Friday, April 13, 2007

Maximum Chocolate!

I am lucky enough to have friends that travel to the UK, and friends that are also willing to bring me back some wonderful gluten-free chocolate when I request it. I recently wrote this gluten-free blog entry about Montezuma's Chocolates, and how wonderful they were, and how most of what they sell are clearly labeled "Gluten Free". GF is great, but great chocolate that is also GF is to die for!

I first tried their chocolate-chili (pepper) dark chocolate bar a while back, and just had to have more! The subtle heat along with smooth and rich dark chocolate was excellent, and some of the best chocolate I have ever had. So, a friend doing work in London was nice enough to bring me back a bit more of this delicacy... or, actually, quite a bit more - an entire KILO of it :)



I took this picture of the back label, where you can see clearly how it is a gluten-free food (yes, I call chocolate food, because it is a food group all to its own for me), and even organic.

Now, I don't know how many other people out there are as fanatical about chocolate as I am. I rarely get overloaded on chocolate, or suffer chocolate "burn out" or anything of the sorts. In fact, it's quite the opposite - the more, the better. And, when I say chocolate, I mean dark and rich chocolate (no milk chocolate for me, and white "chocolate" isn't even chocolate).

To give you a feel for how bad this addiction is, I rarely eat chocolate with less than 70% cocoa (from the cacao tree) content, though I have had a few chocolates in the 50-70% cocoa range that are quite tolerable. This Montezuma's Dark Chocolate-Chilli is 73% for comparison, and it really does a fine job treating the addiction.

But, on occasion, I have to go all out and hit the hard-core chocolate (not for the faint of heart, or weak of addiction): 99% Scharffen Berger unsweetened fine artisan dark chocolate (marketed primarily for baking). This is the ultimate in pure chocolate - at 99% cocoa (the other 1% is vanilla beans), there is no more room for chocolate power.



I keep a bar of this around to snack on when anything else just won't cure the hunger for chocolate. Because of its concentrated strength, and lack of sugar, it only takes 1/2 ounce or so to do the trick. And, as hard as this may be to believe, I find it rather smooth even though it is unsweetened. With two ingredients (cocoa and vanilla beans), it is gluten-free as well (not to mention dairy-free and free of all sorts of other things). Chocolate doesn't get much simpler than this formulation.

From the Scharffen Berger web site:
Q: Is there gluten in chocolate?
A: No, there is no gluten in our chocolate. Gluten is a mixture of plant proteins occurring in cereal grains, chiefly wheat, rye and barley. Our chocolate ingredients: (cacao beans, sugar, vanilla bean, cocoa butter, and soy lecithin as an emulsifier) do not contain gluten. We also do not have any cereal grains present anywhere in our manufacturing facility at any time. Please note that our Cocao Powder and Sweetened Cocoa Powder are processed in a facility that handles wheat products, and thus may contain traces of gluten.

So, stick with their chocolate bars, and you should be plenty safe. And, with that 99% bar in their offering, you will always have the maximum chocolate option if you need it!

4 comments:

Slacker Mom said...

Good stuff, I just started using the Schaffen Berger chocolate for baking...it is yummy.

I use the 60% cocoa (Ghiradelli's) chips for choc. chip cookies, and it makes them taste so much better, even my kids love those chips.

I don't like to do any less than 60%, but 99%, you are hard core!!

:)

Sheri said...

Um, wow? I can't imagine eating the unsweetened stuff - I have bad memories of getting into mom's baking chocolate as a kid. Now I have to try it. I love SB as well.

Mike Eberhart said...

slacker mom and sheri,
Sure sounds like SB chocolate is popular! And Sheri, I too have memories of that unsweetened chocolate my mom kept around for baking - and, this SB 99% is quite a bit better. It may be a bit rough unless you really really love chocolate though :)

Dianne said...

Mmmmmmm! Thier shop is ten miles down the road, and I still havent been there. I'm going to have to go now!

I want some good chocolate!