isn’t overpowering. You almost have to look for it (although beginners might notice it right away). Sometimes I like the bitterness to dominate. When I don’t want that kind of bitterness, I reach for a Green and Black’s, which strikes an impressive balance between robustness and delicateness.

Find where to buy Green and Black’s near you.

Dagoba Eclipse – 87% Cacao

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1 serving per bar

Each serving:

26g fat (16g saturated)

19g carb (8g fiber; 7g sugar)

Dagoba is an odd one. I like it, nay, love it, but it’s definitely not an everyday sort of chocolate bar. If it’s the only thing in the house, I can probably work my way through it in two weeks – with dedication – and yet it’s the most intriguing chocolate I’ve had. Complex flavors include fruit, clove, allspice, and other spice mixes. There’s even a bit of red wine in there, making actual wine pairing redundant or even antagonistic. No, this bar stands alone. The texture isn’t great, though, and instead of melting into smooth oblivion it gets rather dry toward the end, but this is accompanied by flavor intensification (if you can imagine such a thing). There’s a tradeoff that’s worth exploring.

I get Dagoba Eclipse at Whole Foods, but you can also order it online.

Scharffen Berger Extra Dark – 82% Cacao

Picture6 1

2 servings per bar

Each serving:

19g fat (12g saturated)

17g carbs (6g fiber; 8g sugar)

Figs and red wine, honey and spice(y). There’s even a bit of esperesso lurking in there. It’s not just the cacao that’s bitter; there’s a bite that lingers minutes after you’ve taken it. That acidic bite effectively staves off the worst of the (let’s face it – sometimes too much) bitterness, where a lesser manufacturer would have loaded a bar up with sugar to dull it. I’m glad Scharffen Berger did not do so.

Give this to daring beginners.

One of my new personal favorites that didn’t make the cut is the 85% Ecuador dark chocolate out of the Santa Barbara Chocolate Company. We had the 72% at PrimalCon, but the 85% is even better. Definitely keep your eyes out for it. If I had it on hand to sample, this list woulda been six-deep.

Lindt 85% is another good option, especially if you can’t find any of the above choices. Lindt is available in most standard grocery stores and Walmart.

One last thing: remember that the serving size listed on the back of dark chocolate bars is usually quite high, often around half a bar per serving. Depending on the bar, I get 6-12 or more servings per bar. Consider this when calculating the carb values per serving above.

What are your favorites? Have I missed anything? What should I try next? Let me know in the comment section!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Wow. Like walking down the candy aisles @ Whole Paycheck (mildly disgruntled former employee . . . thanks for the nostalgia).

    brahnamin wrote on August 5th, 2010
    • i love dark chocolate anyone can give me pls

      jhing lazaro wrote on October 12th, 2012
    • LOL.. Is that a jab at whole foods? I feel like I spend my whole paycheck when I shop their haha.. But I DO love their Theo organic fair trade 70% cacoa with salted almonds *drool*

      Jennapher wrote on March 26th, 2013
      • Mark sweety, where’s the love for Organic Fair Trade Dark Chocolate??

        Endangered Species 88% Extreme Dark Chocolate blows all the above away on taste alone…(Yes I’ve tried em all!!) but doesn’t anyone care about the politics (and GMOs) of their dark chocolate yumminess??

        Also, why all the hate here towards Whole Foods?? I LOVE that place!! (No, don’t work for them- just a long-time customer) I don’t get why everyone says it’s SOO much more expensive??? I go there almost daily-fresh herbs, greens, fruits, veggies, frozen organic peaches cheaper than anywhere else (smoothies!!) Small differences in price between Whole Foods and Sprouts but the QUALITY is SO much better from what I’ve experienced. I never get any “holier than thou” attitude, on the contrary- I feel very welcomed, always called by my name and times where I was forced to go into a “regular” supermarket, felt sad and made me even more grateful for WFM.

        Surfdancer wrote on June 16th, 2014
        • Oooh, I do love those, too! I forgot all about them!

          PepperCulpepper wrote on June 28th, 2014
    • Do you mean Holier Than Thou Foods? Hate that place. Try very hard not to go in there.

      Victoria wrote on March 30th, 2013
      • rofl … I used to go there when I worked near where one was, and I go there when a girlfriend of mine goes.. but I do get the feeling sometimes that this is.. “Holier than Thou Foods.. I just never heard anyone just say it..

