What is the Best Dark Chocolate?

What is the Best Dark Chocolate?

dark chocolate

There are several ways to determine which chocolate is best, depending upon what you are looking for. Whether you want dark chocolate with the best flavor, the most health benefits, or the one that works with your particular dietary requirements this article will provide an overview of the qualities of different chocolates and the companies they come from to help you answer the question, “What is the best dark chocolate?”

General Information

For many people, flavor and texture will determine which dark chocolate is best. If you are one of these, look for popular dark chocolate products offered by companies such as Hershey or Dove. These products are usually labeled “dark” but often do not have any numbers revealing the percentage of cocoa in their products. When there are numbers, choose between 50-70% dark. These chocolates often have many additional ingredients to make them taste good and have a great “mouthfeel” but at the expense of health benefits.

The best dark chocolate for health benefits is made up of simple ingredients, often containing nothing more than cocoa and sugar. Look for at least 70% cocoa and as few additional ingredients as possible unless the ingredients offer additional health benefits, for example, walnuts or coconut.

People who want the health benefits but find that dark chocolate is too bitter are often able to work their way up slowly. Cutting back on other sweets at the same time will allow chocolate to take on a whole new level of sweetness.

Nutrients Found in Dark Chocolate Include:

  • Soluble fiber
  • Good fats
  • Minerals: Iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, phosphorous, and others
  • One of the best sources of antioxidants including flavonoids and polyphenols
  • Stimulants: caffeine and theobromine

Health Benefits of Eating Dark Chocolate Include:

  • Improves blood flowstethescope
  • Helps prevent diabetes
  • Promotes weight loss
  • Improves cholesterol
  • Decreases risk of heart disease
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • May reduce cancer
  • Improves brain function
  • Protects against sun
  • Reduces stress
  • Reduces depression
  • Improves insulin sensitivity

Some dark chocolate will also contain:

  • Chocolate
  • Cocoa processed with Alkali
  • Cocoa butter (softens texture, adds flavor)
  • Soy lecithin-an emulsifier (blends flavors)
  • Milk
  • Milk Fat
  • Natural or Artificial Flavors (vanilla)

The Dutching Process

Stop sign

When chocolate is dutched, it is treated with Alkali which darkens the chocolate and reduces the bitterness. Unfortunately, dutching chocolate can reduce flavanols by half. In the U.S., dutched chocolate includes the words “cocoa processed with alkali” in the list of ingredients. You may also see the words “Dutched”, “European Style”, or “Alkalized” on the label.

Cadmium in Dark Chocolate

Some dark chocolate may contain traces of cadmium which is a soft, bluish-white element that is found in the earth’s crust. Plants such as leafy greens, potatoes, and soybeans can absorb cadmium from the soil. Large levels of cadmium can have adverse effects on health, especially in the kidneys, although eating a moderate amount of dark chocolate is unlikely to cause problems for most people.

According to Consumer Labs, cocoa has more cadmium than dark chocolate and they recommend that adults drink no more than one cup of cocoa per day. If you are interested in learning more about the levels of cadmium in specific brands of dark chocolate, Consumer Labs has done a study that reveals cadmium levels and levels of flavonols in many popular chocolate products. The report can be purchased from their website. Here is a video with additional information:

VIDEO: Dark Chocolates and Cocoas: Healthful or Toxic?

Product Comparisons

Here is a sampling of some common choices in dark chocolate. As you can see, the ingredients vary quite a bit from one bar to another so it’s important to know what you are looking for before you toss something into your cart.

Sweeter Choices:

Dagoba 59% Cacao: Ingredients: Organic dark chocolate, cane sugar, milk, cacao beans, cacao butter, lecithin

  • Dagoba Chocolate is Organic, Non-GMO, OUD

Dove Dark Chocolate (bar): Ingredients: Semisweet Chocolate (Sugar, Chocolate, Chocolate Processed with Alkali, Cocoa Butter, Milkfat, Soy Lecithin, Natural and Artificial Flavors).

