Dark Chocolate: The Best and Worst Brands

darkchoc

Dark chocolate: once considered a rare treat is now mainstream. It’s become the acceptable snack for wannabe healthy eaters.

For good reason. It feels decadent, tastes great, and has researched healthy benefits (1) (2) (3).

There’s something about dark chocolate that makes you carefully indulge a piece or two. Compared to milk chocolate when I would eat half a pack before I knew it.

The Flavanols

Research points to flavanols – substances that help lower blood pressure and vascular function,  improve cognitive function , and even provides UV protection for our skin! Dark chocolate has a higher proportion of flavanols than milk chocolate.

A higher percentage of cacao (cocoa) means a higher amount of flavanols.

Warning: Lookout for Dutching

The method used to process the raw cacao bean can affect the amount of flavanols in the end product.

If your chocolate says “processed with alkali” on the nutrition label, then it’s going to have a whole lot less flavanols (more). Processing with alkali is called “dutching“.

MORE: Almond Milk: The Best and Worst Brands

Healthy Dark Chocolate Brands

sweetriotSweetriot

Organic, fair trade, all natural dark chocolate. 60% with nibs, 70%, or 80%. Around 20 calories/square.

www.sweetriot.com

(Discounted at Amazon)

godiva-chocGodiva

72% Cacao Chocolate Bars. Not processed with alkali. There used to be an 85% – but we can’t find it anymore. There is also some controversy over whether they use GMO Soy Lecithin.

www.godiva.com

Discounted at Amazon

ghirardelliGhirardelli Intense Dark

72% Cacao and 86% Cacao Chocolate Bars. They have bars as well as small squares.

www.ghirardelli.com

(Discounted at Amazon)

lindtLindt

70%, 85%, and 90% Cacao bars. They also make a 99% cacao (this is hard to find).

NOTE: Some of the bars are processed with alkali. Check labels carefully. As of writing the 90% is processed with alkali, but the 85% is not.

www.lindt.com
Buy online at Amazon

greenandblacksGreen & Blacks

70% Cacao and 85% Cacao bars. Organic and sometimes fair trade (e.g. Maya Gold).

The 70% includes Soy Lecithin. There are no genetically modified ingredients.

www.greenandblacks.com

Discounted at Amazon.

valrhonaValrhona

70% Cacao bars.

French chocolate. (img: chocoblog)

www.valrhona-chocolate.com

moser-rothMoser Roth

70% Cacao and 85% Cacao Chocolate Bars.

A German chocolate. Available at Aldi stores.

www.aldi.co.uk

endangeredEndangered Species

72% Cacao and 88% Cacao bars. Also a 70% organic bar.

Ethically traded cacao. Social enterprise.

www.chocolatebar.com

Buy online at Amazon

chocoloveChocolove

70% Cacao and a 73% Fair trade bar.

www.chocolove.com

tazaTaza

70%, 80%, and 87% cacao bars.

All 100% USDA organic.

www.tazachocolate.com

vivaniVivani

Vivani is a German chocolatier that sources ingredients from Ceres (100% organic).

72% and 85% bars available in USA and Canada.

Organic, processed without alkali, no Soy Lecithin.

www.vivano-chocolate.de

giddyGiddy Yoyo

Based in Canada.

Raw, USDA organic.

A large range of dark chocolate bars up to 89%.

www.giddyyoyo.com and www.trulyorganicfoods.com

theochocolateTheo

Based in Seattle.

100% Organic, Fair Trade, and non-GMO certified.

85% and a large range of different flavored 70% bars.

www.theochocolate.com

scharffenScharffen Berger

Atrisan US chocolate company (owned by Hershey).

Selection of chocolate squares and bars (from 62% up to 82% cacao),

http://www.scharffenberger.com

Available at Amazon

eatingevolvedEating Evolved

Boutique NY dark chocolate company.

Selection of chocolate squares (from 72% right up to 100% cacao!)

Organic, processed without alkali, fair trade. Awesome.

www.eatingevolved.com

Notable Mentions

Dark Chocolates That Don’t Make The Grade

Popular bar, but Dove dark chocolates don't make the grade.

Popular bar, but Dove dark chocolates don’t make the grade.

  • Dove Dark Chocolate
    Low cacao content. All processed with alkali.
  • CocoaVia Supplement Packs
    These are similar to Crystal Light, except they have flavanols (the main chocolate antioxidant) added in. You will get some health benefits from this, but it is more important to eat the whole food that contains the fiber.
  • Hershey’s Special Dark
    Processed with alkali. High in sugar.
  • Dark Chocolate M&M’s
    The ingredients list is ambiguous (they list “chocolate” as an ingredient). However these are high in sugar (more like candy than healthy dark chocolate).
  • Milky Way Midnight
    Like all the candy brands, this is not really a dark chocolate. It has more sugar than cacao and is processed with alkali.
  • Nestle Dark Hot Chocolate
    Ouch! This beverage mix is the worst of the lot. Sugar, trans-fat, and processed with alkali.
  • Cadbury Bournville
    60g of sugar per small bar.
  • Brookside Dark Chocolate with Pomegranate or Blueberries: Even though this appears to have some fruit – a closer look at the ingredients says something different.
  • Zazubean – From Canada, Fair trade and organic. Includes an 80% bar.

How to Choose the Best Chocolate

There are dozens of boutique chocolate brands out there. If in doubt, use the following guide.

A true dark chocolate will never have sugar listed first in the ingredients. It should always be below the cocoa ingredients.

It should also tick as many of the following points:

  • 100% Organic
    Note that “organic” does not equal 100% organic (confusing!).
  • Fair Trade
  • > 70% cocoa
  • Not processed with alkali

Also, note that some manufacturers use GMO (genetically modified) ingredients (this is usually the soy lecithin). Soy Lecithin is a byproduct of processed soy beans and is used an emulsifier (prevents water and fat from separating).