        Good for You.. I love the concept, but does it have to be so high.. Its like they are trying to price some people out of going there.. But I’am trying to NOT eat GMO foods.. (nearly impossible nowadays) or High Fructose Corn syrup foods. (not as impossible, but still hard) and so many of the foods that are for sale that are totally bad for you.. (canned tomatoes, and veggies for instance because of the chemicals that leach into the food from the can), I could go, on and on.. with study after study, as to all the GMO foods we eat.. that are not tested., and how they give rats tumors and cancers almost on every study.. FDA doesn’t even require labeling now on all the GMO foods we eat daily, because if we knew we wouldn’t eat it..
        The whole food industry needs to be revamped for our health..so at least we know all the bad chemicals that we are ingesting on a daily basis.. If we (the general public) made more of an objection to this.. we wouldnt have a whole foods, because it would force the industry to change .Period… but.. good luck with that.. thats my two cents.. on both sides of the issue..

        LCF wrote on May 18th, 2014
    • I love chocolate

      Grif wrote on July 11th, 2013
  2. Mark, how important is it to buy organic chocolate? Aren’t most non-organic beans sprayed on?

    Kishore wrote on August 5th, 2010
  3. Some very good choices. I’m a fan of Dagoba. Lately, I’m digging the Xocolatl Bar (74%) Cacao nibs, chilies and rich dark chocolate recreate the Aztec’s enhancing cacao elixir.

    With that said, my go to bar is the 72 or 85% Endangered Species Bars. I really like those and they are available locally for me (often on sale at Kroger).

    Green and Blacks is OK, but I find it sweeter tasting than the others and almost find a raisin like flavor in it.

    The others I have to try.

    Steven wrote on August 5th, 2010
    • dude! i have not tried the Dagoba Xocolatl Bar yet but love everthing Dagoba makes, and that one looks SUPEr tasty, love me some chili with my coco…

      thanks for the recomend

      Roman wrote on August 6th, 2010
    • This is a great list. Thrilled and flattered that Endangered Species Chocolate is your “go to” dark choice, Steven!

      My favorite is our darkest creation, 88% Extreme Dark Chocolate (the one with the Black Panther on the wrapper). Bitter-sweet bliss!

      -Monica
      Chocolate Goddess
      Endangered Species Chocolate

      Monica Erskine wrote on August 6th, 2010
      • Oh man! Endangered Species 88% Extreme Dark Chocolate is my favourite dark chocolate out there! I have not found a better bar to date!

        Tori wrote on August 9th, 2012
      • About to try the Endangered Species 88%. Does it live up to the hype?

        Metroman wrote on October 15th, 2012
        • Yes it does, I have to say I just ate an entire bar about 15 mins ago.

          Just throw a square in your mouth and let it melt. Delicious! Then you realize the bar is gone.

          Tyler wrote on December 5th, 2012
      • Indeed, in fact I am currently eating the 88% Endangered Species as I write this… and it was as a result of reading this article! Great chocolate, great cause!

        Vince G wrote on December 1st, 2013
    • Love the different flavors offered by the Endangered Species Bars @ Wholefoods

      Chase wrote on August 25th, 2011
  4. Lindt makes a dark chocolate with sea salt that is very good, but not quite dark enough. It’s too easy to eat half a bar. Vosges Mo’s Dark Bacon Bar is excellent but very expensive. Thinking of making my own.

    JenCat wrote on August 5th, 2010
    • Ooh I tried the Dark Bacon Bar too, it’s actually really good! Salty/savory + Dark chocolate is amazing.

      Hannah wrote on August 5th, 2010
      • I second the Dark Chocolate Bacon Bar….it was delish! Very spendy though, and I am wondering how bacon strips, dipped in dark chocolate, at home would taste?? Hmmmm….might have to try this!!

        Krys wrote on August 5th, 2010
        • I’ve made it many times with anywhere from 72% to 85%. You have to tinker with the percentage and the quality of bacon to get it right. I found that a higher percentage bar in conjunction with thick cut bacon is the way to go.

          lovestoclimb wrote on August 5th, 2010
        • Chocolate-covered bacon is “fair food.” I got some this year from the Heart Attack Cafe at the San Diego County Fair. It was overpriced, but delicious!

          Brianna wrote on August 5th, 2010
        • they are DIVINE!!!

          meret wrote on August 6th, 2010
        • That would just make me eat waaay to much bacon… which would cancel out the benefits of the chocolate.. :( I love bacon..

