Chocolate is a delectable delicacy produced from the seeds of the tropical cacao tree. Even though eating a lot of chocolate might cause weight gain due to its high calorie and natural sugars, there are some health advantages to this sweet indulgence. And dark chocolate is arguably the best alternative for healthy eaters.
Dark chocolate has various health benefits, like it positively impacts the cardiovascular system and increases exercise capacity. It is all about understanding the ingredients to enjoy the best of both worlds. Lindt, Cadbury, and Brookside are some of the most consumed and best dark chocolates in India. Let's discuss them in detail below. Get to know more about dark chocolates from nutritionist Ruchi Wadhwa as she reviewed this article.
Ruchi Wadhwa is a certified Nutritionist with a keen interest in Ayurvedic science. She has a wholesome, holistic, and sustainable approach to nutrition.
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Ruchi Wadhwa is a certified Nutritionist with a keen interest in Ayurvedic sciences. She has a wholesome, holistic, and sustainable approach to nutrition. Check out our Food and drinks section as more articles are reviewed by expert Ruchi Wadhwa.
A bite of dark chocolate works as an instant mood booster because it stimulates the production of endorphins. High-quality dark chocolates are rich in flavanols, which fight inflammation and promote healthy skin. Keeping a check on the ingredients, composition, you can choose high-quality dark chocolate. Read on as we discuss points on choosing the best dark chocolate in India.
Choose the one with three main components, including cocoa, cocoa butter, and a natural sweetener, is an excellent way to go. Too many ingredients can play around with your taste buds and change the taste of the chocolate all together. Not sure how this can happen? Let's talk about it below.
You must have seen dark chocolate packaging labelled 30 percent, 75 percent, or 80 percent. These numbers represent the cocoa concentration in the chocolate, which further determines the bitterness in the flavour.
Higher the percentage of cocoa, the more bitter it is. A bar of dark chocolate with cocoa in its natural raw state (cacao) is the most beneficial. However, in its natural state, cocoa is very brittle, which makes it difficult to consume.
But when shopping for dark chocolate, you can seek the ones that have a higher percentage of cocoa, i.e., 70% or above. They'll be less brittle but with more nutrition. The greater the cocoa percentage, the greater will be the antioxidants and nutrients in it.
The percentage reflects the amount of chocolate that is actually cacao beans. For example, when chocolate is labelled as 70% dark, it means 70% of the product is made with cacao beans. A 100% dark chocolate is very bitter and is mostly used for baking purposes.
Apart from cocoa, a bar of classic dark chocolate has sugar, cocoa butter, and vanilla extract. To counteract the bitterness of dark chocolate, manufacturers add sugar to it. You should avoid chocolates that contain cane sugar, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, and other refined sugars as they lead to increased liver fat, risk of obesity and weight gain. etc.
Instead, look for dark chocolate with natural sweeteners like coconut sugar, honey syrup, and pure maple syrup. Ideal dark chocolate contains 24.23g of sugar. It's worth noting that the lesser the sugar level, the greater the cocoa percentage. Therefore, pick the one that has 70% or more cocoa.
The addition of sugar to chocolates make it less nutritious! Research shows that consumption of sugar can trigger appetite and cravings thus, resulting in a vicious circle of unhealthy choices. Also, artificial sweeteners have a similar effect which makes them just as bad. So, It's better to go for chocolates made from natural ingredients like honey, stevia, etc.
Most of us have developed a taste for some standard chocolate flavour. Not to say that those flavours are bad, but there is always room for more. Unusual chocolate pairings and flavours allow our pallets to open up to newer combinations and tastes.
However, while shopping for flavoured dark chocolate, it is hard to tell from the label if the flavours are natural or artificial. The best practice in such cases is to choose a certified organic product, which will ensure that the added flavour is not artificial.
Lindt has a dark chocolate flavour paired with orange, an excellent burst of bitter and tangy flavours that has a great aftertaste. The brand Lindt has various flavours in dark chocolate, including roasted sesame, sea salt, mint, coconut etc. So, when shopping for dark chocolate, shop for a unique pallet experience, and the results may surprise you.
Not everyone is accustomed to the bitter taste of dark chocolates. So, if you're not a fan of the traditional taste, you can give different combinations a try like, the combination of dark chocolate with orange and hazelnut is pretty popular.
Not all ingredients are good for our body; while some decrease the antioxidants in chocolate, others become a significant factor for heart disease. Discussed below are a few ingredients to watch out for, and best if avoided.
Lecithin is mainly sourced from Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) soy and processed with hexane to keep the cocoa and cocoa butter from separating in the chocolate - it acts as an emulsifier. It is not a mandatory inclusion, but some chocolate brands add it to help the flavours blend.
