15 pounds ends ten year drought
July 29, 2009 7:57 AM   Subscribe

I have not had any chocolate since Easter 1999. My last bit of chocolate was a Cadbury Cream Egg. I was told by my doctor that if I get to 175 I'll be in a safe zone to eat a little bit of chocolate once a week or so. Not to make a big production out of it because I still have 15 pounds to drop, but what chocolate should I begin with?
posted by parmanparman to Food & Drink (51 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Vosges truffles. They also make a chocolate bacon bar, which is good, but I don't know if it's chocolate-y enough to be your re-entry piece.
posted by runningwithscissors at 8:01 AM on July 29, 2009

I weigh more than 175 and ate a chocolate muffin for breakfast (I know, I know, but I had a meeting to go to) so I presume there are good reasons for you not having chocolate. Has your doctor not suggested anything?

I'm trying to cut my saturated fat and have found the best way is to have a fun-size or smaller bar - that way you won't need to eat more than you really want. Brands will differ if you are outside of the UK, but Milky Way, Freddo or Curly Wurly should suit. Anything that's not solid chocolate. Avoid white chocolate, that's pretty high in calories. Dark chocolate also has a more intense flavour (by dark I mean over 60% cocoa solids) so you will find you want less.

Disclaimer: I am a savoury snacker so a block of chocolate can live in my fridge for months where houmous disappears instantly. Are you worried that once you have some chocolate you'll be stuffing your face again?
posted by mippy at 8:02 AM on July 29, 2009

Hershey Kisses. You can limit yourself to 2 or 3 per week. You're also not opening a big bar of chocolate this way.
posted by meerkatty at 8:02 AM on July 29, 2009

Chocolate bacon sounds amazing. I'd also recommend chilli chocolate (Lindt makes this) - strong flavours will help.
posted by mippy at 8:03 AM on July 29, 2009

Christopher Elbow Chocolates. So good!
posted by amarynth at 8:03 AM on July 29, 2009

I've recently become a fan of Ghirardelli Twilight Delight. It's dark chocolate (72% Cacao), so you'd have to like that sort of thing, but darker chocolate supposedly has more helpful anti-oxidants. It also comes in bags of individually packaged squares, so it helps with portion control.

Congratulations on your progress!
posted by sharkfu at 8:04 AM on July 29, 2009

After that long, just make sure you get something much much better than Cadbury's. Splurge on something good is my advice, though I have no specific recommendation.
posted by knapah at 8:06 AM on July 29, 2009

Obviously, this should depend on your personal taste, but my recommendation would be for extremely dark, very high quality chocolate. (I prefer Scharfenberger, but many options abound). The real benefit to extremely good chocolate is that you can savor very small pieces. In fact, Scharfenberger makes very small squares, and my wife and I would each eat a single square for dessert. It sounds silly, but if you eat it very slowly, richer, better chocolate is MUCH more satisfying per unit of calories/sugar/fat/etc.
posted by JMOZ at 8:08 AM on July 29, 2009 [4 favorites]

I say you google it and find the most expensive chocolate you can afford. That way 1) it's a true treat, because you really earned it; 2) you're not likely to snarf it down; you'll actually savor it and enjoy it and 3) it's expensive, so it's not like you're going to be doing it every week.
posted by willmize at 8:09 AM on July 29, 2009

Do you like dark-chocolate? Green & Blacks make very tasty chocolate and the flavor is quite strong so I only eat small amounts of it at a time. Nutritional info
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 8:10 AM on July 29, 2009

Seconding Vosges; I love their bacon bar as well as the Naga and Matcha bar.

If you're more into the traditional box of chocolates, See's is one of the best.

If you just want straight-up chocolate without other stuff in it, I recommend Perugina's dark chocolate bars. I find it really easy to enjoy just a square at a time without getting the urge to eat the entire bar. Unlike a lot of other dark chocolates, it's deeply chocolatey without tasting bitter.

I'm not really keen on the whole forbidding-yourself-foods thing, but if it works for you, it works.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:12 AM on July 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

Forget Hershey's or other cheap chocolate. If you haven't eaten chocolate in 10 years, splurge a little.