          LCF wrote on May 18th, 2014
      • Does it really have a baconish flavor?

        Primal Toad wrote on August 5th, 2010
    • Is only 47% as are all the other ‘flavoured’ Lindts.

      Mr Grok and I did a tasting quite recently including Tesco’s Finest Equador 86%, Lindt 85% and 90%, Green and Blacks 85% and another the name of which escapes me. We love and buy regularly the Lindt 85%, 90% was too much! But we think G and Bs is the best flavour (vanilla going on) but it just doesn’t break easily enough, especially from the refridgerator and we do like our chocolate cold!

      Kelda wrote on August 5th, 2010
      • It’s good to see that I’m not the only one that loves chocolate cold. If it’s from the freezer, it’s even better.

        Eric wrote on October 26th, 2010
    • I am “addicted” to Lindt’s blueberry chocolate at the moment, it really hits the spot for me.

      Jesper wrote on August 6th, 2010
    • I love the Lindt dark choc with sea salt – amazing! Lindt also does a 90% chocolate bar, if you can find it.

      Indiscreet wrote on August 30th, 2010
      • Target has 90% Lindt for less than two bucks! Lindt is the shindt!

        I just tried G&B’s 85%. Very surprised at how sweet and creamy it is. It makes me suspicious. It’s probably my favorite, so far, but I’ll probably stick with Lindt as my “go to” bar. Lindt’s better than Chocolove or Endangered, and it’s pleasantly priced. I’m gonna give Dagoba a shot soon.

        I bought some cacao nibs at the farmer’s market. I don’t really know what to do with them, though.

        Ray wrote on September 2nd, 2010
        • cacao nibs are great on cereal replacement: banana, strawberries or blueberries, soaked almonds, topped with plain goat yoghurt and walnuts – the nibs give it another flavor and crunchy texture… enjoy!!

          klaus wrote on December 14th, 2011
        • Try mixing some ground nibs in your fresh-ground coffee, at a ratio of 1/4 tsp./finished cup of coffee. It adds a rich mouth-feel to the coffee.

          jake3_14 wrote on March 5th, 2012
        • Eat the nibs with goji and macadamia!!

          CadenceAlexia wrote on July 18th, 2012
      • I love Lindt 90% (Walmart) but am impressed with the various salty nibs at upscale stores too.

        Bonnie wrote on August 13th, 2011
    • Lindt makes 85% and 90% and both are great – my “go-to” …

      nanabella wrote on February 22nd, 2012
    • I too LOVE the Lindt Dark Chocolate w/Sea Salt. Too[t] sweet? Not for me, but then perhaps I’m not quite up to the 80% dark chocolate as of yet The Sea Salt addition to the bar is such a lovely contrast of sweet and … ? … ZING …. a wonderful, beautiful almost decadent thing.

      Cat Hamel wrote on December 27th, 2013
  5. Unfortunately, modern methods of making chocolate (even dark chocolate) strips out most of the chlorogenic acid flavanoid. This has been well documented, and has been the subject of much research by the Mars Corporation. Modern processing methods, as well as taste buds, tend to be hard on this potent antioxidant.

    Greg wrote on August 5th, 2010
    • is this true for cacao nibs too?

      Roman wrote on August 6th, 2010
      • Not as far as I know — all the cacao nibs that I’ve seen are raw. I think if they were processed, they would fall apart. I love them in fruit smoothies, which I make with frozen cherries, bananas, mangoes, and spices like cardamom, chile and ginger. I’ve had my naturopath muscle test me, and my body loves the nibs, but doesn’t like processed cocoa very much. I just don’t remember if I had him test the raw cocoa powder, or a more traditional cocoa. Whole Foods and independent health food stores usually have raw cacao nibs, and these days you can even get them auto shipped from Amazon! What amazing times we live in!

        Darshana wrote on August 13th, 2010
  6. Another really great and surprisingly inexpensive dark chocolate is the World Market brand 99% bar. Yes, folks, I am talking about a chocolate bar that is 99% cocoa; they do exist! It is decadent, delicious, and pleasing to all the senses (including touch: it feels very smooth in the hands as it travels to your mouth!). These bars run for $1.99 in the Chicago area World Markets, and I would imagine the price would be about the same elsewhere.