Hershey’s Special Dark (bar): Ingredients: Sugar, Chocolate, Cocoa Butter, Milk Fat, Cocoa processed with Alkali, Lecithin (soy), Natural Flavor, Milk

Hershey’s Kisses Special Dark: Ingredients: Sweet Chocolate (Sugar, Chocolate, Cocoa Butter, Milk Fat, Cocoa processed with Alkali, Lecithin (soy), Natural Flavor, Milk)

70% and Darker:

ChocZero’s Keto Bark, Dark Chocolate Almonds with Sea Salt: Ingredients: Dark Chocolate (unsweetened chocolate, cocoa butter), Soluble Corn Fiber (GMO free), Almonds, Sea Salt, Sunflower Lecithin, Monk Fruit Extract, Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans. Contains tree nuts

  • All natural, non-GMO, soy free, gluten free. Made proudly in the USA.

Dagoba Rich Dark 74% Cacao: Ingredients: Cacao beans, cane sugar, cacao butter, soy lecithin, milk

Dagoba Extra Dark 84% Cacao: Ingredients: Cacao beans, cane sugar, cacao butter, soy lecithin, milk

Dagoba Organic Chocolate Bar Baking Unsweetened: Ingredients: Cacao beans

  • Dagoba Chocolate is Organic, Non-GMO, OUD

Ghirardelli Chocolate Intense Twilight Delight 72% Cacao Bars: Ingredients: Unsweetened chocolate, sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla, soy lecithin-an emulsifier

Ghirardelli Intense Dark Midnight Reverie 86% Chocolate Bar: Ingredients: Bittersweet chocolate (Unsweetened chocolate, cocoa butter, sugar, milk fat, soy lecithin-an emulsifier), vanilla, natural flavor

Ghirardelli Intense Dark Moonlight Mystique 92% Cacao Bar: (NEW) Ingredients unavailable.

Ghirardelli Chocolate Baking Bar, 100% Cacao Unsweetened Chocolate

Green & Black’s Organic 70% Dark Chocolate Candy Bar: Cocoa butter and a touch of vanilla combine with 70% Cacao to produce a smooth and intensely dark chocolate experience.

Green & Black’s Organic Dark Chocolate – 85% Cacao: Ingredients: Organic Chocolate, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Cocoa, Organic Raw Cane Sugar, Organic Vanilla Extract

  • Green and Blacks Organic is USDA Organic, Fair Trade, and UN Certified Ethically Sourced chocolate

Lindt Excellence Bar, Dark Chocolate 70% Cocoa: Ingredients: sugar, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, natural bourbon vanilla beans. Dry cocoa solid: 70% mini

Lindt Excellence Bar, 85% Cocoa Extra Dark Chocolate: Ingredients: Chocolate, cocoa powder, cocoa butter, demerara sugar, bourbon vanilla beans

Lindt Excellence Bar, 90% Cocoa Supreme Dark Chocolate: Ingredients: Chocolate, cocoa butter, cocoa powder processed with alkali, sugar, bourbon vanilla beans

  • Gluten-free

Sacred Chocolate:

  • Unroasted, Stone-Ground, Organic & Vegan*
  • Sweetened with maple, inulin or erythritol
  • Uses ethically traded Arriba Nacional whole bean cacao from Ecuador

*Only Holy CaCow is not vegan.

Taza Chocolate – Origin Bar – 87% Dark Stone Ground: Ingredients: Organic cacao beans, organic cane sugar, organic vanilla beans.

Taza Chocolate – Wicked Dark – 95% Stone Ground: Ingredients: Organic cacao beans, organic cane sugar.

  • Taza stone ground chocolate is less processed, so the texture is satisfyingly gritty.
  • Direct Trade, Certified USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, Certified Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, Kosher, and Vegan.

Shop for The Best Dark Chocolate in the U.S:

CLICK HERE TO GO TO SACRED CHOCOLATE

 

CLICK HERE TO SEE MY RECOMMENDATIONS FROM AMAZON (All of the above are available.)

CLICK THE PICTURE BELOW FOR GODIVA:

Shop for Chocolate in the U.K:

Green & Black’s is available in the U.S. through the Amazon link above.

In Conclusion:

I hope this article has helped you to determine what is the best dark chocolate. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below and I will do my best to answer.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. ~Theresa

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14 Replies to “What is the Best Dark Chocolate?”

