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The Best Single-Origin Chocolate
We dug into the amazing and complex world of single-origin bars and in the process discovered an astounding variety of flavors and textures.
François Pralus Ghana 75% Chocolate Bar
9th & Larkin Matasawalevu, Fiji, 74% cacao
Dandelion Anamalai 70 percent India
What You Need To Know
The chocolate market has recently exploded with bars labeled “single-origin.” Their wrappers rival French wine labels in complexity, with detailed tasting notes and specific places of origin. But beyond the fact that the cacao for each of these chocolates is sourced from a single provenance, we didn't know much about single-origin chocolates. We wanted to learn more. To find out, we...
Everything We Tested
Fudgy, Ultrachocolaty Bars
This bar is a classic example of an ultrafudgy, cocoa-forward bar. Tasters found this bar “luscious” and “very creamy” and picked up “notes of coffee,” hazelnut, and “rich cocoa.” The silky-smoothness is likely from the processing as well as the added cocoa butter and sunflower lecithin (an emulsifier).
This bar was nuanced, and tasters picked up whiffs of tobacco in addition to notes of cocoa, vanilla, and tropical fruits. The chocolate was dainty and delicate, and one taster said the bar had a “lovely, light, crisp snap.”
While some tasters said this bar was “sandy” and “gritty,” others praised it for its notes of hazelnut, spice, and hint of citrus at the finish that was similar to a candy chocolate orange but more subtle and refined. It was a complex bar with a deep cocoa backdrop.
This smooth and “waxy” bar started out sweet, which some tasters found slightly cloying. But they were delighted by the notes of “intense cinnamon” and “warming spices” from the cacao, which some found reminiscent of a “traditional Mexican drinking chocolate.”
A “nice, dark chocolate flavor” defined this bar, which tasters compared to hot cocoa and truffles. Some detected a faint roasty bitterness underlying the rich cocoa flavor. This bar had a “thick” melt and was “silky-smooth.”
With notes of cherry, berries, and hot chocolate, this was a complex bar that toed the line between fudgy and fruity. As one taster noted, it was “chocolaty like hot chocolate on the front, but then there’s a bit of tang and acidity that cuts through as it melts.” Other tasters thought it tasted like a “chocolate truffle with liquor.” It was “smooth” and “nicely chewy.”
Herbaceous, Funky, Earthy Bars
This bar was mellow, with a “shockingly delicate snap” and “grassy, floral notes.” Other tasters detected smokiness and a faint dried-fruit tang reminiscent of dried cherries or cranberries.
Tasters were intrigued by this chocolate's “funky” flavor—think rich port wine with a hint of fermented fruit. There were also notes of “orange peel” and a “pruney, dried fig taste.”
As one taster said, this delicate bar “immediately hits you with complex, herbaceous flavors” and “slight lavender and anise notes.” This flashy start mellows out as the chocolate melts smoothly in the mouth, with a “hot chocolate, rich cocoa” finish.
Even with its mellow fudgy backdrop, this “snappy” bar surprised tasters with the earthy taste of shiitake mushrooms and an overall umami depth that one taster thought would pair well with Scotch. Other tasters picked up notes of “tobacco” and “soil and hay.” In short, this is a bar for the adventurous.
Fruity, Acidic Bars
Juicy fruit, anyone? Tasters were delighted by the “fruit punch vibes” of this bar, with notes of guava, berries, raisins, and a “nice earthiness on the back end.” Each bite had a “nice snap” and “lovely creamy texture.” One taster described it as an “all-around great, bright, juicy bar.”
Described as having “great snap on the bite,” this bar melted smoothly in the mouth. Notes of tropical and berry fruits abounded, including “raspberry,” “papaya,” and “subtle banana” flavors.
Though paler in color than the other bars, this bar still packed a flavor wallop. It was “super-raisiny upon first bite,” and tasters also picked up on a tannic bitterness. Think port mixed with bright chocolate. Each bite had a “subtle, soft snap” to it.
This bar started out fudgy, with tasters saying it tasted “like cocoa,” but then as it melted a “bright, tannic flavor” emerged. Some tasters detected notes of “lime peel” and “fruity coffee” and said this was a “good snacking bar,” with a “nice snap.”
This was a snappy, delicate bar that melted smoothly in the mouth. It had notes of lavender and strawberries and cream backed up by a juicy raspberry- and cherry-like tang. Some tasters detected notes of raisin and walnut.
Reviews you can trust
The mission of America’s Test Kitchen Reviews is to find the best equipment and ingredients for the home cook through rigorous, hands-on testing.