    Nutrition:

    Serving 1/2 bar; servings in container: 2

    Total fat: 22g (14g saturated)
    Total carbs: 14g (7g fiber, 1g sugar)
    Protein: 5g

    That is right folks, just two grams of sugar in the entire 3oz bar. It is amazing! Go try it!

    http://www.worldmarket.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3624321

    cerebelumsdayoff wrote on August 5th, 2010
    • I agree on the Whole Foods 99% bar. It’s not the same as the other, sweeter bars, but I love it. Great with coffee or wine. Let it slowly melt on your tongue and it’s good stuff.

      They have a 64% with sea salt that is amazing, but I try to steer clear of bars that low in cocoa. I’ll confess that I’ve sprinkled my 99% bar with sea salt and run it under the broiler once or twice to let the crystals melt in… :)

      We also have a local woman who makes some amazing stuff. I get it at the farmers market, but you can now buy online, too. Chocovivo, at http://www.ilivechocolate.com

      Her flavored bars have a bit too much sugar, and I keep hoping she’ll go darker on a few. Time, and peer pressure, may tell. Still, the spices, seeds, and fruits make this stuff unbelievable. Worth the splurge.

      Roland wrote on August 5th, 2010
    • I just had a rectangle of this while reading the post! Lovely!

      TexasPrimalSurfWahine wrote on August 5th, 2010
      • Dogs should not be eating chocolate. Not good for you!

        MIke wrote on August 6th, 2010
    • x2 on that, the 82% at World Market was good too, but discontinued. I switched to the 99% and it’s just as yummy. I had to laugh going down the list, as my list is quite similar. However, I don’t do the Scharffen Berger bar because I think it’s too chalky. Can’t recall the brand but there’s a good bar in silver wrapper at Trader Joe’s (right next to the Valrhona Noir Extra Amer bars, with an equally foreign name)to which I would give an honorable mention.

      MIke in Norcal wrote on August 5th, 2010
    • Ditto!

      Mike wrote on August 5th, 2010
    • I love the 99% bar at world market too! very nutty and does not taste 99% at all (but it seems higher in carbs than other chocolates with such a high %?)

      Xue wrote on May 2nd, 2011
  7. lindt 99% cacao is a pretty good one (IMO)

    JP wrote on August 5th, 2010
    • There is a 99%???? Why not just eat 100% and add a touch of honey? This is what I do.

      Primal Toad wrote on August 5th, 2010
      • Yes, the 99% is amazing. Much better than 100% with a touch of honey. I know because I used to do that before I discovered the 99%. It’s frankly better than any on this list, though hard to find, so I typically go with the Dagoba 87%, Lindt 85%, or Valrhona Noir Extra Amer 85%.

        Cheers
        Scott Kustes
        Fitness Spotlight

        Scott Kustes wrote on August 5th, 2010
        • Well then, I need to find me the 99%!!!

          Primal Toad wrote on August 5th, 2010
  8. Mark, you hit all of my faves. Even my 5 year old and 2 year olds love all of these!

    Aaron Blaisdell wrote on August 5th, 2010
  9. Where is the Endangered species brand 88% Or the 75% with Hazelnut?

    What about Hachez 88%?

    Keenan wrote on August 5th, 2010
  10. The Endangered Species brand of dark chocolate is pretty good.

    VelocityRD wrote on August 5th, 2010
    • Their 88% is my go to chocolate. Mmmm.

      MDL wrote on August 5th, 2010
      • mine too, because it’s cheap :) It does have soy lecithin in it though…

        Rip City wrote on August 5th, 2010
      • Same here, I really like the individually wrapped pieces – it keeps me from splurging! But yeah, wish it didn’t have the soy lecithin.

        Marisa wrote on August 6th, 2010
        • I see the presence of soy lecithin as an indicator of cheap substitutes. It is used in place of some of the cocoa butter that is then sold off to the cosmetic industry, or so I understand. And it is likely to be GMO. Even Lindt has soy in it in our area. Trader Joe’s has some of its organic chocolate brands that are soy-free, but only in the extra dark chocolate. I don’t know how generally available Theo Chocolate is outside of the Pacific Northwest but it is excellent, soy free, and ethically produced.

          Ann wrote on February 21st, 2012
  11. I heart Green and Blacks. I have some every night… it makes my sugar free world a little brighter each day…

    Karlyn wrote on August 5th, 2010
  12. Hey Mark,

    I don’t know if this one is available in the US, but this is my favourite:

    http://www.cotedor.be/cotedor/page?locale=benl1&PagecRef=898

    great taste, from a (my) great chocolate country Belgium

    and these (http://www.newtree.com/page.php?p1=289&language=en-US&US=1) are not bad either, but rather expensive

    pieter d wrote on August 5th, 2010
    • I agree, Cote D’or is delicious.

