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This site not work anymore .I have a new site and you can go there visit me. I dont go put more post here anymore ... If you like this blog go there .. I will be there for you ... Olá meus queridos amigos ... agora tenho um novo blog Este site nao funcionará mais , tive alguns problemas. Agora tenho um novo endereco de blog. Nao irei mais colocar post neste blog .. Todas as atualizacoes e novidades estarao no outro endereco .. Acessem... estarei lá pra vcssss Se vcs gostaram desse blog irao amar o outro .. mais atualizado e lindo ... Vamos láaaa .... visitem-me lá .. Beijinhos Lili

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quarta-feira, 24 de fevereiro de 2010

FoodLife: Hot chocolates

In 10 years chocolate has gone from bland to brilliant. Dark, exotic, spicy: there is more choice than ever and the competition is intense. Robert Colvile organised a taste test to establish the best of the bars.

Robert Colvile
Published: 2:39PM GMT 19 Feb 2010
Fairtrade favourites: First prize goes to Green & Black's Maya Gold

In my first proper cookbook, there was one passage above all that I identified with. “How horrible it would be to live in a world without chocolate,” proclaimed the author, Nigel Slater.

“A world devoid of the strings of sticky caramel in a Mars bar; the crisp snap of a square of the finest Valrhona Manjari; the feel of a pale Flake as it dissolves on the tongue; and the hot-cold sensation of warm chocolate sauce on a cold vanilla ice.”

Given that it was chocolate – in particular, a Claire Macdonald double chocolate fudge cake – that had first sent me down the road from consumer of food to producer, it was reassuring to know that professionals knew the allure, too.

But looking back, more than a decade later, there is something odd: Slater extols the proper stuff, admits the appeal of the cheap and cheerful variety, and that’s it. There’s nothing in between.

What Slater, and my teenage self, weren’t to know was that the subsequent years would bring an explosion in the availability of quality chocolate. Brands like Lindt and Green & Black’s now jostle for space with supermarkets’ own offerings, while every knowledgeable dinner-party guest can discuss cocoa percentages and the merits of single origin as if they’re evaluating a particularly full-bodied pinot noir.

Moreover, with the advent of Fairtrade certification, even the guilt has been removed from the pleasure: sure, it’s fattening, but just think of those grateful farmers in the Third World.

Of course, there are limits to our sophistication. When I gathered the taste testers for this evaluation of the alternative Fairtrade brands, it was all I could do to keep hold of the packaging for later reference.

“Tasting notes? I’ll give you a tasting note,” said one correspondent, as he disappeared towards the Business desk with his bounty. “It’s chocolate. Mmmmm.”

Eventually, order was restored, and some proper discussion could begin. And we did find a surprising range of experiences available. Many of the milk chocolates, for example, had gone too heavy on the sugar, leaving a slightly sickly, glutinous aftertaste – Waitrose and the Co-operative got poor marks here.

The dark chocolates were more generally solid: there was particular praise for Divine, the bespoke Fairtrade brand, whose 70 per cent Ghanaian dark chocolate with raspberries had a fruity zing and zest that made the taste of the chocolate itself almost an afterthought.

Sometimes, we marked brands down more for presentation than content. Daylesford Organic, ultra-posh grocers to Belgravia and the Cotswolds, produced some lovely Peruvian at 75 per cent (somehow, I feel as if I’m describing a drug deal).

But the plastic inner wrapping seemed surprisingly plebeian, and environmentally unfriendly, while the little heart-shaped depressions in each square looked lovely, but made you realise that you weren’t getting quite enough bite for your buck.

Then there were the mixed messages given out by Organic Meltdown’s milk chocolate with hazelnut and currants: on the one hand, the packaging informs you in giant letters that “Eating This Chocolate Saves Trees”; on the other, it’s surprisingly easy to mistake it for good old Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut.

When it came time to give out awards, however, the judges were unanimous. In a blind test, the reactions given to Sainsbury’s SO Organic Santo Domingo were genuinely rapturous: the dark was marvellously strong and bitter, while the milk was easily the most sophisticated, and least sugary, of the brands on offer.

First prize, though, had to go to the granddaddy of them all: Green & Black’s deliciously spicy Maya Gold, whose taste would surely prompt a whole monograph if Nigel Slater was doing an updated edition.

Of course, we’re always up for another round of tests – just to make sure.

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