That said, I can't believe I forgot about Dagoba. My favorites are the Eclipse and the Xocolatl bars. Like some other suggestions, they're intensely flavored, so you're less likely to pig out on it.
posted by runningwithscissors at 8:21 AM on July 29, 2009

If you are dieting, the Vitalicious VitaMuffin double chocolate muffin tops are about 100 or 200 calories of chocolate deliciousness.
posted by slateyness at 8:23 AM on July 29, 2009

Green & Black's do an awesome range. The 85% cocoa bar mentioned above is nice, but I've settled into enjoying the 70% cocoa bar- it has the optimum balance of rich darkness and creaminess. If you're not a dark fan, they do a very chocolatey milk chocolate, and also in the milk chocolate vein, the Butterscotch bar is exceptionally sweet (and sickly).
If you're after something a bit different, the Maya Gold has orange and spices in it. Lush.
posted by sid.tv at 8:25 AM on July 29, 2009

Taza Guajillo Chili. Even if it kills you, it's worth it.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:32 AM on July 29, 2009

I would suggest you find a local candy shop or chocolate shop, and purchase a couple of small individual bits of whatever they make which appeals to you. In Seattle we have Dilettantes chocolate, which is quite good, but really any town of a decent size will have a place which sells chocolates, and they will almost always be better than anything you can buy in a store.
posted by markblasco at 8:35 AM on July 29, 2009

I'm with JMOZ on this - Scharffenberger. The bittersweet is my favorite, but they make a range - even some milk chocolates these days. They also make teeny squares (5g? 10g?) of all their products.
posted by janell at 8:38 AM on July 29, 2009

Scharffen Berger
posted by krisak at 8:40 AM on July 29, 2009

I suggest you visit Biagio and ask for recommendations! Yum.
posted by juliplease at 8:43 AM on July 29, 2009

You're in the Washington, DC, area, right?
Go to Dean & DeLuca and try out their chocolate selection. Their chocolate truffles, for example.
posted by needled at 8:45 AM on July 29, 2009

Chocolove!!!! Their 65% and 70% bars are great and very smooth. Most dark chocolate is an acquired taste, IMO, but Chocolove is good right away.

And yes, Sees is fantastic. My brother sends me some every Christmas.

Congratulations on your accomplishment!
posted by txvtchick at 8:46 AM on July 29, 2009

I also don't consume very much candy or sweet stuff for health reasons, but have found recently that a square or two of Lindt's 85 % dark chocolate daily satisfies that chocolate craving. It's certainly not to everyone's taste, but if you don't each much sweet stuff, you'll find that you slowly develop a taste for it, if you didn't to begin with.
posted by peacheater at 8:48 AM on July 29, 2009

Go with the small dark tasting squares (5 or 10g each): Michel Cluizel is one that comes to mind, as does the Pralus mini-pyramide but you'll find lots at Chocosphere. With dark chocolate, a little goes a long way.
posted by holgate at 8:49 AM on July 29, 2009

Jacques Torres if ordering online is okay.
posted by spec80 at 8:54 AM on July 29, 2009

I'd avoid very sweet, sugary chocolate. For me, it's the sugar that makes me want more.

That said, forget the name brands everybody knows about. Find a small, local, exquisite chocolatier. These places make their *own* chocolate. It will be fresh, creative, delicious, beautiful, and incredibly special. You might be able to have some tea with it.

If you were here, in the NC Triangle area, I'd take you to either Carrboro's Miel Bon Bons or Hillsborough's Matthew's Chocolates.

A search for washington dc chocolatier gives a few promising results. Ignore Godiva, Neuhaus, and the other well-known brands if you want something really interesting, which means locally made and more obscure. This one looks OK (although the confections list seems to focus mostly on very sweet-sounding, milky, Belgian chocolate). I'm not seeing anything more promising on the local DC front from this quick Google search, but you might have better luck asking around locally.

Actually, although the chocolate isn't made locally, you might want to check out Biagio - they seem to carry chocolate from many smaller makers all over the world. Maybe they could help you pick out something perfect.

Finally, there are quite a number of incredible small chocolatiers in Paris, some of which distribute their products further afield - but if you can actually go *to* Paris, you'll end up walking everywhere, which is fun, and you can celebrate your achievement by walking to some beautiful, non-food-centric experiences _and_ get some of the best chocolate in the world.
posted by amtho at 8:59 AM on July 29, 2009 [2 favorites]

The Amadei Porcelana, or the Valrhona Caraibe

both are mind-blowingly good and not too overwhelming as dark chocolates go (and I am a HUGE fan of dark chocolate)

These tastes will rock your world and welcome you back to chocolate :)
posted by alchemist at 9:00 AM on July 29, 2009

Theo Chocolate is, in my opinion, some of the finest chocolate made. Premium beans, brilliant processing (don't remove any of the cocoa butter), and genuinely good people. Can't go wrong with any of their flavors. If you're really in the mood for an adventure, get one of each of their origin bars and experience just how different chocolate can taste depending on where it is grown.
posted by ransom at 9:01 AM on July 29, 2009

Bernard Castelain or Chocolat Olivier, if you can find them, are both good. Amatller chocolate from Barcelona is available in my area, at least, and is really, really good. I've also enjoyed the Santander chocolate from Colombia, which is good quality but about 1/3 less expensive than typical high-end products.