Can You Eat 99% ?

During a trip to Thailand I stumbled across a Lindt 99% bar. I knew they made them but had never seen anyone stock them.

Like Charlie looking for his golden ticket, I had to buy it.

It actually had a golden wrapper inside.

The taste? Hardcore. I’m a seasoned dark chocolate eater, but this was tough. It reminded me how bitter the cacao fruit is. It only really worked when I ate while drinking black coffee.

Anyone else up to the challenge?

  • Mellissa

    Brookside? There is NO fruit in these. Just fruit juice…. check it out!

  • Mellissa

    Brookside? Don’t bother. There are no fruits in them – just juices and sugar.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ from their website (my **asterisks**)
    DARK CHOCOLATE Açai and Blueberry **flavors**

    Soft **fruit flavored centers** covered with smooth dark chocolate.

    BROOKSIDE Chocolatiers have artfully blended exotic fruit juices and flavors from around the world to create the ultimate chocolate experience.

    The pairing of BROOKSIDE soft **sweetened centers** dipped in luscious dark chocolate.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    And the ingredients?
    One serving (40g) contains 100mg of cocoa flavanols [just from cocoa, none from the fruit juice]
    Dark Chocolate (Sugar [first ingredient: sugar], Unsweetened Chocolate, Cocoa Butter, Milk Ingredients, **Alkalized** Cocoa Powder, Soya Lecithin, Salt, Natural Flavor [often means MSG]), Fruit Juice from Concentrate (Filtered Water, Açai Juice Concentrate, Blueberry Juice Concentrate, Raspberry Juice Concentrate, Cranberry Juice Concentrate, Pomegranate Juice Concentrate, Elderberry Juice Concentrate, Lemon Juice Concentrate), Cane Sugar, Corn Syrup, Maltodextrin (Corn), Pectin, Citric Acid, Malic Acid, Natural Flavor, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Canola Oil, Confectioner’s Glaze.

    Yuk!

    • http://energyfiend.com/ JamesF

      Thanks I’ve edited the Brookside listing – there’s not really anything nutritious about that at all!

    • http://www.energyfiend.com/ Ted

      yes, agreed.. nothing healthy in that sugary concoction for sure!

  • Dan

    I started to use unsweetened cocoa powder (of course with no alkali) in my oatmeal. It seems like this might have the same benefit as dark chocolate candy. However, it is so bitter, that I could only use about 1/2 tablespoon. I started to use toasted carob flour in my oatmeal- about 1 whole tablespoon. It is kind of naturally sweet. Of course, years ago, it was touted as a chocolate substitute and it does have different kinds of benefits.

    • http://energyfiend.com/ JamesF

      Dan you can actually get hold of cacao nibs if you shop around. They are pretty much straight from cacao fruit. I’ve added them to different things over the years – they add a crunch – but yep – they are real bitter!

  • Gerard Pinzone

    Every try “Trader Joe’s the Dark Chocolate Lover’s Chocolate Bar?” The best ever!

    • http://energyfiend.com/ JamesF

      Hi Gerard. It’s hard to keep up with the different dark chocolate bars that come thru Trader Joes. Any chance you could take a photo of the nutrition label and upload it? (click the little image icon in the comments box).

      Thanks for your input.

  • spectra311

    I love the Moser Roth chocolate and I buy it a lot because I frequently shop at Aldi. I never thought much of it, but it’s very economical and I love the flavor. Hershey’s/Nestle chocolate is all crap–don’t even waste your time. It’s full of sugar and wax.

    • http://energyfiend.com/ JamesF

      To be honest the mainstream chocolate brands really make candy NOT chocolate.

    • http://www.energyfiend.com/ Ted

      True, but when I’m camping, I have to make my smores with hersheys. I guess it’s a nostalgia thing :-)

  • Craving4more

    I only eat 99%. It took awhile, but now I believe it’s the best way to go. Decadent and hard core for sure. My favorite…several squares with fresh dates. Divine!

    • http://energyfiend.com/ JamesF

      I’m impressed. Fresh dates is a good idea. Although where I live, I can never find any 99% – a real rarity.

    • http://www.healthyeater.com/ Dan Bolton

      Woah. That does sound like a hardcore approach.. May just have to work up to that one ;)

  • karen p

    Green & Blacks uses a soy lecithin. If you google the ingredients you will find that. :(

    • http://energyfiend.com/ JamesF

      Karen, the 70% has soy lecithin, and the 85% does not. I’ll attach a capture of a label. If you have different info, please share.

      • karen p

        Hi James. It’s hard to tell from the label but I think those crosses act like asterisks. When you google 85%, it says soya lechitin as the emulsifier. I think this may have changed with their new owner. You are correct that it doesn’t say it on the label.

  • moyenmommy

    Do you know of any of the good brands that package the chocolate as a chip instead of a bar for baking? I like putting the chips in some healthy treats for the kids (and, me!)

    • http://www.energyfiend.com/ Ted

      I found this one http://www.sunspire.com/products/organic-fair-trade-65-cacao-bittersweet-baking-chips

      Ingredients: Organic unsweetened chocolate, organic evaporated cane juice, organic cocoa powder, organic cocoa butter, organic vanilla.

      • moyenmommy

        Wow…Thanks! I was searching and hadn’t found anything good, but then stumbled on your site. I’ve been using herseys special dark :( and read this morning the first ingredient is sugar and realized I probably wasn’t doing myself or my kids any good with that choice. Thanks again!

        • http://www.energyfiend.com/ Ted

          So glad we could help. I think any reduction in the sugar people eat is so beneficial, so glad you’re teaching your kids healthier habits.

