Friday, April 11, 2008

Come Into the Light with Dark Milk Chocolate

With all the recent hoopla about the potential health benefits of dark chocolate, and the current "single-origin" super-dark chocolate craze, milk chocolate has been relegated to something foodies are embarrassed to admit they like.

As it turns out, there's no need to be a snob about milk chocolate; it actually takes far more finesse to create a fine milk chocolate than a dark chocolate. This is simply because there are more variables - i.e. ingredients - to manage.

Dark chocolate is cacao mass and sugar, with the frequent addition of lecithin and/or vanilla. Milk chocolate requires milk products in some form, and striking just the right balance of true cacao flavor with mild sweetness is an art. From the New York Times, February 13, 2008:
“Producing milk chocolate,” said Andrea Slitti, a chocolate maker in Tuscany, “is much more complicated than producing dark chocolate, as you can see in the marketplace: there are far more good dark chocolates available. At each step, we have to work to keep the clean taste of milk and not overwhelm it with the strength of the cocoa mass, then balance them both with sweetness.”
I've been in love with Slitti lattenero bars for quite a while. In the interest of full disclosure: I discovered Slitti because I freelance for - where they carry a great selection of Slitti eating and baking chocolate, including the divine lattenero 51%, my absolute favorite.

I regularly buy premium dark chocolate to share with my family (chocolove is a favorite - try the Dark Chocolate 68% with Crystallized Ginger); but when I splurge for Slitti lattenero it's all mine; I actually hide it, then nibble on it slowly, in blissful solitude.

Tutti a Tavola!

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