Restaurants & Bars

german chocolate, part I

gus | Jun 15, 200502:50 AM

My year abroad in Germany is coming to an end, and, in true college style, I've pretty much tried every brand and bar of chocolate you can find on the shelves. (Except for the ones that seemed way too gross -- I'm not a big fan of hydrogenated-fat fake-truffle fillings etc).

Hands-down favorite: Fassbender & Rausch bars. Their "Amazonas" (60%) chocolate beats any bittersweet chocolate I've ever had. The bar itself is chunky, which I prefer to thin tablets; the pieces break off in satisfyingly thick ingots. Creamy mouthfeel and luxuriously bitter. Simply the best! My prior favorite was Valrhona, if that gives any indication of the kind of chocolate I prefer. Do not like waxy.

Also, F&R's "Puerto Caballo" ('bitter milk chocolate') is my favorite milk chocolate -- which I sometimes do crave. It's more milky than sweet -- think the Scharffenberger milk chocolate bar, but chunky, and just BETTER.

Cote D'Or bars: had some bad experiences with rancid praline fillings in these (bought in Germany). However, my French roommate brought me the extra-thick, praline croquant (sp?) flavor from home, which was delicious -- not rancid -- and crunchy/creamy. Appreciated the extra thickness. However, I've seen that Cote D'Or now appears to be owned by Cadbury, so maybe that explains the poor quality.

Hachez: don't really dig the thin tablet bars and the waxy dark chocolate. I only ate it because I got some free samples at the German version of Costco.

Ritter Sport: oh, these (in their "praktisch quadratisch" form) are way too easy to eat. They're gone in like 5 bites. And the quality of the chocolate isn't that good, and some of them use vegetable fat in their fillings ... but when you're at the gas station and it's a chocolate must, I recommend (in order of preference): dark whole hazelnut; marzipan; whole almond; knusperflakes; milk chocolate hazelnut; fruit & nut. I haven't tried the fruit-filling flavors because they gross me out. The knusperflakes is oddly tasty, but it's kind of stoner food. Avoid, at all costs, the rum-fruit-nut flavor -- rum is artificial and way too strong. I think that's the only bar of chocolate I couldn't finish in my life! I think marzipan is the best Ritter Sport choice.

One of my friends' favorite gas-station breakfast: buy a plain white roll, split it in half, split a Ritter Sport in half, and top roll with chocolate. Works for me.

Apropos of gas station: actually, I usually turn to the roll-shaped bar of pure nougat (ViBa). This isn't technically chocolate, but I still like it.

OK, I have to run to class, but there are lots more to be mentioned. Will continue Part II next time.

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