In honor of Valentine’s Day, the Zipongo team taste-tested our favorite chocolate brands. While we know that dark chocolate is generally healthier than milk chocolate, each brand has its own distinct taste and nutrition. Check out which dark chocolate bar came out on top.
From left to right: Newman’s Own Organics, Godiva Chocolatier, Ghirardelli Intense Dark, Lindt Smooth Dark, TCHO
For our taste test, we included chocolate brands that are around 70% cacao. To get the most health benefits out of dark chocolate, choose at least 60 to 70% cacao.
Chocolate Blind-Taste Test
Newman’s Own Organics was the top winner in taste, followed closely by Lindt. While there were only subtle differences in flavor profiles, Newman’s Own had the perfect balance of sweet and bitter.
Why Dark Chocolate Is Better
You’ve probably heard that dark chocolate is a healthier alternative to milk chocolate. There are several reasons why:
- Dark chocolate contains powerful antioxidants called flavonoids. These antioxidants have been shown to lower blood pressure, have cancer-preventing properties, and boost your mood and cognitive function. Milk chocolate generally has more unhealthy fats and fillers. In addition, milk proteins bind to antioxidants, which prevent your body form absorbing them.
- Cocoa butter is the fat that’s extracted from cocoa beans. Although it’s high in saturated fat, a large portion of it is stearic acid. This type of saturated fat has a pretty neutral effect on the body’s cholesterol levels and won’t boost LDL (bad) cholesterol like other saturated fats.
- Cocoa solids are the hard bits that are naturally occurring in the cacao plant. Cocoa solids are present in higher amounts in dark chocolate and provide a good source of fiber.
Which Ingredients to Skip when Buying Dark Chocolate
When shopping for dark chocolate (or any other chocolate product), look out for these ingredients on the label:
Chocolate processed with alkali: Natural chocolate is pretty acidic, so food manufacturers will process it with alkaline ingredients to help tone down the taste. However, this process destroys the healthy antioxidants that are naturally present in chocolate. Look for plain chocolate in the ingredients label.
PGPR: Despite its complicated name, polyglycerol polyricinoleate’s purpose is pretty simple. When added to chocolate, PGPR mimics the same qualities that natural cocoa butter has. It makes the chocolate smoother and more consistent. Cocoa butter is very expensive, so manufacturers will use PGPR as a filler to cut costs. This is why you might taste a difference between a less expensive Hershey’s bar and a more expensive chocolate brand. Check the label: Hershey’s uses PGPR.
Zipongo Recommendation for the Best Dark Chocolate
Newman’s Own was by far the tastiest chocolate tested. In addition, it contains minimally processed ingredients and was reasonably priced (97¢ per ounce). As well, Newman’s Own was the only chocolate tested that’s certified organic. What’s not to love?
Until the next blind taste test, snack wiser.
Bobby is the community and social media manager at Zipongo. He has a degree in nutrition and dietetics and previously worked as a health educator.