  • nayyab

    lindt! lindt! lindt! one and only lindt!

    • http://www.healthyeater.com/ Dan Bolton

      I’m with you there! Lindt is a great find

    • Niayab

      Oh my god my name is niayab too!!.. I’ve never ‘met’ anyone with my name…… But anyhow I love Lindt chocolate too it’s delicious

  • vedika

    Thanks for this! Quick question- ever tried Nehaus? It tastes brilliant and they only have 70% and more but not sure of the other specifications.

    • http://www.energyfiend.com/ Ted

      I just looked it up online. It looks like most of the products would be high in sugar, but the dark squares look alright. It says they have no preservatives, but I can’t find any ingredient list on their website.

  • Darkchoclatelover

    What about Chocovivo? They are a newer company, but it is all stone ground dark chocolate that uses no cocoa butter and only unrefined cane sugar. What do you think? Ps loved te article! Very informative.

    • http://www.energyfiend.com/ Ted

      I would like to try that. They DO contain cocoa butter, but only what is naturally in the beans, they don’t add extra cocoa butter. I’m sure that’s what you meant but just wanted to clarify for others. How does it taste?

  • Scott Kennedy

    Livesmart 360 brand chocolates pure cacco dark chocolate with wellness infused for added thraputic value. The worlds healthiest chocolates !

    • http://energyfiend.com/ JamesF

      “Wellness infused”? This has got to be a commission-based MLM type product.

      • Scott Kennedy

        Yes it is! That in no way makes it any less of a product and its changing the lives of many in countless ways

  • milo

    Theo chocolate from seattle. Organic fair trade. Look it up.

    • http://energyfiend.com/ JamesF

      Nice find. I’ve added it to the list.

  • KK

    How’s Cote D’or Dark?

    • http://www.energyfiend.com/ Ted

      It looks pretty good. Not sure what “flavoring” is. Vanilla maybe?

      Ingredients:

      * Cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter *, * lean cocoa, milk, flavoring, emulsifier (soy lecithin).

      Cocoa:. at least 70%

      CONTAINS MILK, SOY. MAY CONTAIN TRACES OF NUTS.

      * From farms certified by the Rainforest Alliance. At least 30% of the cocoa corresponds to at least 30% of the total weight.

      • http://energyfiend.com/ JamesF

        Not quite sure what milk is doing in there… and I hate it when they list “flavoring” but don’t say what the flavoring is.

    • marijke

      cote d,or is total crap verry child labor and shit

      Rainforest Alliance isnt that great either it is an comersial set up brand
      also on nestle and shiquita and those are even worse like c,or and bp combined (as in destroying rainforest and both animal and human living teretories entz) and they patended al reasanabuly tasting natural banana species you can use for hand bananas (they themselves use) so the natural inhabitans of the areas they (the bananas/the company both) grow in cant grow them comercially or even for them selfes (i think i dont know whether that part is still the case now)

      to bad i havent been able to find pure /praline ,pure /truffle thin bar types anywhere else (in amsterdam)

      sorrry for the apalling spelling im dyslectic (when tired i cant cope so sorry )

  • Angel O.

    It’s difficult for me to get dark chocolates but I found Cadbury Bournville. How abt that?

    • http://www.energyfiend.com/ Ted

      I would have to say no to that one.

      “INGREDIENTS

      Sugar, Cocoa mass, Vegetable fat, Cocoa butter, Emulsifier (Soya lecithin).”

      Sugar (60g) is the first ingredient and it contains vegetable fat. Sorry :-(

  • Alex

    How about Zotter? http://www.zotterchocolate.co.uk The 80% is really good….

    • http://energyfiend.com/ JamesF

      They are Austrian I believe? I’ll add them to the post – thanks.

  • Rob

    I tried 99%. It is very dry…the flavour was okay, but the texture was terrible. Ugh.

    • http://energyfiend.com/ JamesF

      I hear you. That 99% bar made me grimace. It took me weeks to get through it.

      • http://www.energyfiend.com/ Ted

        The only thing 99% is good for is to be melted and used in brownies! :-)

  • trixieb3

    I am a fan of the Lindt 99% (though am not savvy to the alkali issue) – it does the trick for me and is a delight when the ever so thin wafer it is is hosting a glob of nut butter! I should note, I take very little sugar in my diet as a rule — so probably don’t find it as bitter as most.

    • http://energyfiend.com/ JamesF

      Finally a fan! Interesting idea to add nut butter. That could actually taste quite good.

      • Pish

        dark choc and nut butter is a great combination, my favourite is almond

  • Tew Kw

    I tried Lint 99% bar too! Way too hardcore! I still have half a bar left..

    • http://energyfiend.com/ JamesF

      I’m with you there, worth a try though yeah?

  • Pish

    Here in the UK Montezuma sell 100% Dominican Republic Cocoa Buttons, I sometimes have a few with a cup of creamy coffee. I love them but the only other person who eats them voluntarily is my six year old.

    • http://energyfiend.com/ JamesF

      Hi Pish, they do sell a 73% dark chocolate bar, but the buttons seems to be 54%. If you are going to eat buttons, then definitely a better option than the big brands – but do try the Montezuma bars – let me know how they taste!

      • Pish

        Better than choccywoccydoodah LOL, I’ve tried a few and would thoroughly recommend them. Buttons definitely include 100% option here: http://www.montezumas.co.uk/chocolate-gifts/100-dark-button-jar.html

        • http://energyfiend.com/ JamesF

          I stand corrected. However I still wonder if they mean that all the buttons are from Dominican Republic origin chocolate rather than 100% Cacao. For something to be 100% it must be straight cacao nibs. Even 99% (cacao + something to emulsify) is barely edible it’s so bitter.