Hexane is a neurotoxin and carcinogen, and even if it is eliminated from chocolate, bits may remain. Because the FDA controls its removal, you might wish to avoid it - especially given the presence of GMOs and leftover insecticides in soy.
It may cause allergies, diseases, and nutrient deficiencies. In case of extreme toxic build-up, it can even lead to severe health conditions. As an alternative, you can go for products that contain natural foods such as egg yolks or bee pollens. You can even consider sunflower lecithin.
Soy is not added to chocolates directly, but a compound called lecithin is isolated from soy and used as an emulsifier in chocolates. It is not necessary, and replacing it with other emulsifiers will not affect the taste and flavor of chocolate in any way. So, if you have weak immunity, look out for common allergens like soy, peanuts, etc., and choose products free from them.
Dark chocolate should contain only one type of fat, i.e., cocoa butter. If it has trans fat, you might be at an increased risk of heart disease. It also gives rise to LDL, which is bad cholesterol and reduces HDL, which is good cholesterol.
Therefore, keep a check on the ingredient list for the presence of trans fat. If the label says hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil, that also means that the chocolate contains trans fat. Although adding trans fat to chocolate has become less frequent, certain manufacturers still use it to increase the shelf life and consistency.
Manufacturers often use hydrogenated fat that can help to maintain molded chocolate and reduce the production cost. Hydrogenated fat is bad for health as it increases unhealthy markers like LDL and cholesterol. So, always read labels and make sure to avoid chocolates made with them.
Artificial flavouring is a wild card component that may not be acceptable for individuals with sensitivities or dietary intolerance, so it's best to stay away from unhealthy sweetening agents or artificial flavours, such as Aspartame, Stevia, etc.
When choosing dark chocolate with the best flavour, it is advisable to pick an organic one as you can rest assured that you're relishing only the natural flavours. Good quality dark chocolate does not contain artificial colours and preservatives. The low moisture from cocoa beans is removed during the grinding, thus allowing zero microbial growth.
Artificial additives can cause diarrhea, hyperactivity, insomnia, asthma, rhinitis, itching, and hives. In fact, some of them (like aspartame) has been linked to certain cancers. So, when buying dark chocolate, you should be mindful of additives and chose either organic or all-natural products.
Milk is not a common ingredient in high-quality dark chocolate. However, milk fat is a major issue as it has butter stripped of its moisture and contains non-fat solids. The presence of milk fat in your dark chocolate interferes with the body's absorption process of antioxidants, which are naturally found in cocoa.
Milk fat is added to dark chocolate by certain producers to soften it and add taste. Milk fat, like lecithin, is not necessary for the production of dark chocolate and solely serves to harm when consumed by providing the extra cholesterol that you are trying to avoid.
High-quality dark chocolate contains only 50-90% of cocoa solids, cocoa butter, and sugar. The addition of milk, butter, vegetable oil, or artificial colours or flavours puts them in the lower-quality category. In reality, milk fat not only ruins the original gritty taste of dark chocolate but reduces the nutritional value and potency of the final product.
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The dark chocolate by one of the premium chocolate brands is made of the finest cocoa beans. With 85% cocoa solids, this bar gives away an exceptional aroma of dried fruits and liquorice. For those who are looking for quality dark chocolate, this one from Lindt will create an experience of delight with its smooth texture and flavour.
The chocolate bar is ideal for true dark chocolate connoisseurs as it departs from the traditional sweetness of cocoa and focuses on the deep and gritty flavour that you'll love. Reviewers say that one piece of chocolate after lunch or dinner is enough to keep up with their cravings.
Whether you're on a keto diet, low carb diet, or are simply looking for irresistible dark chocolate, the Rich Dark by Ketofy will be your perfect choice. With 1g net carb per serving, no added sugar, and hydrogenated oils, it is a healthy snack to keep your munchings at bay.
The chocolate is made of all-natural ingredients, including natural sweetener stevia, cocoa, cocoa butter, beneficial acids, and vitamins. The brand also claims the chocolate to be gluten-free, diabetic-friendly, and 100% vegan.
So, if you're restricted by a diet and are craving a dessert, this dark chocolate will make up for it too. You can even use it in different recipes, like cakes, shakes, and smoothies.
Amul is one of the most prominent dairy brands in India. It has also gained popularity in the field of dark chocolate because of the inexpensive range it offers. The Ultimate Dark Chocolate bar by Amul is a high-quality product made using single-origin cocoa beans.
It contains 99% cacao, making it bitter, but the brand says 'Bitter at its Best'. Like our previous product, it is one of the best dark chocolates for weight loss in India as it does not contain added sugar and vegetable fat.
