The sweet, the bitter.

Last Sunday I enjoyed another chocolate tasting at Chocolátl1.

Chocolate tasting bitter and sweet at Chocolatl, Amsterdam
Chocolate tasting “bitter/sweet” at Chocolátl in Amsterdam

This time following the didactic concept of pairing chocolates from the same makers and from the same bean but with or without added milk powder2. And I really learned a lot in a small amount of time.
I was really amazed how drastically the addition of milk suppressed the chocolate-related acidity and citrus fruit notes in all of the cases. In particular the Madécasse 70% and the Friis-Holm 75% had a very pronounced acidity and fruitiness which I hardly noticed in the respective milk chocolate equivalents.
Although I did like many of the milk chocolates in this tasting, they still confirmed my general impression that milk and dark chocolates are two entirely different things. Good milk chocolates (such as the ones we tasted) are great and I can easily eat a whole lot of them at a time. You could also call it short-term addictive eating habit. Somehow that seems to be directly linking to my childhood chocolate conditioning, no way around that. Dark chocolate is completely different for me. Dark chocolate bars have a pretty high chance of surviving some days and their flavor spectrum seems simply so much broader! Most milk chocolates -at least for me- seem to be dominated by the milk-related flavors like caramel3, vanilla, cream. From the pure chocolate side, roasting and slight bitter notes still seem to make it beyond the milk curtain, but many of the “typical” chocolate flavors simply seem to be hidden.
No rule without exception. The Askinosie 62% was in fact a milk chocolate4. I had this chocolate before and liked it a lot, so I just came to realize that I probably liked it so much because it behaves so “dark” for a milk chocolate. Well, actually it is quite dark. It contains 62% cocoa and is made with goat milk which further adds spicy flavor notes5.
OK, enough for now. Taste yourself6. Bitter or sweet?

  1. A wonderful chocolate shop in Amsterdam. []
  2. That’s of course explained in a over-simplified manner. The difference between the respective two chocolates is not only adding or nor adding milk powder. At the same time the proportions of cocoa solids, sugar, and cocoa butter might change. Even the beans might be treated in a very different way. Some manufacturers might for example use different roasting settings or conching times when making milk chocolates… By the way: That would be interesting to know… mhhh… further investigation needed… []
  3. Caramel notes are quite typical for some milk chocolates. That’s not so surprising, because during the long conching process (continuous stirring of the chocolate at 50°C or higher) Maillard reactions happen due to the presence of the milk proteins and the sugar. []
  4. Dear Debby and Charlotte, thanks for that perfidious trickery. []
  5. I really want to have a closer look at Askinosie’s chocolates at some point. I don’t always liked the ones I had (like the white chocolate in this tasting here), but all I had were very particular and interesting. Some I really loved (such as here the dark goat-milk, and his dark 77%)! []
  6. By the way. I definitely recommend the Duffy’s 55% milk chocolate as well as the dark chocolates from Friis-Holm (70%) and Pralus (75%), Duffy’s (72%), or the chocolatemakers (68%)… []

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