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Candy Review: El Rey Chocolates

Categories: Candy,Candy Reviews,Chocolate Candy,Foreign (non-US) Candy,Gourmet Candy


El Ray Chocolates

Let’s say you return home from the market with a big Yukon Gold potato to go with your steak. You’re ready to bake the potato when you notice some fine print on a small sticker. It reads: “Contains salt, milk substitutes, artificial sour cream, onion, bacon and cheddar cheese flavor; 7% real potato.” Although you might like the sound of those add-ons, you certainly wouldn’t think you were holding a potato in your hand, would you? Of course not. A potato is 100% potato. Those other things might go great on your spud, but you want to start with an actual potato, don’t you? Of course.

And yet, this potato scenario exactly mirrors what happens when you buy any mass produced chocolate bar. All of them have around 7% cocoa and cocoa butter, and fill in the other 93% with sugar, milk substitutes, vegetable oils, soy lecithin and fake vanilla (called “vanillan”). Yes, you read correctly. Ninety percent or more of your supposed chocolate bar has nothing to do with chocolate, and yet it’s called chocolate!

Why is that, you ask? You won’t be surprised to learn that it’s due to history, greed and a disregard for quality. The cocoa in a nominal chocolate bar is by far the costliest ingredient, so makers want as little of it as possible. And we’ve called this food chocolate for so long that we associate the name with something very far from the cocoa bean.

Enter good chocolate, which has only been around since 1987, when chocolatiers figured out a way to bring out the distinct flavors of the cocoa bean in high percentage formulas without the high acidity and bitterness overwhelming the taste. (Why you don’t want any more than 70-75% cocoa; sugar, cocoa butter and vanilla round out the cocoa bean flavor best.) These artisan chocolates have a concern for quality and flavor. You’ve seen all those dark chocolate bars with percentages on the front, right? That comes from wishing to trumpet the fact that these bars have more cocoa credibility, and it’s a great trend. Except for one thing.

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