    1. I don’t eat the same kind every time but I tend to reach for 85% dark or darker without dairy or added flavoring. I am looking forward to trying Taza chocolate, which I have on order.

  1. Wow… I really really like this site, I guess I have learned a lot about chocolate and I will also recommend it. 

    Which kind of chocolate among the those you mentioned spoil teeth? 

    And it’s the truth that cocoa is also used to make chocolate? 

    But if I want to lose some weight which kind of chocolate you will recommend for me? 

    1. Thank you. I’m glad you like this site and I hope you will continue to come back. Chocolate won’t hurt your teeth as long as you brush them regularly. Yes, cocoa is used to make chocolate. It’s a fascinating process. Maybe I will write about that someday. You can lose weight with dark chocolate that is 70% dark or darker if you eat it in moderation. I lost weight eating chocolate every day but I did not eat other sweets. Most of the time, I eat 85% dark. The nice thing about chocolate is that you can place a small amount in your mouth and let it melt slowly. One little bite can fill your mouth for a long time and it is very satisfying!

  2. Hello, 

    Before reading your article, I didn’t know about all the benefits of eating dark chocolate! Besides that, I wasn’t aware that cadium could have a negative impact on my health (I didn’t even know what cadium was), so I will start to check the information on the chocolate I buy. Maybe I will even try to buy from some of the companies that you suggested. I’m specially a Hershey fan, but I will give it a try to the others. 

    1. Sadly, Hershey chocolate doesn’t have much nutritional value so I hope you grow to like some of the other offerings. You won’t see cadium on the label. For that information, I suggest going to the consumer report link that I mentioned in the article.

  3. Hey Theresa,

    I’ve really enjoyed reading this article as you’ve provided us with tons of valuable information. I knew that dark chocolate would provide us with 3-4 benefits, but you’ve proved me wrong with a lot more advantages! I’ve been told by many people that dark chocolate which has more than 80% is good for you. So it is true that a higher percentage of cocoa in a bar of dark chocolate can be advantageous for health!

    1. Yes, higher cocoa content is usually the most beneficial as long as it’s not dutched chocolate and does not have additional “junk” added.

  4. Wow, chocolates! 

    A very big fan of chocolate. But you exploring and explaining the nutritional and health benefits of chocolates is quite beneficial. Sometimes I think it only causes for fat accumulation, but then I am wrong.

    There are quite a handful types of chocolate I haven’t eaten, I will definitely have a taste of them now that I know they exist.

    1. Thanks for stopping by. Yes, the tasting is the fun part! The flavor varies considerably from one brand to another.

  5. I, like almost everyone I know, love chocolate.

    My journey through life has led to me giving up dairy (among many other things). Going from two cream and two sugar in coffee to just two sugar is disgusting. So, I went straight to black coffee.

    I found that with this change, dark chocolate began to taste MUCH better. Also, I couldn’t eat most other chocolates, because of the dairy content.

    My advice to someone trying to get down to 70 or 80% dark is to take their coffee black. It will be much easier.

    1. That’s great advice, Tyler. Thank you for sharing. I take my coffee black and my chocolate dark. They go great together. 🙂

  6. This article brought back a funny memory. At the last office job I had, there was another manager who, though a nice enough guy, was kind of the loud, pushy type. One day he saw me enjoying some dark chocolate with my lunch. He pretty much “demanded” a piece. He didn’t realize it was 90% cocoa bar. You should have seen his face when he popped a piece in his mouth! Needless to say, he never asked for any of my lunch again. haha

    When my kids were little, I always kept Hersey’s chocolate kisses on hand for them….because I have always disliked Hersey’s chocolate. Friends would be amazed I could “resist the temptation” of having it in the house, but I simply couldn’t stand it.

    I love that the nutritional benefits of good-quality dark chocolate is coming to light, because it really can be a healthful yet decadent indulgence. You break it down beautifully in this article. Thanks for sharing your insights.

    1. I love this! Hershey’s chocolate has no appeal for me, either. I used to make frequent trips to Hershey’s “Chocolate World” and they always seemed astonished when I refused the free samples.

      I love it that you get “dark”. It’s fun to introduce people to dark chocolate when they are expecting it to taste like Hershey’s Special Dark.

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