Monday, May 27, 2013

Scharffen Berger 82% Extra Dark Chocolate Bars - Excellent Taste And Nutrition

I usually buy chocolate at Trader Joe's, but when I saw a good deal on Scharffen Berger 82% Extra Dark Chocolate Bars online, I couldn't resist. And I am glad I bought this particular type since I love dark chocolate and prefer the kind that isn't too sweet or grainy.

Although some online reviewers stated that this chocolate was too bitter and therefore is inedible and is better suited for cooking, most gave it excellent reviews. Although that was something that I was concerned about, once the chocolate arrived and I tasted it, I was relived to find that negative reviews were completely incorrect.


True, if you are used to super-sweet American-style chocolate (which I affectionately call "crap"), See's candies and other sugar-overloaded food, you might find these slightly bitter. Maybe. I can't detect any more than usual, very slight, chocolate bitterness (and you would expect some in extra dark chocolate).

In fact, this 82% extra dark chocolate is even slightly too sweet for my taste. I would prefer it to be slightly less sweet and slightly more bitter. The flavor overall is mild and slightly peppery with a dried fruit aftertaste. The texture is quite smooth (again, unlike cheap American grainy chocolate; not taking into account better examples like Dove).

Resent research shows that chocolate is not only rich in antioxidants, but also boosts HDL (a.k.a. "good cholesterol") and reduces LDL (a.k.a. "bad cholesterol"). It does so despite the previous conventional wisdom that saturated fat is bad and is supposed to do the opposite (the "wisdom" was "conventional" for only 4-5 decades and is now proven to be wrong). Yes, chocolate is high in fat, most of which is saturated. Will eating it be good or bad for your heart? I think the former.

Still, in the interest of disclosure, 1/2 of the 3-oz bar (1.5 oz or 43 g) contains 19 g of fat, 12 g of which is saturated. Which represents 29% and 60% of recommended daily intake (RDI) respectively. It contains no sodium or trans fat.
One thing I am trying to limit in my diet is sugar (along with other simple carbohydrates). Still, I like chocolate and I am unwilling to give it up. And with Scharffen Berger 82% Extra Dark I don't have to since it actually contains quite little. One-half of a 3-oz bar (1.5 oz or 43 g) contains only 17 g of carbs, 6 of which are fiber, leaving only 11 g of simple carbs (8 g of which are sugar). Perfectly reasonable and even a good source of fiber, since 6 g of it is 24% of recommended daily intake (RDI).

The said serving also contains 2% RDI of Calcium, 10% of iron and 5 g of protein. Very good numbers overall in my book.

Pros: Great taste, low sugar, high fiber and protein, low price if bought online.
Cons: Not for people who like super-sweet chocolate

Bottom Line
The Scharffen Berger 82% Extra Dark Chocolate is excellent-tasting and healthy. If you like dark chocolate with low sugar, I highly recommend it. But if you prefer very sweet chocolate, you might be disappointed.

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