      Matt wrote on June 25th, 2011
      • But Côté d’Or has soy lécithine ….

        Catherine H wrote on March 26th, 2013
  13. 85% endangered species. Or for special occasions 72% endangered species w/ rasperies or blueberries!

    Roberta wrote on August 5th, 2010
  14. My primal daughter and I have been doing the Lindt 85% for several months and are very happy with it. It may not be organic, but the ingredient list is cleaner than most organic brands.

    We steer clear of soy lecithin around our cave. It’s in most other brands, organic or not. We have learned though personal experience that some of the ingredients that are allowed in many organic foods (i.e.-yeast extract, barley malt, etc.) can trigger reactions in chemical sensitives.

    Mark, I know you don’t have a problem with soy lecithin, and it doesn’t seem to have any affect on me, but it does seem to bother my wife and daughter.

    Thanks for the post!

    NotSoFast wrote on August 5th, 2010
    • You really missed one of the best. But I don’t know if you get it outside the EU:

      Domori ILBLEND 100%
      Only ingredient: Cacao

      Most chocolate bars with 100% cacao are dry and bitter, but this one is creamy and as bitter as a normal 80% bar. The Best: It is also 100% primal. Not even a small amount of soy lecithin…

      Tadas wrote on August 5th, 2010
      • I’ll sook for it! Thanks!

        NotSoFast wrote on August 5th, 2010
      • Forgive my ignorance here, but how can the only ingredient be cacao? Aren’t there at least cocoa butters or some other fat required to make a chocolate bar?

        musajen wrote on August 5th, 2010
        • Nope…

          as far as I know this is the only brand which really just contains cacao.
          The cacao is conched for a very long time to make it smooth. Sorry I could not find any further information about this process (just this: http://www.domori.com/en/product.php?idProductLine=8).

          Tadas wrote on August 5th, 2010
        • Dagoba also has a 100% chocolate bar (available even in the North!). One ingredient: “100% organic cacao beans”. It’s fairly expensive, like the others, but you can’t eat alot at once. Eating a piece right now and it’s pretty good! I also like the Xocolatl; it bites back.

          ArcticBear wrote on August 6th, 2010
        • The cocao butter comes from the cocoa bean! If they are using the whole bean – 100% that includes the fat/butter – then the chocolate would be 100% cocoa. FYI: cocoa butter is a neutral fat – does not do all the nasty things to your body that some other fats can do.

          Bonnie wrote on August 19th, 2010
    • You should try to track down Taza chocolate. It has 3 maybe 4 ingredients an NO SOY! I’m a real stickler about staying far far away from soy no matter how small of an amount and Taza is amazing.

      Stef wrote on February 21st, 2012
      • Tazo is amazing chocolate. Just tried it for the first time and it`s wonderful. The company history is also a real treat. Definitely a household item.

        Stef wrote on April 25th, 2012
  15. I really like the Green & Black’s Organic 85% bar. Once or twice a week I eat 6 squares with an ounce of almonds and a cup of coffee, it’s my favorite dessert!

    hcantrall wrote on August 5th, 2010
  16. Okay don’t tell me you haven’t tried Pralus (Pray-loo…if you say it the way it’s spelled sales people will silently mock you) 100% yet…It’s literally the best 100% dark chocolate there is. Better than the 90% and 85% bars I’ve tried even. Just smooth and creamy cocoa beans and cocoa butter basically, but processed so perfectly that you get the flowery/dark essence of the beans along with their slight natural sweetness. Pricey, yes. But so worth it, and the bar is stamped into teeny tiny squares that can make it last WAY longer than a usual bar.

    With all that said, being pregnant has ruined my chocolate receptors! All I want is milk chocolate…it’s so sad.

    Hannah wrote on August 5th, 2010
    • Yes, I have to say that Pralus pretty much blows all other chocolate out of the water for me. The texture is a-mazing!
      I also like their mini Pyramids des Tropiques package. It’s fun to taste the many differences between single origin chocolates from different countries (the Equateur is my absolute fave!!)

      Erin wrote on August 5th, 2010
    • I have to agree 100%! Before I opened this post I had in my head that Pralus 100% should be on here. Much to my disappointment it isn’t.