          • Pish

            I think nearly everybody does class them as barely edible, certainly if my family is anything to go by, but then I also eat cacoa nibs and 99% Lindt when I can get it (which hasn’t been much recently.

  • Kenneth

    Here are som e good chocolate from Sweden:

    http://www.malmochokladfabrik.se/produkter/1888/?lang=en

    I’ve tried one of them, the one called 1888 Chuao, made of the most rare cocoa bean, Criollo

    • http://energyfiend.com/ JamesF

      Thanks Kenneth, there are some delicious looking chocolates there – I’ll add them to the post. Thanks for contributing.

  • Al Philips

    thanks…that’s great info….

    There is another brand that’s been around awhile… healthy chocolate

    http://mxi.myvoffice.com/chocolatemadness/

  • therufs

    There is actually a 100% bar made by Ghirardelli. I got one just to try it … Definitely a taste I’d have to acquire. It was crumbly, almost dry, and tasted pretty much exactly like you would expect if you’d ever eaten a cacao bean.

    A friend doing keto introduced me to the practice of scooping a blob of coconut oil onto a square of dark chocolate. Quite an experience.

    • http://www.energyfiend.com/ Ted

      Sounds delicious…. not! :-) Probably would be great in brownies though.

    • Natalia

      The 100% Ghiradelli is a staple for me! I’m out of town and can’t find it where I’m staying, so I heated up some coconut oil and mixed it with Ghiradelli raw cacao powder… if you like coconut oil and dark chocolate, you ought to try that. It’s pretty decadent.

      • http://www.energyfiend.com/ Ted

        I was eating a Ghiradelli square (dark Chocolate and peppermint) at a New Years Eve party and I was surprised to see that they were using partially hydrogenated soybean oil in the product. :-( I thought they had higher standards than that.

        • trevor

          so they guy who eats peppermint ghiradelli talks down on youngevity chocolate. sounds like a braindead retard to me. i wont even touch ghiradelli

  • Steve

    I’m in Germany for a spell and am fortunate that I can get all the Lindt chocolates very easily (as well as most others too!)–the 85% is awesome so if you’re looking for something healthy but not over the top–try it if you can find it! The Euros tend to make some very fine, high quality stuff btw…

  • db

    How about Scharffen Berger?

    • http://energyfiend.com/ JamesF

      Good find. I believe these are a subsidiary of Hershey. I’ll be sure to update the post.

  • sian

    I’m currently eating a bar of 100% dark chocolate :)

  • Natalia

    I absolutely loved the 99% Lindt bar when I tried it a few months ago. I was used to eating 90% Lindt on a regular basis, but the rich, smooth flavor of the 99% was shockingly good. Unfortunately, my bar said it was dutch processed, so now I eat 100% Ghiradelli baking bars instead. Not quite as exquisite, but good.

    • http://energyfiend.com/ JamesF

      99% is very much an acquired taste. Just too bitter for me.

      • trevor

        apparently intelligence was not aquired by the mods on this board. you say the healthiest chocolate on the planet is not healthy

  • trevor

    youngevity has a line of “healthy chocolate” that packs 16000 orac points into a 2 x 2 square along with 500 mg of available calcium

    • http://www.energyfiend.com/ Ted

      No, this really isn’t that healthy… sugar, chocolate liqueur, soy

      • trevor

        no actually it is the most healthy chocolate on the planet. you need to wake up

      • trevor

        i literally feel sorry for how stupid you must be

  • Jaci

    My brother is diabetic. Because it’s impossible to find sugar-free morsels I made some using a pure 100% cocoa baking bar. I am also a seasoned dark chocolate eater and was a little excited to try it out (of course, there was also no added sugar), I can sympathize with your reaction. I had a small piece and had to drink a glass of milk afterwards. It was not only astonishingly bitter but also simultaneously made my entire mouth dry!! Yikes!! The cookies turned out good though (granted, I melted all the chocolate and sweetened it with splenda and a small amount of milk before refreezing it, breaking it up, and adding it in.)

    • http://energyfiend.com/ JamesF

      It also shows how completely oversweetened normal ‘milk’ chocolate is. Well done with the cookies.

  • corpsedog

    One for the list, (and to give a shout out to a friend and his lady!), and one of the absolute best unique, organic and hand crafted raw cacao, dark chocolate brands I have ever had: Immortal Mountain.

    https://squareup.com/market/immortal-mountain

    Check em’ out!

    -josh

  • David R

    I’m in Brazil for the long term. Any recommendations for what I can get here?

    • http://energyfiend.com/ JamesF

      There are probably some locally made chocolates, otherwise I wouldn’t be surprised if Lindt chocolate is imported (I’ve seen it all over the place).

  • Chris G

    Hard to find the niche products in Singapore. Found Cadbury Old Gold 70%. It lists as follows: Cocoa Mass, Sugar, Cocoa Butter,, Cocoa Powder, Flavour, Milk Solids. 30.7g sugar/100g. Doesn’t say anything about Dutching, Alkali’s or anything like that. Full details here: https://www.cadbury.com.au/Products/Old-Gold-Blocks/Cadbury-Old-Gold-70-per-cent-Cocoa-Block/Seventy-per-cent-ingredients.aspx

    Green light or not?

    • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

      I think it looks ok, especially in your situation. No alarming ingredients.

