Doug Knell, the mastermind of Doug's Republic, is all about chocolate at Doug's Chocolate Republic. He will review
the good and the bad. Come here, like the Mayan and Aztec people would if they could, to read all about Doug's reviews
of Hershey, Droste, Cadbury, and Green & Black's. The Field Museum in Chicago set Doug on the path to righteousness.
Doug will eat at premium chocolate at every turn now. Give him Droste, give him Green & Black's. He likes.
Give him Hershey, give him Cadbury, he doesn't like. Neither would the Aztecs or Mayans. The museum of Chicago and Chocolate
Even to this day, some people refer to Doug as "Mr. Cacao"
Chocolate. One of
life's guilty pleasures -- for most. It's not a guilty pleasure for me. I eat it, love it, then
flaunt it. But I make sure, as best I can, to only eat the good stuff. If I were eating garbage, then I'd feel guilty. Good
and bad chocolate have about the same caloric content.
Why waste the calories eating the horrendous chocolate?
I haven't always appreciated
fine chocolate. I used to think it absurd that people
would pay USD 3 or more for a chocolate bar when Hershey
bars were available for 35₵.
I grew up, like most kids, eating normal everyday chocolate
you grabbed off the shelves: Snickers, Milky Ways, Kit
Kats, M & M's, Nestle Crunch bars, Mr. Goodbars. None were
manufactured with fine chocolate. I just didn't know
Everything changed in the
year 2000. The world hadn't fallen apart as many
doomsayers predicted from all the outmoded computers still
in operation that only processed years by their last two
digits. I remained alive and well, and in October of that year, I
went to Chicago
to visit my sister and her family. She took me to
to the Field Museum to see a chocolate exhibition. (I
thought it was a temporary exhibition, but I was mistaken.
The exhibit continues as of this writing. Check
here). I got to observe how chocolate was grown,
processed, blended, conched, tempered, and stored.
Until that time, I didn't realize that cacao beans could
only be grown in equatorial climates. About 70% of the
world's crop comes from just three countries: Ivory Coast,
Ghana, and Indonesia. Suddenly, chocolate seemed
like a rare gift.
At the end of the exhibit was
a gift shop selling various kinds of chocolates, none of
which I'd ever seen before. One item for sale was
called "Mexican Hot Chocolate." It consisted of blocks
of spiced Mexican chocolate. There were instructions
affixed to boil one block in so much milk. When we got
back to my sister's place, I boiled one block in soy milk
for myself and another in real milk for my niece. My
niece said she liked it, but I was in raptures. It
was delicious, incomparable to the supersweet Nestle Quik
and Hershey's Instant Cocoa I supped as a child and
would never sup again.
My chocolate habits changed
immediately. I went to the trouble from then on to buy
only premium unsweetened cocoa powders -- Valhrona, Droste,
Green & Black's, whatever I could get my hands on. I
added cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, and almonds and originally
sweetened the drinks with brown rice syrup and, later,
non-caloric stevia, always using soy or almond or rice milk.
It became a daily ritual for me. When I'd visit the
natural foods market, I'd pick up a bar of premium
chocolate to broaden my taste buds. Within six months
of consistent consumption of the "good stuff," I could
readily tell when I was eating the bad stuff.
The lack of cocoa solids and inferior fillers was obvious.
Hershey and its cheap cousins were permanently dumped from
Doug's Chocolate Republic
came about almost by accident. In January of 2010, I
compared Cadbury Dairy Milks and nut bars from more than a
half dozen different countries and
wrote about it on Doug's Republic. This was around
the same time as Kraft was bidding to buy the Cadbury
company outright. The article received a lot of
hits. A stand-up Australian guy, Aussie Dave, came across the
Republic and sent me a book as a gift, being so gracious as
to include a few Australian-made Cadbury bars as well.
Later, he sent me more parcels of chocolate, from New
Zealand, Spain, Australian, and the UK. Naturally, I
ate all that was sent and mentally rated each bar.
Doug's Chocolate Republic was
a natural extension of what I've been doing for years anyway
-- comparing one bar of (hopefully) premium chocolate with
another. I'm surprised I never thought of putting this
chocolate review section together years ago.
My objective is to rate
at least one new chocolate per week. If I take
the consumption to an extreme, I risk blowing my waistline
out to Chris Farley or Dom Deluise proportions. Chocolate is tasty,
and scientists do say it has some health benefits, but let's
not forget that it also packs on a lot of calories. To
not join the ranks of the obese, I have to pace myself.
Obesity leads to increased mortality, and I can't rate any
chocolates if I'm dead.
If there's a non-mass
produced chocolate you'd like me to rate,
let me know,
seek it out. Keep in mind, however, that I live in a
country with a pathetic premium chocolate market. I
may not get around to sampling it immediately after you tell
me about it -- or ever, if I can't get my hands on it.
The premium chocolate market appears to be growing by the
day, filled with many smaller producers who may only serve local
markets. Were I to be recommended a premium small
brand particular to one nation, there's a bat's chance in
hell I'll be able to find it in Thailand.
People bitch about the
world's bad economies, but I'm looking on the bright side.
There's been no better time in history to be a chocoholic.
More companies are producing better chocolate and with trade
freer than it's ever been in the past, it's easier than ever
to taste premium chocolates from all over the world at
back-aching, but not back-breaking, prices.
Doug Knell of Doug's Republic writes about chocolate at Doug's Chocolate Republic. You'll get the lowdown
on Hershey, Droste, Green & Black's, and Cadbury, to name just a few. The Aztec and Mayan people would be proud
of Doug Knell. He owes it all to an exhibit at the Field Museum in Chicago. What a museum. Now Doug will eat exclusively
premium chocolate. Give him Droste, Green & Black's, he will gorge it. But he will reject Hershey and Cadbury.
The Aztecs and Mayans would agree. Chocolate Republic rocks!