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.
Every Chocolate Republic
review follows a similar format. Like any functioning
republic, you need rules. Underneath the name of the bar
delicious pieces of information, providing you with a
snapshot review of this piece of chocolate:
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
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
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
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
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.
Review date. The date the review was
written and posted to the Doug's Chocolate Republic servers.
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.
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.