About My Chocolate Reviews

Why do you do chocolate reviews?: It all started when I first began converting to the Paleo diet in about 2009. I had terrible sugar cravings as I tried to adjust, and thought to mitigate them with dark chocolate. The first true-dark bar I tried, I think, was Green & Black's 85%, which left a terrible aftertaste in my mouth. However, it did satisfy my cravings somewhat, so I kept eating dark chocolate to keep things under control, and eventually did defeat my sugar cravings. Eventually I moved onto stuff like Endangered Species and New Tree, and quickly became adventurous in trying new things. Soon enough I was posting miniature reviews to my Facebook profile, moved to my blog for more writing space, and kept it up as a hobby ever since.

Simply put, I do this for fun, though now I recognize even greater benefit in doing it. Since the beginning I have established that I want to go into the culinary field as my chosen career path, so now I keep up with these reviews to sophisticate my palate and tasting, and to improve my food writing.

Why don't you post photos of the products?: I really, really want to, but I don't own and cannot afford a good camera right now. It's my most pressing goal to get one. I anticipate purchasing very soon.

What are your standards for choosing chocolates?: I favor dark varieties around 70% to 100% cocoa/cacao solids content, but I'll taste any part of the intensity spectrum given there's an ascertainable percentage, whether it be on the front or back of the package or some other means. I won't do white chocolate since the cocoa solids percentage is obviously 0% (it only uses cocoa butter), and furthermore I remember being disgusted by it as a kid.

Given my Paleo diet I try to stay with chocolates that contain ingredients in line with or are otherwise somewhat acceptable to Paleo guidelines. That mean things such as rice and artificial flavorings/colors are out. Only whole food ingredients. "Natural flavors" OK.

However, I accept soy lecithin since it's in the vast majority of chocolate products and is therefore almost unavoidable, though I avoid any other part of soy, such as soy extract. For those interested, the only company I'm aware of that explicitly keeps its products soy-free is Theo. Ultra-dark bars, such as 90% and above, tend to be soy-free too. 

Do you accept requests and samples?: I'll accept requests certainly, and I encourage them in order to buff up my awareness of the various offerings around, but I'm very limited with my finances and so mostly stick to what I can buy in local stores, especially since I'd have to wait for Texas' winter to even dare think about having anything shipped.

As for samples, that is something that would have to be arranged via e-mail. I'd love to receive something, but so far I don't think I'm quite respected enough, so to speak, that I'd gain that benefit of the review business. I hope to work to that point, however. If I do get sent something, then I'll get to it as quick as possible in my queue and let my audience know it was submitted for review.

Plus, to uncomplicate things for any individual or company that wants to send something, I'll relax my standards to allow for chocolates that are whole food ingredients only, have an explicit cocoa percentage of some sort (even if mentioned only privately), and contains no artificial colors or flavorings. My purchasing decisions will, at least, be as strict as the standards I cited above.  

Why so many Amazon links?: I'm a member of the Amazon Associates program, so if you buy something through following one of my links I'll receive a portion of the price paid. If I convinced you to try a new chocolate or guided you to a new favorite, then I encourage you to purchase chocolate through those links, as they'll certainly help fund more reviews. Think of it as tipping me.

What camera do you use?: A Canon PowerShot A3100 IS with 12.1 megapixels. (Link.)

What are your top favorites?: They're changing all the time, but I've held fast to my top 3:

1.) Endangered Species' 72% mint
2.) New Tree's 73% ginger
3.) Green & Black's 67% espresso


4.) Green & Black's 85%
5.) Endangered Species' 72% Coexist toffee pieces
6.) Green & Black's 55% Maya Gold
7.) Vivani's 70% orange
8.) Endangered Species' 70% cherry (not reviewed yet)
9.) New Tree's 51% dark milk
10.) New Tree's 73% mint

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I hope you find pleasure in reading my reviews and that they help you with your chocolate choices. While writing I always try to keep in mind the entire context of all that I've tasted to date, so an ongoing trend is that I'll compare and contrast products that are similar and state my opinion on the superior competitor, or explain why both or more competitors may be worthy.

Good chocolate eatings to you.