Taste test: salted dark chocolate

Serving size 1.5 ounces 1.3 ounces 1.4 ounces
Calories 210 190 190
Fat/Fiber 14g / 3g 13g / 3g 13g / 0g
Sugars/Sodium 18g / 190mg 15g / 50mg 19g / 50mg
Carbs/Protein 24g / 2g 21g / 3g 24g / 2g


Looking for something for a grownup Easter basket? Our panelists suggest dark, salted chocolates. They are all the rage and available at many local grocery stores and drugstores. These candy bars are sweet, savory and robustly chocolate. We sampled seven varieties of the antioxidant-filled dark chocolate bars and hope the bunny brings them Sunday.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Product/Score

(out of 100)
Salazon Chocolate Co. Organic Dark Chocolate with Natural Sea Salt 74Ghirardelli

Intense

Dark Sea Salt

Soiree

with Sea Salt and

Roasted Almonds 62
Lindt with

'A Touch

of Sea Salt' 45
Judges'

comments
Panelists described this bar as "interesting looking" with a mottled top and large chunks of salt in every bite. "The salt grains 'pop' under your teeth and leave a very salty taste — but it's in really good, bittersweet chocolate," said one judge. Another said that balance made this bar the winner. "The ying/yang, the up/down, the left/right are a perfect balance of chocolate and a touch of salt," he said. "This is just, simply, yummy!" said another. "I love the kick of salt."The salt was the main attraction in this bar, but bits of almonds gave it an extra little something that made it appealing to our judges. "The large squares are studded with nuts and the chocolate flavor is smooth and not as bold as some of the others," said one. "This would be a great dark chocolate and salt bar for the beginner dark-chocolate-salt lover," said another. "It's like dark chocolate and salt with training wheels."Lindt's chocolate had a nice snap and a mild salty texture and flavor. "It's thin and shiny with a really nice grain," said one judge. "The bitter, chocolate flavor is very sophisticated but not overly salty." A couple of panelists said it would be a great candy bar to serve alongside a sweet, cold dessert like ice cream. "The chocolate would add a lot of flavor and the salt would be a nice, polished top-off," said one.
Would

they buy?
All four judges said yes.All four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$3.99 for a 3-ounce bar from the Fresh Market.$2.49 for a 3.5-ounce bar from Target.$2.79 for a 3.5-ounce bar from Walmart.


Also Sampled: Chocolove with Almonds and Sea Salt ($3.29 for a 3.2-ounce bar from the Fresh Market, 38 points); Madecasse Sea Salt & Nibs Cocoa, Crunchy & 'A Touch of Sea Salt' ($5.99 for a 2.6-ounce bar from the Fresh Market, 32 points); Nirvana Organic Belgian Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt & Carmel ($4.99 for a 3.5-ounce bar from the Fresh Market, 25 points); and Vosges Black Salt Caramel Bar ($6.99 for a 3-ounce bar from the Fresh Market, 44 points).

Panelists: Jim Yockey, aesthetician at Clinique of Plastic Surgery in St. Petersburg; Jeff Jensen, public information officer for the city of Treasure Island; Wayne Conery, manager of the R Bar on Treasure Island; and Laura Reiley, Times food critic. All foods were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to jkeeler@tampabay.com. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to food.tampabay.com.

Taste test: salted dark chocolate 04/03/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 3, 2012 5:30am]

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