Trying chocolates side-by-side shows how origin and cacao concentration affect flavor. Compare different bars from around the globe, or lighter-to-darker types from a producer like Michel Cluizel (worldwidechocolate.com).
Single-Origin Dark-Chocolate Tasting
Courtesy of Askinosie Chocolate
For this rare, earthy bar, Askinosie imports Filipino beans.askinosie.com.
Courtesy of Chuao Chocolatier
Amano's molassesy bar is made with beans from Chuao, a village known for its cacao.amanochocolate.com.
Courtesy of Madécasse
Madécasse buys Madagascan cacao, and also produces this slightly tart bar there.madecasse.com.
Courtesy of La Maison du Chocolat
La Maison du Chocolat makes a smooth, fruity bar using beans from a town in eastern Ghana.lamaisonduchocolat.us.
A Light-to-Dark-Chocolate Tasting
This milky chocolate melts easily and is mild and creamy, with a caramel-like finish.
A good entry point to darker varieties, this bar is tangier, thanks to its higher percentage of cacao solids.
As the cacao level rises and the amount of sugar drops, the chocolate takes on a more tannic quality.
With almost no sugar, this intense and bitter bar is more like a savory snack than a dessert.
Three Great Wine Pairings
NV New York Malmsey Special Reserve Madeira ($47)
Madeira tends to have an inherent chocolatyness that makes it go with chocolate.
Fonseca Bin No. 27 Port ($20)
Port is a classic match for chocolate, thanks to its balance of sweetness and fruit. Try this coffee-scented one.
2008 Dashe Late Harvest Zinfandel ($24)
Unlike dry reds, this late-harvest Zin has enough sugar to work with chocolate. Megan Krigbaum