      The first time I tried it, the chocolate shop said they get a lot of diabetics who come in to buy the Pralus 100%.

      Mike wrote on August 5th, 2010
  17. When about the European chocolates that need refrigeration like Neuhaus, Godiva, and Leonidas? How do they stack up?

    Tina wrote on August 5th, 2010
  18. Tough crowd. I feel like a sugar wimp at 72%.

    Christine wrote on August 5th, 2010
  19. Hachez 88% is by far my favorite.

    mayness wrote on August 5th, 2010
  20. My current favorite is Vivani 100% organic 85% cocoa.

    I like it better than Lindt, Green & Black’s, Dagoba, and Chocolove.

    Chocolove was my intro to the darks, starting with ~72% and then graduating up as my taste changed.

    Looks like it is time to expand again and search out the Valrhona next time I head in to the big city where there is a Trader Joe’s.

    Thanks for the nice summaries!

    Rodney wrote on August 5th, 2010
  21. This post should be titled ‘the Best dark chocolate bars in Whole Foods and Trader Joes’.

    There are some seriously intense local brands you get in various European countries (specially Italy and the Netherlands) that you don’t even hear about in America. I would name names if I could remember them, but unfortunately it has been a while since I have visited Europe.

    That said, the Endangered Species Black Panther bar (88%) should be on this list, IMHO

    Apurva wrote on August 5th, 2010
    • Agreed. Not to take anything away from the chocolates on this list, but it seems they are the best of what is the most readily available (i.e. mass produced and well distributed) in North America. I won’t act like a chocolate snob and recommend boutique chocolates that require you to get on an airplane. Instead, I want to recommend two that are somewhat difficult to find in North America, but worth the hunt: A. Korkunov 72% Cacoa (from Russia) and Ulker Golden 70% Cacao (from Turkey). Enjoy!

      Michael wrote on March 24th, 2013
  22. This article reads like a review of fine cigars. It was pretty enjoyable and I’ll be looking to try these.

    jus wrote on August 5th, 2010
  23. Harpo wrote on August 5th, 2010
  24. Bulk Barn has 100% dark chocolate haha

    frank wrote on August 5th, 2010
  25. Unfortunately, dark chocolate gives me migraines. Shrug.

    Mike Panian wrote on August 5th, 2010
  26. I agree!! The Endangered Species Black Panther bar (88%)is the best. Next is the Lindt 85-90%.
    I go through one bar a week of the 88%…

    Dave, RN wrote on August 5th, 2010
    • Love the Black Panther bar!

      Remember, these lovely pieces of chocolate can also be turned into amazing beverages. Think of a dark chocolate drink, supplemented with the right chilies and spices, being sipped from a sea salt rimmed tall glass…..

      Esther wrote on August 6th, 2010
  27. Lindt may be considered pedestrian (i don’t think so) because its everywhere, but Lindt 99% is harder to find, and well worth it.

    shel wrote on August 5th, 2010
  28. Thanks for the post, Mark! Love the Scharffen Berger and Chocolove! Another one that’s absolutely worth trying is Endagered Species 88% — delicious chocolate, and you support a great cause when you enjoy it :)

    I found it at Whole Foods here in San Francisco, but I’m pretty sure it’s available nationwide.

    Len wrote on August 5th, 2010
  29. Lindt 90%!!

    AutumnP wrote on August 5th, 2010
    • +1, clear winner

      Andrew wrote on August 5th, 2010
  30. Green&Black & Newman’s Organic are the ones I get. My daughter told me to try Uganda brand as she thought it was the best, so I have yet to try that. She only left me the empty wrapper.

    Paul C wrote on August 5th, 2010
    • After looking at the wrapper, it is Hagelund 80%, with Uganda in large letters. Nice texture and strong flavor but not too bitter.

      Paul C wrote on August 7th, 2010
      • Oops make that Hageland.

        Paul C wrote on August 7th, 2010
    • Just had 88% Teuscher (Swiss). I would compare it to the Green & Black, slightly less bitter. It is twice as expensive though, so unless it was a gift I would not buy it.

      Paul C wrote on August 17th, 2010
  31. Great picks. Green and Black’s is my personal favorite. I don’t care for Lindt’s 85%, though. It tastes to strongly of alcohol for my preference.