      • Chris G

        Hi James and Ted. Thanks for the responses. I’m looking into a suitable dark chocolate purely for the flavanols as I have an extremely high rate of skin cancers (38 cut out, still under 40 years old) and am trying all lifestyle factors I can find. I want to make sure that whatever I end up settling on actually has the flavanols still in it and not destroyed through the process. So it’s mainly the alkali’s or dutching process that I am worried about. I even called up Cadburys in Australia to find out, got through to the right people and then a manager stepped in and said that they were not prepared to discuss anything about their process. I don’t want to know the process, just tell me if the good things are retained. It makes me suspicious – if they are retained it is an easy yes. If they are lost… well we’d better not tell you that. Thanks for the tip on Lindt. Looks like they will end up with a lifetime customer

        • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

          wow! I can’t believe Cadbury was so secretive, certainly changes my views on them not that I buy their products anyway. You also could buy raw cacao nibs to be sure all the great antioxidants are retained. Sorry to hear about the skin cancer, that sounds like a tough thing to deal with.

    • http://energyfiend.com/ JamesF

      Wouldn’t surprise me if you could find Lindt – I’ve seen Lindt in few countries round SE Asia.

      I’ve tried Cadbury Old Gold and (in my opinion) it is inferior to other dark chocolate.

      Ingredients: Cocoa Mass, Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Cocoa Powder, Flavour, Milk Solids.

      What is “Flavour?”, and why do they add milk solids — making it a milk chocolate, not strictly a dark chocolate.

  • Mary Ann

    are there any 85% dark chocolate chips available that are healthy?

  • sharmila

    what about dagoba?

    • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

      Their products look good, but I can’t find the ingredients listed anywhere on their website. Do you have a label from a bar of dark chocolate by any chance?

  • plarvey

    The author lists Ghiradelli Intense Dark in third place among the “healthy dark Chocolate” brands. Then under the heading “chocolates that don’t make the grade” he stresses that a true dark chocolate will never have sugar listed first in the ingredients; it should always be listed below the cocoa ingredients. Yet, looking at the list of
    ingredients on this bar of Intense Dark I see semi-sweet chocolate listed as the first ingredient followed by a parenthetical explanation for their semi-sweet chocolate that reads ( sugar, unsweetened chocolate, cocoa butter, milk fat, soy lecithin, etc.). So obviously sugar is the first ingredient and there is no mention of whether the soy lecithin is GMO free and nothing to indicate this bar is organic. So why is it third on the list of healthy chocolates?

    • http://energyfiend.com/ JamesF

      The chocolates are not listed in best-to-worst order. The Intense Dark 86% definitely does not have sugar listed first. You may be looking at one of the many formulations in the 72% range.

      Thanks for the comment.

  • Su

    Ghiradelli also uses slave labour in the production of their cocoa there is a campaign against them….they are not fair
    trade.

  • TNVirginia

    No need to go to Thailand to buy a Lindt 99% bar. I live in Knoxville, TN, where Kroger sells them.

  • TNVirginia

    But, all of the Lindt bars above 85% are processed with alkai.

  • Paul Davidson

    Here in NZ there is a company that does a 100% cocoa tablet. http://www.schoc.co.nz/schocblack100-p-59.html
    I asked them if it was processed with Alkali and he had never even heard of it so it seems pretty genuine. Tastes nice and bitter too.

    • http://energyfiend.com/ JamesF

      Nice. Have you tried any of their other flavours?

      • Rusty Paul

        Have tried the sugar free dark, the bitter 85% and the bitter chilli and can recommend them all. They are bitter though so be warned!
        The sugar free dark (Malchoc dark) wasn’t too bitter though at 54%. Maybe even too sweet if you prefer a 85%or above.They have tastings of all the flavours in store if anyone is near Greytown. (Very small NZ town!)

  • Paul

    Believe it or not, I just finished… 20 Lindt 99% bars in the span of one month. I think they are excellent, especially with coffee. However, having tried other 99% bars, I do believe Lindt bars are a bit more processed or maybe just have more cacao butter, judging by the slightly mellowed down cacao taste. But because of that, they are more pleasant. Anymore bitter and you might as well go for raw cacao beans.

    Right now, I am trying out Vivani 92%, the cacao flavor is very intense. BTW Vivani is one of the few organic brands whose chocolate is reasonably priced.

    As another side note, I try to stay away from chocolate below 85%, not because of the sugar (even a 80% bar contains relatively little sugar), but because of the speed with which I chew through milder dark chocolate bars. 90+ % dark slows me down a bit. Cheers for the article. I hopefully, I will get to try out each one of the list.

    • JamesF

      You get the award of chocolate aficionado. 20 x 99% in one month? I’m pretty sure it took me about 2 weeks to get through one.

      Thanks for sharing your wisdom!

  • Juvy dls

    Thanks for sharing this. So far, Godiva is my favorite.

    • JamesF

      You’re welcome. Let us know if you find any other interesting chocolates in the wild.

  • Swhite

    What about bovetti artisan chocolatier? 73%…

    • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

      They seem pretty good, but hard to tell from their website. I did find this statement “All the organic chocolate bars are pure cocoa butter and without any soy lecithin. ”

  • chris

    Magic mayan chocolate for me is hands down the best by far although I haven’t tried that giddy yoyo one. 100% chocolate is the best tasting and the healthiest. Even 85% I find too sugary now. I wouldn’t touch anything below 80%

  • Javad

    Thanks for the useful information. What do you think about lindt 99% ? Is it processed with alkali (Dutching) like 90% as you mentioned above, or not. And one more question. Even your mentioned Healthy Dark Chocolate Brands has no any sign of Free Trade ,100% organic or processing methods. So how should we know if other well known brands that are not mentioned here worth eating or not.

    • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

      Hi Javad,
      We’re glad you found this page useful. Unfortunately, Lindt 99% is processed with alkali. Here’s the label. The main thing to do is check the nutrition label. Check for alkali and sugar content, preservatives, palm oil etc. Look for a natural as possible dark chocolate.