Reviewers say that if you're even slightly inclined towards milk chocolate and want to try dark chocolate, you will not like this one as it is bitter, but it is a heaven for dark chocolate lovers.
Nestle's KitKat Dark is dark chocolate paired with the crunch of wafer fingers. It is perfect for mid-study sessions, evening breaks, and midnights when you crave an indulgence break. It is made of 100% certified sustainable cocoa, supplied through Nestle cocoa plant.
There are no artificial colours, and flavors added, making it suitable for vegetarians or those with a clear conscience. Kitkat is preferred for its dual texture of cream and crisp, but this dark chocolate flavour takes the liking up a notch. The other variant of this chocolate comes with a milky flavor. So, if you want a not-so-bitter flavor, then you can try KitKat Dark.
We have all grown up eating Bournville milk chocolates, and now this dark chocolate is taking over our dessert cravings, one bite at a time. The Rich Cocoa by Bournville is a delectable blend of 50% cocoa, sugar, cocoa butter, and milk solids. Since it contains milk, it is not on a very bitter side.
If you like dark chocolate, but not the ones with a very brittle after taste, then this one is a perfect choice for you. This chocolate can be used in various recipes, including cakes, pastries, and smoothies. Bournville's dark chocolates are also available in cranberry and raisin n nut flavors.
This delectable dark chocolate by Brookside is a burst of flavors right from its first bite. It is a perfect combination of dark chocolate and fruits, making it an ideal choice for those who are not fans of bitter chocolates. The exotic blend of blueberry and acai with cocoa is a delight to the tastebuds.
Undoubtedly, this chocolate is good in taste; it might not be the most healthy option out there. The chocolate contains sugar, milk solids, stabiliser, glazing agent, and synthetic food colours, making it a not-so-healthy product. So, if you're following a specific diet or are diabetic, we'd suggest you skip this one.
Godiva is an old Belgium brand that began its production in the year 1926. With this dark chocolate, the brand keeps up with all those years of experience. It has a rich taste of cocoa that will impress any dark chocolate lover. The bar is scored into ten signature squares, giving you the ease of breaking the chocolate into perfect squares.
Chocolate contains zero trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium, making it a healthy option. Reviewers say that they came across this dark chocolate quite late and wish they had tasted it sooner. Some say that the texture is lovely, and the flavor is excellent to be eaten as a snack every day.
If darkest dark chocolate is what you like, this Mason & Co. Intense Dark Chocolate is for you. It contains 85% cocoa, which has a strong and earthy flavor. However, to neutralise the bitterness, the brand has added a minimal amount of organic cane sugar, which does not affect its health benefits.
People love the smooth and strong taste of this chocolate bar. The brand prides itself on sourcing the cacao beans from organic farms in South India and using a unique process to convert the beans into chocolate in an artisan factory in Auroville. From growing the beans to transporting them to the factory and creating dark chocolate in our own country, the entire process makes this authentic Indian chocolate.
This 55% Exotic dark Chocolate by Hershey's has an extraordinary taste of dark chocolate with notes of raspberry and goji. The bar is for those who do not prefer the bitter taste but a sweet aftertaste. This exotic dark collection has two more flavors - pomegranate and blueberry & acai.
What makes this chocolate great is that it isn't a single full-sized bar but convenient single-serve balls that you can savor from time to time throughout the day. The small size is also great for carrying it in your lunch box or keeping a few in your office drawer.
Toblerone might be known for its uniquely shaped milk chocolates, but it also makes delectable dark chocolates. This one is quite affordable as compared to boutique brands, making it a preferred choice among youngsters, who want to satisfy their dark chocolate cravings, without spending much.
The chocolate comes with a single long stick and small bite-size pieces in a packet. Depending on your frequency of consumption and portability, you can choose between the two. The chocolate is relatively sweeter because of the presence of milk fat.
If you love dark chocolate, you'd love these dark chocolate cookies. Not only is the recipe simple, but the end product looks oh-so-good! Below are some tips to perfect these cookies, if you try them at home.
To read the recipe in detail, click here
When you are not sure if your dark chocolate, is the best for you, you can always make it at home, by yourself. It's an easy process involiving cocoa powder as the base ingredient. Although making it yourself is a lenghty process, but you can be sure of the quality. You can always involve your friends and family to make the process fun. If you are planning to do so yourself, check out the best cocoa powder here.
There are many foods that harm and foods that heal. It is up to you to make a mindful choice to maintain your lifestyle and health. Dark chocolates are medically approved in terms of their benefits, and the bitter taste only makes it more interesting. Our list of premium dark chocolates provides variety and options for you to choose from.
Author: Kashish Chadha
Editor: Srishti Sikka
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