For thirty years I was a die-hard milk chocolate fanatic. I didn’t hurt that my grocery store was next to a movie theater and always sold cheap, sugary chocolate bars for a quarter. I didn’t understand why those la-de-dah dark chocolate freaks wanted to eat something so bitter.
Then I met a dark chocolate apostle who changed my life. Not only was he aghast by how much sugar I consumed, but he was equally worried about the percentage of milk chocolate I was consuming. He told me that anyone who loved dessert as much as I did really needed to try dark chocolate. It was just a fluke or sign of my culinary adolescence that I liked milk chocolate.
However, not being a fool, he put his money where his mouth was and purchased a different dark chocolate bar for us to share each week. He started me off easy with delights like Lindt Dark Chocolate truffles. The smooth bitterness of its liquid fudge dripped through my brain and clogged the milk-chocolate-loving sensors. We sampled Baci balls — hazelnut was a rare milk chocolate flavor and I found myself more intrigued by the strange nut than the bitter cocoa. He even appealed to my literary side with Chocolove poems.
Somehow between all the new flavors, discussion of what we were eating and his sincere offer to expand my chocolate mind, I realized I had never given dark chocolate an honest try. My last real attempt was a Hereshy’s Mini Special Dark when I was 8 (and loved to suck sugar cubes). There was a whole world of desserts, tastes and textures that I knew nothing about. It was like looking down at an industrious swarm of ants and seeing a new, exciting hive of activity you had never noticed before.
Ever since that fall, I have been hooked. I have attempted different cocoa percentages and learned many lessons the hard way (like 99% cocoa is inedible bitter)… and my life has been richer for it… not because dark is better than milk, but because you should always question everything you do. You never know when that curiosity will lead you to a great discovery, like it lead me to dark chocolate.