Dark, Dark, Dark Chocolate-Kevin Alvidera

Posted on January 30, 2013

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My first time experiencing 70% chocolate from my coworker at Microsoft was terrible. I just couldn’t succumb to the bitterness of the small pieces he was handing me. He tried to convince me that dark chocolate is an acquired taste but the health benefits outweigh the fact that the chocolate is bitter. I responded by letting him know that I was happy to have tested it but it just wasn’t something that I could see myself getting used to.

If I couldn’t appreciate the taste and health benefits of 70% chocolate, why would I even think about trying 100% chocolate? However, that is exactly what I did in the Gourmet Ghetto neighborhood in Berkeley. At a small boutique shop called Alegio Chocolate, I made the leap to 100% chocolate in the form of a cocoa bean. The cocoa bean looked exactly like a peanut with its shell except it was several shades darker. I was instructed that I could eat the cocoa bean with or without the shell. Hastily, I ate the cocoa bean without peeling the shell and unsurprisingly, this was disgusting. This is probably what coal tastes like with the texture of chalk in your mouth. I probably should have rinsed out the horrendous taste with water but I told myself to suck it up because the employee was so happy to demonstrate the history of her company and show us what variety they had.

The next thing she handed us was a small piece of 80% chocolate. It looked like any other piece of dark chocolate but tasted just as bad as the 70% chocolate my coworker handed to me before. It was definitely better then the cocoa bean I just forced down my mouth but still something that I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy or enjoy. Surprisingly, the lady said that 80% chocolate is currently the most popular chocolate that this boutique sells.

The next three rounds consisted of 75%, 73.5% and 70% chocolate. The lower the percentage, the better the chocolate tasted. Even though there is such a slight variation in the percentages, I tasted more of a subtle sweetness as the chocolate became less pure. To my satisfaction, the 70% chocolate was actually pretty enjoyable considering I started out with a cocoa bean.

The last two rounds featured 70% chocolate with orange flavoring and 70% chocolate with coffee. The 70% chocolate with orange left a citrus aftertaste that I found very appealing as it reminded me of the 100% orange juice by Welch’s. I followed that up with the 70% chocolate with coffee and was somewhat let down that this ended the rounds of chocolate. The chocolate was decent, however, the coffee bean was so hard that I was scared I could have chipped my tooth if I wasn’t so careful when biting down on it.

This turned out to be an eye opening experience. My experience was completely different from eating 70% chocolate from my coworker the first time. Starting from the most bitter chocolate and then working down seemed to really help me appreciate darker chocolate. Although I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to purchase 100% chocolate, I am more open minded toward reaping the health benefits of 70% chocolate.

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