Taste Test

Milk Chocolate Hits Its Stride

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

In the growing obsession with darker and darker chocolate, where does the good, old-fashioned milk chocolate bar fit in? If you think of it only as a cloying, gritty kid's treat, you haven't noticed that some high-end companies are giving it the same attention they pay the bittersweet stuff. And for good reason: At its best, milk chocolate can be creamy, complex and deep.

We invited Washington cookbook author Lisa Yockelson and pastry chef David Guas, founder of Damgoodsweet Consulting Group, to join the Food section in tasting 18 bars. Our favorite nine prove that milk chocolate has indeed grown up. (Percentage of cocoa content is listed where provided by the maker.)

-- Leigh Lambert

TRADITIONAL

- Green & Black's Organic 34 percent, 3.5 ounces, $3.49

This met classic expectations. Chocolate and milk were well balanced, and tasters found a "rounded" flavor and a "dense creaminess."

- Amedei Toscano Brown 3.5 ounces, $10

Tasters noted the high milk content and "creamy, melting texture," calling it "sweet and milky" with caramel flavors and "strong nuttiness, but nice balance."

SOMETHING EXTRA

- Pralus Melissa 45 percent, 3.5 ounces, $9

The texture was "silk meets velvet," the flavor "dark, edging on intense" and "with a pungent coffee-like tinge." Tasters also detected wine, nut, honey and raisin flavors.

- Endangered Species Smooth Milk Chocolate 52 percent, 3 ounces, $4.19

"Complex and interesting" and "exotic," with coconut and almond flavors and spicy overtones.

- Divine 3.5 ounces, $2.39


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