The Sweet Spot: 72%
Our Newest Dark Chocolate Offering is a Sigona’s Exclusive
Diane Rezendes, food writer
When we enjoy some dark chocolate together, one of my friends always mentions that eating chocolate releases the chemical oxytocin, the feel-good hormone. Whether she’s right, I don’t know: apparently the studies aren’t conclusive. But it doesn’t take much to convince me. I’m confident that I benefit from even just a smidge of really luscious chocolate at the end of the day. (Full disclosure: I am enjoying some dark chocolate as I write. Everyone needs a muse, right?)
L’Amourette is a San Francisco chocolatier and Sigona’s newest partner. Andre V, their master chocolatier, has created a 72% dark chocolate bar with ginger and almonds exclusively for Sigona’s. Seventy-two percent is the sweet spot (and yes, I know I wrote that) which marks the perfect spot for most chocolate lovers – go far lower and the taste moves into sugary and cloying; go much higher and the risk is a bitter edge only a few will fully appreciate.
L’Amourette uses only pure cocoa bean in its recipes. There is no soy lecithin, commonly used in chocolates, and no fillers of any kind. Which means more of the natural cocoa, ginger, and almond flavors in your chocolate bar.
Ginger is used, of course, in the cuisines of many countries in dishes both savory and sweet. Its bright and sharp aspects are a good contrast to smooth, velvety chocolate. Almonds bring their own contrast, with their nutty, meaty flavor and satisfying bite.
Andre, the master chocolatier who developed this recipe for Sigona’s, adds this tidbit in the form of historical rumor: Madame du Barry, mistress to King Louis XV, offered a concoction of ginger to her lovers, including the king. “With such a rich tradition, why not use it in chocolate?” he says.
And Now a Moment of Science
We’ve all heard informally about all the great health benefits of dark chocolate. This might be a good place to share the conclusion of a peer-reviewed article from the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology (March 2013). Researchers found that indeed, chocolate contains “a large percentage of flavonoids” that enhance cognitive function, lowering the risk for stroke and dementia. And moderate amounts of chocolate may lower body mass index.
They also conclude that dark chocolate “induces positive effects on” mood. But I’m pretty sure we already knew that last one.
More about chocolate
- A cacao tree produces beans only after 4-5 years of growth.
- German chocolate is named for its origin: not the country, but a chocolatier named Sam German who created a mild, sweet bar for the Baker’s Chocolate company in 1852. A grateful company named the chocolate in his honor.
- Pairing: you may know this intuitively, or by trial-and-error, but it’s good to steer away from more acidic wines like sparkling wines or very dry whites. But a little dark chocolate and a thimbleful of a good late bottle vintage port is heavenly: each enhances the other.