    Elizabeth wrote on August 5th, 2010
    • I agree, I’ve tried them all and G&B’s 85% tops them all

      Melissa wrote on August 7th, 2011
  32. I’m really surprised that the ‘Le 100% by Pralus’ isn’t on this list. By far my favorite dark chocolate bar out there.

    lovestoclimb wrote on August 5th, 2010
    • I totally agree with LovesToClimb. I never thought I’d enjoy a 100% chocolate. But 100% Pralus is the best chocolate I’ve tasted. I only wish it weren’t so expensive.

      maba wrote on August 5th, 2010
  33. Here in Missouri we have two single-estate chocolate makers, both of whom make world-class chocolate bars. Too bad they top out at 75% or so. But still worth checking out for chocolate afficionados.

    Patric (www.patric-chocolate.com) and Askinosie (www.askinosie.com)

    Hugh wrote on August 5th, 2010
  34. There’s also a pretty reasonably priced bar at TJ’s ($1.49 I think) usually at the “candy” aisle besides the checkout stands called –
    Trader Joe’s The Dark Chocolate Lover’s Chocolate Bar 85% Cacao Smooth & fruity from the Tumaco Region of Colombia

    What I like about this bar besides the price is that it comes as two separate bars inside the package itself (for 1.25 servings per bar).

    Jason wrote on August 5th, 2010
    • Well, its not any of those fancy bars, but I shop at the Fort Knox commissary in Kentucky and about the best I can do is the Ghirardelli 86% Midnight Reverie. They carry the Green and Black 70% as well, but I find it too sweet. I guess that’s what I get for getting stationed in “the gut” of the country. One whole foods clear up in Louisville and nothing else closer than Cincinnati.

      Major D wrote on August 5th, 2010
    • I have to agree. The TJ 85% is probably the best tasting/value combo with great packaging too. The square sizes are perfect…put one melt a square on the bottom of some little cupcake cups…let cool…put a dab of TJ almond butter (also great deal)…sandwich with another chocolate square and melt. Let cool and you have a wonderful little almond butter cup. Mmmm.

      Mike wrote on August 5th, 2010
  35. My favorite is Green & Blacks 85% w/ a date wrapped around it or two lol. Also, tastes good dipped in raw honey or almond butter for that Reeces Pieces kinda flavor I used to enjoy. Will try other ones too. Good timming :D I also eat the 70 +% if they are out sometimes.

    madeline wrote on August 5th, 2010
  36. How about Robb Wolf’s secret weapon Francois Pralus Le 100% Dark chocalate

    IAN wrote on August 5th, 2010
  37. I have to put in a good word for the plain old Lindt 85% cacao bars. Surprisingly low carb – Total Carbohydrate: 8g (3%)Dietary Fiber: 3g (12%) for 4 squares!

    They taste very nice too. A little more bitter than some are used to, but you will soon prefer it over sickly sweet conventional chocolate :)

    Jake Mayer wrote on August 5th, 2010
    • I have to say that of all of the choices I always go with the Green and Blacks because the texture is so amazing. The Dagoba Xocolati is a nice change if you want to go that low with the cacao content. But when I was visiting my mother for a few months last summer in a small town in Eastern Colorado, all I had was Walmart and they sold the Lindt 85% bars. I was pleasantly surprised to find how delicious they were. I didn’t know their carb count was so low, making them even better.

      MIke wrote on August 6th, 2010
  38. my favorite is a local czech handmade organic raw bar – made from unroasted raw cacao. here is an english link
    http://www.lifefood.eu/en/strava/organic-raw-chocolate.html
    I don’t see on their website info about the nutritional numbers etc so I will just have to buy a bar tomorrow and post again….

    Daniel Visser wrote on August 5th, 2010
  39. Divine Organics Sacred Cacao
    I like the one with mulberries and macadamia. Raw amazing cacao brittle sweetened with just a bit of maple crystals. Super superior!
    Also, if you’re into making your own, Vivapura has a rare strain of cacao, represents 5% of the cacao production on the planet, and it is stone ground. Melt the paste with whatever and it’s to live for! http://vivapura.net/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=67

    Birdie wrote on August 5th, 2010
    • I mix the coconut cream and the cacao paste together and I don’t need sweetener, low glycemic and DELISH!

      Birdie wrote on August 5th, 2010
  40. My favorite is the Galler Heritage noir 85% from the belgian company Galler. It’s really great, not so sweet but with an excellent taste and texture.

    Richard wrote on August 5th, 2010

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