      • Javad

        Thanks but anyhow i find it hard which one to choose yet. how much sugar is acceptable, or which ones of preservatives aren’t harmful. And also would you mind letting me know weather Soy Lecithin as an emulsifier among ingredients is tolerable or not which is very common as you know?

        • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

          Really, don’t stress out too much over this. An 80% Cacao will have an acceptable sugar content, Just avoid brands that use alkali, and choose ones that have simple ingredients. Soy lecithin is fine in the very small amounts that would be in dark chocolate as long as you aren’t allergic to soy, Here’s a good article about it. http://chriskresser.com/harmful-or-harmless-soy-lecithin

          • Javad

            Thanks.

  • Just Real Food

    I mostly eat 100% cacao from Willie’s Cacao. There’s a big variety in taste depending on where the beans are sourced; just like wine varies!

    Recently I found the Lindt 90% in Australia. Hopefully it’ll be available in NZ soon too.

    Here’s a link to Willies in the UK. I understand it’s sold in Texas now too.

    http://www.willieschocolateshop.com/cooking-chocolate-pure-cacao.html

    • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

      Thanks for sharing that with us! Looks like great stuff.

  • VIP

    Thank you for the great information. I will definitely be using this as a guide when buying chocolate.

  • Zonuzi

    What about Vannucci (COCOA MASS 100%).
    http://www.vannuccichocolates.com/en/en_pasta-di-cacao.php

    • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

      Those products look good and I could find no mention of Dutching or alkali.

      I found it interesting that they said to put the 100% on the roof of the mouth to dissolve slowly and not to chew it.

  • XKCD

    Is there any substantial difference in chocolate where the main ingredient is cacao beans vs. the main ingredient being “chocolate (cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, fat-reduced cocoa)”?

    • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

      Hmm. not sure since all cacao must be processed to be turned into what most people would consider chocolate. (there are a few brands that are just crushed cacao, but these have a different texture) .
      The manufacturer may just be listing Cacao beans instead of the processed versions of cacao.

      • mha

        interesting…learning a lot here. What are a couple of the brands that use just crushed cacao? thanks

  • Nicole Weaver

    There is also a great USDA certified organic Chocolatier in Berkley CA, Fearless Chocolate…85% with nibs and sea salt, and my personal fave 70% with coconut flakes….Whole Foods carries them….so so yummy!

    • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

      Yum those sound delicious and look really healthy. How much are they at whole foods/ bar? Here’s their website: http://www.fearlesschocolate.com/faq/

  • Mike W

    how many bars/how much dark chocolate should you eat before going to bed? I heard of many people eating that before going to bed and losing weight, but I’m not sure how much they would eat.

  • Tzar

    at first i thought dark was terrible, now I love it the most! And yes, even all those 100, 99, 90% ones! My favorite! BTW try stuffing dried turkish or greek figs with a piece of 100%. It becomes the best treat ever!! Tastes as if rabitos royale, which are too expensive to buy again when craved, and have more calories and are not as healthy for sure. :)

  • Andrew

    How many OZ of chocolate would you recommend per day?

  • Andrew

    What I should have asked was, how many mg of flavonals does a person want per day?

    • JamesF

      I’m unsure of mg of flavanols, but most advice about dark chocolate is to consume 1 or 2 squares of chocolate per day.

  • lennon

    What about Zöet? Is that okay?

    • JamesF

      There doesn’t seem to be too much info around on Zoet. Although they do have a 85% bar which would be the best choice.

  • johan

    this really sucks… i’ve been eating 99% lindt for the last 2 years… and know i discover that they use the dutch process… f#$k!! i’m feeling like disappointed and frustrated… they don’t say anything about alkali process on the labels… and here in europe there is no law that oblige them to do it…. This is even more ridiculous cause this is a 99% cocoa bar with a very good
    cocoa source that they are chemically processing to reduce the boldness
    of the flavor…NO ONE BUYS DARK CHOCOLATE OVER 90% WHO IS LOOKING FOR
    SOMETHING SWEET!!! -.-”’ When one buys a near 100% cocoa bar, they WANT that intense, bold,
    bitter, almost-breathtaking flavor to slowly let small pieces melt to
    experience the various flavor notes and the different timing each note
    has. In other terms, the less-processed and fewer additions beyond
    cocoa, the better. This is a bold flavored bar…but compared to other
    98-100% cocoa bars, the full WOW factor just is not all there because of
    this processing method. The individual flavor notes are dulled…the
    finish is kind of bland. There is no reason for Lindt to process this
    via anything other than the natural method. Their cocoa can hold its own
    with more expensive brands…anyone who has had their 85% Excellence
    bar which is naturally processed can vouch their base cocoa is really
    good stuff…they should show it and process this and the 90% naturally
    for flavor and health reasons. Searching thru the internet i’ve found that they had a plus-90% natural line years ago that failed…but in
    the past decade-and-a-half with places like Amazon and the internet to
    spread knowledge, the knowledge base of and demand for intense dark
    chocolate is far more today than it was years ago. More people than ever
    eat dark chocolate over 90%. There is a much larger market for the
    hard-hitting flavors of a natural 100% cocoa bar…not to mention a huge
    demand for it in cooking as well… They really should revise their philosophy!!

  • Aaron

    Does anyone know where I can find information of cocoa per cent content in Moser Roth Dark Chocolate Orange and Chili, and other flavors etc.?

    • JamesF

      They don’t even seem to list it on their packaging. The only avenue may be to try and contact them via Aldi.

  • Gail

    I have tried most of the the chocolates you list but nothing compares to Moonstruck Dark Chocolate from Oregon. It is full bodied and extremely smooth. You MUST try it and you will surely add it to your list.

    • JamesF

      I will add it to the list.

