Green and Black’s Organic Dark Chocolate
Most people have strong opinions about chocolate with the majority preferring milk over dark chocolate but times are changing. Americans consume about 12 pounds per person annually which equates to about a pound a month or 4 ounces a week. That may seem like a lot of chocolate but the Swiss consume nearly twice that amount which makes me feel less guilty when I tear the wrapper off my favorite candy bar – Green & Black’s Organic Dark 85% Cacao Bar. A 3.5 ounce bar molded into thirty small rectangles easy to break apart, this bar of chocolate is best enjoyed slowly by allowing a small piece to melt in your mouth releasing intensely flavored dark chocolate that will render you unable to speak lest the chocolate flavor subside.
A committed milk chocolate devotee for years, the Green & Black bar made me move to the dark side. Most people advise chocolate lovers to start slowly with dark chocolate by choosing a 60% dark chocolate bar and gradually moving up to more intensely flavored chocolate as dark chocolate is an acquired taste that will eventually render you weak, helpless and unable to turn away from its charms. As the company founders say “there are few foods that illicit a true passion like chocolate.”
The story of Green & Black’s began 21 years ago in 1991 when Craig Sams, founder of Whole Earth – a UK organic food company – was sent a sample of a 70% chocolate bar that was made from organic cocoa beans. He left the half eaten bar on his desk where he wife, Josephine Farley, a columnist for the London Times, found the half eaten bar and finished it. The bold, rich flavor was unlike anything she had ever tasted before and she was convinced other consumers would feel the same. Craig and Jo set out to bring a high quality dark bittersweet organic chocolate to the masses.
Great tasting chocolate from Green & Black’s begins with cocoa beans – organically grown by farmers in Belize and the Dominican Republic who eschew pesticides to allow the chocolate to taste the way it was meant to – “deep, fruity, and full.” The variety of the cocoa bean, where and how the beans are grown will impact its flavor so the company primarily relies on the Trinitario variety. The farmers use sustainable farming methods and harvest the cocoa pods when ripe.
The beans – 40-45 in each – are removed from the pod and are covered with banana leaves for about 5 days to allow the beans to ferment. The beans are then laid out to dry in the sun before being shipped to one of the company’s factories. At the factory, the beans are checked, sorted, and roasted to develop the rich flavor. The beans are then ground to produce a paste to which organic sugar and organic vanilla are added.
These three ingredients are then stirred for 18 hours to bring out the flavor of the chocolate. Cocoa butter is added and the chocolate is tempered to make sure there are no streaks or bloom that would indicate ingredients have separated before pouring the chocolate into molds to set before being wrapped in the signature gold foil and brown paper wrapping.
The name of the company – Green & Black’s – originated with the belief that “Green” means organic and “Black” signifies the deep, rich dark color of the chocolate. Together, they call it “pairing greatness with brilliance.”
For a smooth and intensely dark chocolate experience, consider Green & Black’s Organic Dark 85% Cacao Bar. Sold throughout the country in grocery stores, specialty shops, and even pharmacies, the 3.5% bar sells for $2.50 – $3.50, depending on the store. Also available on-line at www.amazon.com, www.walmart.com, and www.luckyvitamin.com. At about $15 per pound, Green & Black’s Organic Dark 85% Cacao Bar is the deal of a lifetime – one in which dark chocolate plays a big role.