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You like chocolate? Doug does. Doug's Republic has its own chocolate subsection known as the Chocolate Republic. Crap like Cadbury and delicacies like Green & Black's find their way onto Doug's Chocolate Republic. We classify by cocoa solid content, ranking, and origin. Average and premium are both covered.

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Republic Ratings Explained



Doug's Chocolate Republic

Picking the losers from the delicious winners

Every Chocolate Republic review follows a similar format. Like any functioning republic, you need rules.  Underneath the name of the bar are eleven delicious pieces of information, providing you with a snapshot review of this piece of chocolate:

1.  Name of the bar. 

2.  The manufacturer's country of origin.  Most of the time the chocolate bar is manufactured in the same country as the chocolate company's headquarters, but this is not always the case.  For example, Green & Black's bars are manufactured in Italy, although the company is from the United Kingdom, now owned by Cadbury. (Ignore the fact that American Kraft bought Cadbury.  Cadbury's HQ is still in Britain).   For these cases, we define the bar's 'nationality' as being the same as the company's.  In other cases, like Cadbury and Nestle, where the company is a multinational corporation manufacturing in many countries and in which the chocolate may taste different depending on the locale, this field is set to the manufacturing country.  A Cadbury bar made in Malaysia would be defined as Malaysian, a Nestle bar made in Australia as Australian. 

Not everyone knows which flag corresponds to which country.   Place your mouse cursor over the flag and the name of the country will appear.

3.  Cocoa percentage.   Cocoa solids are the low fat component of chocolate liquor which give the chocolate its color and flavor.  On some food labels, chocolate liquor is referred to as cacao mass or cocoa mass. The cocoa percentage you see listed on many of the more upmarket bars is equal to the cacao mass plus any added cocoa butter.  Milk chocolate typically has a cocoa percentage between 20-40%, bittersweet around 60%.  Extreme dark chocolates, very bitter in taste, exceed 70%.  Manufacturers play around with the words and can call one of their bars "dark" when it contains only a cocoa percentage of 45%, such as Hershey's Special Dark.   The Republic refrains from categorizing bars as milk, dark, bittersweet, semisweet, and lets the cocoa percentage content do all the talking.  Sometimes, the Republic will need to estimate this figure, as the lower-end chocolates (which I will thankfully rarely review) tend to leave the cocoa solid content off their labels.

White chocolate contains no cocoa mass.  That's why it's color is not brown.   It contains cocoa butter and milk solids.  For white chocolate bars, the cocoa percentage figure comes completely from the cocoa butter present.  In the U.S., a white chocolate bar must have a minimum of 20% cocoa butter and 14% milk solids.  Soy milk doesn't qualify. 

4.  Size, in grams.   We were going to use ounces, but most Republics in the world today are on the metric system.  We followed suit.

5/6.  Rating.  The rating is shown both as a thumb icon and as a number.   The worst ranking is 0, with the thumb pointing completely down.  The best ranking is a 10, with the thumb pointing straight up.  An average ranking of 5 will be displayed with the thumb perfectly horizontal.  A 1 to 10 scale, though more in vogue, would be somewhat misleading, because 5, considered by most people to be average, would actually be below average.  On a 1 to 10 scale, 5.5 is the average. 

Doug's Chocolate Republic keeps the ratings simple.  We don't have individual ratings for texture, smoothness, richness, and flavor which we then average together to give a final ranking.  What's the point?  Let's say a bar tested a 10 for smoothness, 10 for richness, 8 for texture, but 2 for overall flavor.   Adding those all together and averaging them yields a 7.5, not bad at all.   We don't want to mislead.  A bar could be magnificently smooth but taste terrible.   Readers want to know if a bar is worth tasting or not.  ONE NUMBER is all they need to know.  During a beer tasting, I once broke down individual characteristics and had raters mark each one for carbonation, flavor, and mouthfeel.   Everyone found it too complicated, including myself.   Keeping it simple, stupid, is the name of the game at this Republic.

One factor I could not ignore in the rating is the price at which this chocolate sells for in the open market.  My rating is designed to tell you whether you should invest in a bar, and that decision will be based on various taste characteristics and the price.   Pretend you are comparing two bars.  Bar A is magnificent, some of best chocolate you have ever sampled, but costs USD 1.50 per gram or USD 150 for a 100 gram bar, an absurd price for most.   Bar B is merely pretty darned good but costs just USD 0.05 per gram.  Overall, Bar B is the bar you're going to reach for at the shops because it better matches the fair market price you'd pay for premium chocolate bars.  For Bar A to earn your expenditure, it would have to somehow fairly justify its ultra high price, with rare cocoas and other ingredients, and deliver a taste so seldom delivered by other brands.  If it can't justify its cost, its rating will suffer.  Let's not be idealistic, folks.  Price IS part of the experience.

Ratings are apples-for-apples comparisons. When deciding which car to buy, you don't compare a Mercedes to an Airbus plane. You compare the Mercedes to a Lexus.  A white chocolate bar with an 8 rating is better, according to me, than a white chocolate bar with a rating of 6.   But I may prefer a dark chocolate 7 to a white chocolate 8.   I'm sure I would.  White chocolate is not my preference.  To remove that bias from the equation, like is compared to like. 

7.  Pithy excerpt from the longer review.  For those of you too busy to read, this excerpt will give you a good idea what Doug thinks of the bar.

8.  The average price per gram of the bar reviewed, in American dollars.  The chocoholic soon comes to terms that manufacturers intentionally offer their bars in different sizes from the competition to keep you, the consumer, confused which bars are the better deals.  By displaying the average price per gram, you get a real sense of how the price of this bar really compares to others. 

We acknowledge that listing the average price per gram in American currency -- or in any one currency -- is fraught with problems.  Exchange rates constantly vary.  The rate we use is the average rate for the previous year.  Another issue with price is which price do you use?  The 100 gram Lindt bars I pick up at my premium market here in Thailand cost slightly more than USD 3.  Do we use that price or do we use the average price a 100 gram Lindt bar would fetch in its native Switzerland or, considering we're pricing everything in U.S. dollars, the average price the bar would sell for in the United States?  Many of the bars reviewed at the Chocolate Republic aren't commercially available in the United States, so there would be no actual average price in American dollars to use. 


This figure is just a general gauge to give you some basic idea whether Bar A is more or less expensive than Bar B.  Where you reside, in your local currency, a bar we list as relatively expensive may be priced at a more moderate level.  Try not to nitpick here or we will ban you from further re-entry to all regions of the Republic!  Knowing the price is the least accurate across multiple borders, we have not made our database sortable by price.

9..  A graphic of the bar being reviewed.  A picture is worth between three hundred to one-thousand and twenty words or between 240 to 800 calories.  A good-looking or bad-looking picture will influence your decision to purchase and digest that number of calories.

10.  Review date.   The date the review was written and posted to the Doug's Chocolate Republic servers.

11.  Quick reverse link.    Clicking here takes you back to the previous page you were visiting, the same as selecting the back arrow on your browser. 



 

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Insights From A Travel Mastermind

  Doug takes chocolate at Doug's Republic very seriously. If he didn't, what condition would his chocolate republic be in? He'll rank 'em all, be it crap like Cadbury or delicious like Green & Black's, and classify by cocoa solid, ranking, and country of origin. We find the great and the average.