With any of these, a square or two broken off is very satisfying. You'll want to consider how you'll store the remainder. And, of course, you'll have to be the sort of person who won't eat the whole bar in one sitting. A typical bar lasts me a month or more.
posted by gimonca at 9:01 AM on July 29, 2009

Seconding all the luxury chocolate suggestions, and putting in a plug for my local John & Kira's.

But if you want something more affordable and easily obtainable for the occasional treat, I think that the individually-wrapped Dove dark chocolates are terrifically satisfying.
posted by desuetude at 9:10 AM on July 29, 2009

You don't say why you have the weight limit, but I'll assume it's connected to weight body fat or dietary fat.

In which case I'd recommend skipping all the truffle ideas and go for a good strong high quality chocolate. Go for something with lots of cocoa solids instead of cocoa butter, then adjust to your own tastes using a glass of milk of your choosing. Yeah, the fat's still there, but it's enjoyable fat rather than hidden fat.

My favourite is G&B Maya Gold or Lindt 70%.

It used to be true (and probably still is) that Lindt Milk chocolate had more cocoa in it than Cadbury's 'dark' Bournville range...
posted by twine42 at 9:24 AM on July 29, 2009

If I was in your shoes, coming off a 10 year hiatus, I would go to ACKC (there's one near Logan Circle and also one in Del Ray) for chocolate (especially their Diva drinks) OR go to CocoSala and do the tasting menu (they try to incorporate chocolate in everything) or get a really decadent chocolate dessert, one that just makes you want to cry from goodness.

As far as chocolate itself goes, I do enjoy Vahlrona.
posted by kerning at 9:34 AM on July 29, 2009

Find a small, local, exquisite chocolatier. These places make their *own* chocolate.

From cacao beans? Unlikely. As the NoKa exposé made clear, 99% of chocolate shops work with blocks of couverture that they temper and flavour, and are happy to say which suppliers they use. They make lovely, unique chocolates, but they don't make their own chocolate.

And if you're weaning yourself back onto choc, then as twine42 says, you might as well go with squares over truffles.
posted by holgate at 9:46 AM on July 29, 2009

Vosges. Especially if you're trying to limit yourself. I find that when I spend $8 on a chocolate bar, I'll only eat a little bit of it at a time, because I want it to last.
posted by honeybee413 at 9:56 AM on July 29, 2009

Response by poster: Background:
When I went to college I went from 180 to 234 (my heaviest) between Sept 98 and April 99. Call it the collegiate buffet experience. I knew I had acid reflux but I didn't think I was that heavy. I was ordered to stop eating chocolate until I fell below 180. I got to 180 and completely plateaued. This time I am starting my third round at 190, so feel like it's a definite possibility I can get to 175 and stay there.
posted by parmanparman at 10:03 AM on July 29, 2009

I'd eat a Cadbury Cream Egg, as it's the last thing you ate before stopping. Make the second chocolate the crazy (expensive, good) stuff.

But that's just me. It would at least help you appreciate the good stuff better. After 10 years, everything's going to taste awesome.
posted by bDiddy at 10:14 AM on July 29, 2009

Have you tried a dark chocolate variety? Cadbury is candy. Dark chocolate is healthy, good for you, and can (should?) be consumed on a regular basis.
posted by whiskeyspider at 10:26 AM on July 29, 2009

I was ordered to stop eating chocolate until I fell below 180.

That is a rather unusual approach. Very few doctors, in my experience, would suggest that (Dr. Andrew Weil, for instance, is a big fan of including chocolate in a health-focused weight loss diet).