  • http://channelight.com Dhyanna

    Great Article!
    I’ve been on a search for healthy chocolate since I noticed that Hershey Chocolate began stinging my throat a few years ago–all Hershey products–and no other brand. I looked at their ingredients, and found something called PGPR, and “artificial flavorings.” I’m not sure what they are, but figured my reaction was probably to those mystery things. As I looked for better options, my research did open my eyes to the fact that a lot of chocolate isn’t really chocolate! I look forward to trying the brands on your list. I’ve found a lot of companies (like Ghirardelli) make it really hard to find out exactly what is in their products. How do we know if a company is using GMO soy products, and what does it mean when the first ingredient in the ingredients list is “chocolate.” ???? I mean, what kind of game is that?!?!?

    • JamesF

      Yes it is very difficult figuring out ingredients, and what is more disappointing is how much these can very between different chocolate bars from the same company.

    • King Kong

      According to USDA law any food product labeled as “organic” cannot include GMO’s or any non-organic ingredient. That’s about the best we’ve got at the moment outside of certification labels from the NON-GMO Project. I pray for a food revolution in America where citizens will finally become conscious of the mass poisoning and stand up to it.

  • darkchoco

    Guys why amedei is not mentioned here at a? AMEDEI TUSCANY from Italy? Any feedback?

    Also.can.organic.chocolate.contain.gluten? What about cane sugar? Vivani is said it may have traces of gluten, is this 100%organic?

    • JamesF

      Straight cacao is gluten-free. However, once processing begins, things get much more complicated. Some chocolate can be made on equipment that is used to process wheat (for example). Sometimes other ingredients combined with cacao may contain gluten. As for organic chocolate, you will still need to study the ingredients list carefully.

      Endangered Species chocolate is certified gluten free. Also Scharffen Berger is (I believe) listed as gluten-free. Both can be purchased from Amazon.

  • pradcliffe

    What about Trader Joe’s dark chocolate with 70something % cacao? Healthful?

    • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

      Trader Joe’s imports their chocolate from Belgium. They have an organic variety and a regular 72% cacao.
      The ingredients contain nothing artificial and no preservatives. Also no additional plant fats are used in the product. Overall it’s a good chocolate for those who can’t quite do 80% or above. It’s unclear whether the beans were processed with alkali since their is no mention of it on the label.

      • karen

        The 72% bar has Soy Lecithin. The first ingredient is Cocoa Mass-don’t know what that means. Because the three bars pack is only $1.79 maybe the beans are processed with alkali?

  • neeeeshh

    Hi..cadbury dark chocolate and aero dark chocolate are they healthy to eat?and a good option to buy

    • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

      Generally Cadbury products are full of sugar and pretty processed. Neither of these products list the actually percentage of cacao. I would recommend choosing something else.

  • JUN Jiyeon

    Does Lindt 99% CACAO contain alkali?

    • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

      yes, it is unfortunately. Here’s the label.

  • Valerie Tripp

    what about xocai produts
    I didn’t see that on your list

    • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

      They look good, although I can’t find the percentage of Cacao listed anywhere. Also they all seem to be mixed with something and I didn’t see a product that was just dark chocolate.

  • Rich

    Ive eaten the 99% bar, is definitely an acquired taste, delicious but with a texture like powder

  • darkie

    Hi..i am from south africa..what are the most healthy dark choclate to buy found in my country. Besides lindt..thanx

    • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

      Since we don’t live in SA it would be hard to say. When looking at a brand check for the following:

      No artificial ingredients
      At least 70% cacao (some say more than 80%)
      Chocolate not processed with alkali
      No fats added besides cocoa butter
      Fairly traded

      You should be able to find some good dark chocolate using those guidelines.

  • Callista

    I’ve eaten the Lindt, Ghirardelli, and Endangered Species >80% darks, and now that my mother and I have discovered that a 99% dark exists, we shall be on the look out for it. It sounds like a real treat.

    • JamesF

      Good luck finding it! Very few places import it.

    • tigermelovey

      You can find it on Singapore’s Mall (Takashimaya) ‘s market on the lowest floor. They have delicious sushis there too ! Recommended :)

  • Ben

    Dark chocolate 85% + wrapped in wasabi seaweed…delicious

    • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

      I love dark chocolate and I love wasabi but I don’t think I would love them together. Interesting concept though. Is there a particular brand that is offering this?

  • Philippa Antell

    If you are in the US see if you can find Agape chocolate made in Barbados – I had some when I was there and it is incredible. Can’t get in it the UK yet :-( but I heard they had started exporting to the USA.

    • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

      This one looks really good, processing wise. The only problem is the bar with the highest percent cacao is just 70%, which may have too much sugar for some.

      Ingredients: All natural roasted cocoa beans, Barbadian gold cane sugar, cocoa butter. May contain traces of peanuts / nuts / milk.

      http://www.agapey.com/

  • Hmd

    Hello, I live in Jordan ME, and I have recently bought the Lindt Excellence the “intense orange” edition and it is so good. Is it actually healthy ?
    Regards from Jordan.

    • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

      This one has a lot of sugar in it. In fact, it’s the first ingredient. It also has a lot of additives including milk fat. This one is ok for an occasional treat, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a daily healthy dark chocolate.

    • JamesF

      As Ted said, intense orange is not the most healthy. I’ve tried it and it’s nice, but it is not the same as a truly dark chocolate.

  • Ed Green

    Hi, I’ve been trying different dark chocolates now for the last few months and came across a 99% from world market , is it better since it’s so high

  • Will F

    About the Lindt total cacao… cacao is bitter but can also be sweet.
    Sunspire makes a 100% baking bar which I heard is quite good tasting.

    Going to order some right now. :)

  • Nova

    Once you’re over 80%, you’re basically eating baking chocolate.

