They say chocolate is the food of love. Then some love must be better than others.
Dark chocolate will always be kind to you; it improves your cardiovascular health, is packed with natural antioxidants (the same in fancy, healthy foods like green tea and blueberries), and suppresses all your sweet-tooth cravings. Organic chocolate, however, is love on a whole other level. Not only is it kind to you, but it is kind to the earth.
Certified organic dark chocolate means the product has been planted, grown and harvested under stringent conditions set out by one of Australia’s seven organic certification bodies. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are strictly banned, and you wont find any artificial fertilisers or harmful chemicals in the food you are putting in your belly.
For the public good, I’ve volunteered myself, and seven of our editorial team (Liam, Amy, Adam, Tess, Dave, Housnia and Anita) to embark on a labour of love – to give you the verdict on different types of organic dark chocolate available on the market.
Now, to ensure the fairness of the tasting, I went off into a little corner of the room and removed all the packaging (having first taken notes of which was which) and placed them on plain sheets of paper. I brought out the (anonymous) batches one at a time for tasting and watched as the panel of reviewers fought over every last morsel. After chewing over what they had just experienced, our lovely team graded each chocolate on taste, texture, aroma and packaging, and now I will present the results.
Green and Black’s Organic ($4.99 per 100g)
Green and Black’s tastes just like life – bittersweet. Rich and aromatic, this really is a no-frills, serious kind of dark chocolate. The packaging is very traditional, and so is the smooth, hard texture. It’s got some fruity tones that come out after a chew or two, and has a natural, tempered flavour. Liam said of the packaging; “Looks like chocolate – which is good.” It’s quite sleek, dressed in black and gold (contrary to its name).
Pana Chocolate ($15.55 per 100g)
When the lovely salesperson offered up this vegan variation at an organic supermarket in Newtown, my immediate thoughts were, if fun had a brother called no fun, this is what it would taste like. I was wrong. The Pana dark chocolate was exquisite. Made up of 60% cocoa and naturally sweetened with agave nectar, this is by far the favourite. The 45 grams of organic chocolate is vegan, raw and handmade with what I believe to be love. With layers of flavours, it’s really like a party in your mouth – a rupture of tropical tang here, some nutty goodness there, leaving a rich, aromatic aftertaste. It also had a very unique texture, with its consistency strikingly similar to fudge, but very pleasantly so. Of the packaging, Tess said: “It looks classy and expensive.” There were also a few, “Looks pretentious, but cute,” thrown in by the team. This is the sort of love people spend their whole life looking for; unrelenting, intoxicating, and enduring.
Green Dream ($8.45 per 100g)
This particular choice has quite a distinctive orange tang. It has a gentle citrusy aroma, but the texture was quite chalky and not my preferred consistency. This one divided the team; Anita says that she liked it, while Dave says: “Yuck.” I’m siding with Dave here. I feel the packaging of Green Dream should also be discussed. Whilst picking organic chocolates to review, I completely overlooked this one; the reason being the photograph on the packet is some variation of an ambiguous nut. I don’t think many people would have been able to work out that this was organic chocolate without first consulting a salesperson.
Acai Berry Chocolate ($8.95 per 100g)
Everyone’s seen Acai around. It’s one of those super foods on the peripheral that you’ve never gotten round to trying. At first, it tastes like any dark chocolate you buy; nothing special, until little bursts of fruity flavour begin to emerge. People who enjoy the fruit-and-nut types of chocolate would be a fan of this, because the little bits of what I assume is acai is quite subtle. While it fairs quite well in the taste department, the general consensus was that the texture was gritty and dry. The overwhelming response was summed up by Adam: “May as well eat chalk.” The packaging doesn’t redeem itself either – it’s surprisingly garish and, well, ugly, for what I have in mind as quite a sophisticated chocolate. “Two dollar shop worthy,” says our editor, Amy. This is the sort of lovin’ that’s safe and steady, but the spark disappears after the honeymoon period.
Plamil Luxury Chocolate ($6.50 per 100g)
The overwhelming response I got from the team was this chocolate tasted like dirt. According to Tess, it “smelled like dirt” too. Compared to its vegan counterpart, this was really a disappointment. The texture was quite gritty and my taste buds weren’t too excited. Housnia said: “Eww,” which is what I assume young people use to denote things that aren’t very hip. I’m not sure why it’s called Plamil Luxury Chocolate, but I guess if you’re a masochist who enjoys a long-running bitter aftertaste, this would work for you. Just a wild guess, but I have a feeling that the ingredients are seventy per cent clay and thirty per cent chocolate. The packaging doesn’t help either; it’s quite plain and Anita says: “Meh,” which means unremarkable if you’re under the age of 25.
Phew. That was hard work. But for the love I bear you, dear reader, I have finally accomplished this taxing task, and wholeheartedly hope that this will help guide your future decisions regarding organic chocolate. Sharon Ye, over and out.
Chocolates purchased from:
408 King Street, Newtown
Dr. Earth Health Foods
287-289 King St, Newtown