Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Conclusion about Chocolate Standards and Ratings

Building directly on my previous post, I report that I have reached a conclusion about whether to employ a numerical rating system and to relax my chocolate eating standards. I have decided against both of them since I view them as unnecessary and too far off the path of paleo nutrition for my liking.

The numerical rating system I think is too cliche' and ultimately unneeded. There's really only four conclusions I can generally come up with for each bar of chocolate: That I regret ever eating it, that I was fine eating it once, but will never again; that I enjoyed it enough to be willing to continue eating it, and that I enjoyed it immensely and would like to include it often. There's no problem in expressing these conclusions verbally. A number rating system, aside from being unneeded, would perhaps also make my reviews just all that much more cliche'. I'll stick to being entirely descriptive and allow my readers to sum up my conclusions in their own way.

The relaxing of my chocolate standards, on the other hand, is too far off paleo than I'd like to be and would probably be useless anyhow since I'd probably rarely, if ever, partake in any chocolate sweeter than 70% cacao. I'd like my readers to expect a certain consistency from me, and given my reviews are about dark chocolate I think we can agree that darker is better. However, I think I will add an exception which will allow me to fudge my standards just a slight bit. As mentioned in my other post, there is a mint bar (you'll have to scroll down to the bar with green packaging) that is but three percentage points below my standards, and I love mint so much that I'm willing to make it an exception to the rules. As such, I'll add an "exceptions clause" to my stated rules that will allow me to, on rare occasion, allow me to lower my standards to as low as 65% cacao if the bar is truly special and worth considering. I will be absolute in this, which means I won't make arbitrary exceptions for bars that are even 64.9% cacao.

To summarize my standards again, I'll review good dark chocolates anywhere between 65% and 100% cacao, but I have a hierarchy established to indicate why I would seek certain intensities. For chocolates between 70% and 75% -- and down to 65% on rare occasion -- I necessitate that it must have some special attribute, like flavor infusions (fruit, single-origin) or special manufacturing processes, for me to consider such a "light" dark chocolate. For dark chocolates 75% and higher just about anything goes since that high of a cacao percentage is likely to leave little room for objectionable ingredients. I'll remain strict on these standards so my readers know what they can turn to me for, and if I ever consume anything that conflicts with these standards, like a milk chocolate bar, I'm not going to review it except for maybe a brief mention on Twitter or Facebook.

That's it then. Be sure to come back Friday, since I've found yet another chocolate of such high value that I'd like to turn it into a regular staple.

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