    • Joseph Hein

      Disagree, I eat 100% with a bit of 86% to enhance taste. After a while, taste delicious.

  • drea

    I’ve just bought a Green&Black’s Organic Dark Chocolate – 70%.

    Are you really supposed to eat the entire bar to see any benefits as far as cholesterol? Seems like a lot! Tastes good though.

    • JamesF

      I’m not sure of the benefits with regards to cholesterol. Either way, the best advice is to eat a few squares a day, not the whole bar. Depending on your specific goals, remember that dark chocolate is still calorie-dense. The good thing is, as it is also flavor-dense, it is not something people tend to overeat.

  • Ellen

    Don’t forget Raaka chocolate-amazingly raw!

  • DClover

    I suggest eating dark chocolate (85% chiradelli is what I’m eating) with sweet seedless grapes!! I throw a grape in my mouth and then bite the chocolate and eat them at the same time!!! You barely taste the bitterness and it’s so good!!!! My kids love it straight though lol

  • big hair

    Hi James. I can’t seem to go beyond 60% cocoa. The biiterniss is palable and I can enjoy my chocolate. What are the things to avoid eating a 60% cocoa bar? Is it just the sugar?
    Thanks.

    • JamesF

      Hey big hair, 60% is a good start. Maybe you could try different brands at 70%. I do find the more you get used to eating things that are bitter, the nicer it gets.

  • Alberto Adar

    I found trader joe’s 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate (Pound Plus ) imported from Belgium is one of the best

  • http://www.fisico.ca Tiziana Ienna

    You should try Zazubean. You can only get them in Canada for now, but it’s 100% Organic, Fair-trade, gluten-free, soy-free and they have healthy ingredients like Camu Camu, Acai berry, Maca and Yerba Mate. Recently they launched a new line of Coconut sugar bars. Check it out http://www.zazubean.com

    • Lari

      Check the article. It is on the list of chocolates that do NOT make the grade.

    • JamesF

      Tiziana, we put these under the list of chocolates that don’t make the grade (which was probably a mistake). Would you be able to send a review bar to our reviewer (so we can authenticate labels etc). Contact us at http://healthyeater.com/contact

  • Lynn

    Why haven’t you included Xocai HEALTHY Chocolate in your discussion? It’s the ONLY chocolate that can legally be called healthy!!

    • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

      We have included it several times in the discussion. We even posted the nutritional info in previous comments.

    • Steph

      Their ingredient list doesnt seem very healthy. If you want healthy, grab pure 100% choloate and stevia(real stevia extract)
      How can they be THE ONLY one considered healthy? Is that legal?

      • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

        Steph, Xocai is a multilevel marketing brand similar to the Amway company, so of course their product is better than all the rest…. said in a sarcastic tone…..

  • http://www.chocolatemakesyoufeelgood.com leisaloveschocolate

    “A higher percentage of cacao (cocoa) means a higher amount of flavanols.” I somewhat disagree with that statement. Once you high temp heat chocolate, you lessen the flavanols and antioxidant value. You need a chocolate that is cold pressed so all the goodness is still there. Look for the ones that list their flavanol & antioxidant content… or you are just eating junk.

  • David Dagge

    Hi. These brands that you named are all dutch free right? Which one is the best for health so the one with higher flavanols?

    • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

      Yes, the recommended brands are not processed with alkali. Just choose a brand that meets the criteria established above and it will be fine. Remember, dark chocolate should only be a small part of a healthy diet rich in antioxidants from many sources.

  • Houli

    Have you tried Wilkie’s Organic Chocolate? It’s really good!

    • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

      Looks like a great choice if you are in Ireland or the UK. Ingredients: Organic Cocoa Beans, Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Cocoa Butter
      No nuts, gluten, dairy or soy

      • S. Beanie Lee

        wow. if only they shipped worldwide.

  • 360 Chocolates

    Have you done a comparison with 360 Chocolates? https://mychocolatepot.livesmart360.com/en-US/

  • Joseph Hein

    I eat Giardelli’s 100% Cacao Unsweetened Chocolate Baking Bar. That is true Dark Chocolate, nothing else. I would not call it bitter. Taste more like cardboard. I add a little 86% (non-alkali) to make it more palatable.

  • Kristin Chetwynd

    Can you give any insight on the health-factor of the ‘Valor’ brand dark chocolate? I tried looking it up online and couldn’t really find much as far as it’s dark chocolate authenticity goes :P

    • JamesF

      Not ideal. According to labelwatch Valor dark chocolates are “processed with alkali” which destroys the healthy flavanols. Better to stick with some of the suggested brands listed above.

  • S. Beanie Lee

    Wow. This is the first time I’ve seen such directly useful information on chocolate products in regards to nutrition.
    How about praline or truffle fillings, such as ganache or giandujas? Of course the same principles should hold at least for the chocolate portion, but are there other factors to look out for here too?

  • mohir

    Got Lindt 99% Excellence from Singapore Supermarket. This tastes smoky and bitter flavor. very hard to eat beyond two squares at a stretch. It is more like a medicine than a tastier chocolate. But quite healthy. Try this for a lifetime.

  • Audrey

    Lulu’s chocolate is delicious. They have an 88% raw, organic, coconut sugar version. http://luluschocolatelove.com/products/items/midnight-velvet-bar/

  • valerie lewis

    I found ghirardelli prenium baking bar at vons , 100 % chocolate , no sugar at all , it s very bitter so i eat it with persimmon fruit and omg it s so good together

    • Lauren

      That sounds amazing! I actually eat raw cocoa beans and roast them occasionally to make my own dark chocolate. Sometimes with the roasted cocoa beans, I’ll make a crumble with salted cashews. So good!