Found Chocolate Question

Discovered this one in my box when I got up this morning:

Dear Joe,

Why is it you say that high-fat chocolates are of “higher quality” when there are many very high quality high-cacao chocolates on the market today?

Perhaps I should make a distinction here, since it’s true that a great many high-cacao chocolates have come on the market the last ten years, many of which are very high quality, at least as we’ve come to define the term (i.e. they’re very carefully formulated and manufactured). “Fine” is probably the word I’m looking for. “Fine” chocolates are those silky smooth confections that are most associated with the European chocolate-making tradition.

“Fine” chocolates, with their high proportion of fat that allows the (very finely pulverized) cacao solids to linger on the tongue longer than low-fat chocolates, were once considered the pinnacle of the chocolate-making art. That was until several upstart American manufacturers — presumably following trends toward harsher, more assertive coffees — started producing and marketing gourmet high-cacao chocolates. European-style chocolate sales plummeted — at least until the companies that made them began to offer high-cacao chocolates of their own.

Today there are high-cacao European chocolates that are crumbly and harsh enough to rival anything that, say, California’s Scharffen Berger can dish out. Poor Rudolph Lindt is probably spinning in his grave, but hey man, that’s business.

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