You should do whatever works best for you, of course, but do realize that chocolate is not considered by the majority of doctors to be an absolute no-no for people who are working on losing weight.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:26 AM on July 29, 2009

I read that as chocolate contributing to the reflux; reflux is of of course also compounded by being overweight. Ergo, he can risk some chocolate when his weight isn't such an issue.
posted by desuetude at 10:33 AM on July 29, 2009

I would go for Amedei from Italy. Their "Chuao" is sometimes described as the best chocolate in the world, but the "9" won the Golden Bean this year.
posted by tomcooke at 10:39 AM on July 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

Since you're only going to have small bits of chocolate at a time, you want to go for the really good stuff. I'm a fan of Jacques Torres' work, and I find Max Brenner's chocolate to be tasty, as well. Both do mail order, if you're not in the NY area.
posted by Citrus at 11:01 AM on July 29, 2009

Teuscher's champagne truffles. Just one.
posted by chairface at 11:06 AM on July 29, 2009

I love Vosges's pink salt and goji berry bar, and my go-to brand for good chocolate when I don't want to search for it is Lindt (freeze a Lindt truffle bar, if you can find one - its a great combination of flavor and texture), but I'm going to put in a plug for Divine Chocolate, the best fair-trade chocolate ever. Their chocolate has a significant edge over brands like Dagoba and Black & Green in terms of the smoothness of flavor and texture. They're not as easy to find as Lindt, but don't have to go out of your way to find a retailer in DC.

While I appreciate the philosophy behind having mini-chocolate bars or Hershey's kisses in that you'd be less tempted to overindulge than if you opened an entire bar of chocolate, I really think it's better to go with higher quality brands. Good chocolate has significantly better texture and flavor with less sugar than cheap chocolate. Good chocolate is so much more satisfying in small amounts, and if I could just quit Reece's peanut butter cups, I'd never touch a Hershey's product again. If overindulgence is something you're concerned about, I think it'd be better to get a box of high-quality truffles and let the expense be the counterbalance against the desire to have too many.
posted by EvaDestruction at 11:19 AM on July 29, 2009

From cacao beans? Unlikely.

Well, some shops *do* make chocolate from cacao beans, so you could look into it and figure out if you do have access to one.

Which would be awesome.

I'm fairly certain our shop in Carrboro, Miel Bon Bons, does start from cacao beans, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if it were exceedingly rare. Some of the shops seem preoccupied with making edgy truffles with unusual fillings, or chocolate molded into the shape of cell phones and things.

bonus: if you spoil yourself with really really excellent chocolate, I believe you're less likely to want to waste time with cheap, abundant chocolate. If you only get to have it once in a while, then it makes sense to get the best you can. Also, a boutique shop is more likely to let you buy just one or two small (or medium-sized) pieces.
posted by amtho at 11:29 AM on July 29, 2009

Rogue Chocolatier starts with beans, his stuff is amazing. But I don't think those edgy truffles or even molds are anything to sneeze at, either.
posted by desuetude at 11:52 AM on July 29, 2009

The best chocolate I've ever had was miles above the rest. It comes from a little company out of Oregon that gets their fair trade chocolate from family farms. It's called Stirs the Soul, and is organic and raw. Their chocolate claims to be dark, which normally doesn't do it for me at all, but holy cow! This stuff is just the right sweetness and full of delightfulness and comes in all sorts of interesting flavors.

The best chocolate they sell at my local candy store is Santander.
posted by aniola at 11:52 AM on July 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

reflux is of of course also compounded by being overweight.

That's not necessarily true, either--it appears to be true for some people and less true for other people according to studies.

And nor is chocolate a reflux trigger for everyone, though if it is for parmanparman, he's obviously right to avoid it. The thing is that it might well still be a reflux trigger at 175 pounds, or not be a reflux trigger at 180 pounds--the doctor had absolutely no way of knowing.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:10 PM on July 29, 2009

Grenada Chocolate Bars! Delicious!
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 1:04 PM on July 29, 2009

Those Grenada Chocolate Bars are made from organic cocao beans. We sell them at my little food coop in Manhattan...so good!
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 1:07 PM on July 29, 2009

Wow...10 years without chocolate? YEARS? You are a much stronger man than I, gunga din. I can't even imagine the body count if I tried that...

That said; I like Vosges a lot, but I've started making my own truffles, because I can do really groovy things with them, and it costs me a lot less. So...if you have some favorite flavors that you enjoy with chocolate, or if you just want chocolate truffles, I'd be more than happy to engineer a recipe for you. For something like this, I'll even make you a step by step instruction guide with pictures if you're nervous about making them. I'm sure my 6 year old sous chef would love an excuse to play with new flavors. :)
posted by dejah420 at 3:59 PM on July 29, 2009

chairface said: Teuscher's champagne truffles. Just one.

Yes, I emphatically second that recommendation.
posted by gudrun at 9:43 PM on July 29, 2009

Chocolate, or a compound in chocolate, relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter and allows gastric acid up into the esophagus [WebMD]. IANAD, just a reflux patient who's been helped by cutting out chocolate. Congratulations, parmanparman, and enjoy it. :)
posted by swerve at 9:49 PM on July 29, 2009

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