Dark chocolate

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I'm not sure what I liked better about the movie Chocolat: Johnny Depp or the trays of dark confections that slowly filled Juliette Binoche's magical candy shop. What does it say about you when a doe-eyed hunk and chocolate truffles have the same sex appeal? It says you're a woman. In fact, Italian researchers have found that women who eat chocolate regularly have higher levels of sexual desire than women who don't indulge. There has been no research that I know of confirming a similar association with Johnny Depp.

Add the hots to the list of health benefits that make chocolate the world's most acceptable addiction. Dark chocolate is great for your cardiovascular health: One of the latest studies found that eating 3.5 ounces a day lowered blood pressure in people with hypertension. So it's a bonus that it does your romantic heart good.

On the next two pages are nine of the best-tasting dark chocolates we could find, just in time for Valentine's Day. Poor us -- to come up with the winners, we had to nibble our way through 45 samples from around the world, judging them on taste, richness, "mouth feel," and flavor combos. When possible, we've noted the source of the cocoa and whether a company buys from a market that supports fair prices for farmers, and fair wages and good working conditions for workers. We've also listed the percentage of cocoa in seven of these confections; the higher the number, the darker -- and healthier -- the chocolate.

One last word: Given the link between sex and chocolate, we would ask you to please eat responsibly.
9 confections that may be better than sex

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By Denise Foley

Reporting By: Tanya Beers

we test it: dark chocolate

Legend for Chart:

A - dark chocolate
B - DESCRIPTION
C - COMMENTS
D - NUTRITIONAL LOWDOWN
E - COST AND WHERE TO BUY

A: Endangered Species Chocolate Company Dark Chocolate with Deep
Forest Mint
B: 70% cocoa; 10% of profits are donated to protecting endangered
animals
C: "This one turned me into a dark chocolate lover," said one tester.
Staffers loved the balance of mint and cocoa and the charitable
tie-in.
D: Serving size: 1/2 bar(1.5 oz); 250 cal. 2 g pro, 23 g carb, 16 g
fat, 10 g sat fat, 0 mg chol, 3 g fiber, 50 mg sodium, 17 g sugar
E: $2.75 perbar; natural food stores; www.chocolatebar.com

A: Dove Rich Dark Chocolate
B: Made with Cocoapro (specially processed cocoa designed to preserve
high levels of heart healthy flavonoids); individually wrapped
squares
C: "Like velvet," remarked a taster. Dove was a unanimous fave among
editors.
D: Servingsize: 5 pieces (1.4 oz); 210 cal, 2 g pro, 24gcarb, 13 g fat,
8g sat fat, 5 mg chol, 3 g fiber, 0 mg sodium, 19 g sugar
E: $3 per bag; grocery stores (United States only)

A: Hershey's Extra Dark Pure Dark Chocolate with Cranberries,
Blueberries & Almonds
B: 60% cocoa with bits of antioxidant-rich berries and nuts
C: "I love a little crunch with my chocolate," said one nut-loving
taster.
D: Servingsize: 3 blocks(1.3 oz); 200 cal, 3 g pro, 20 g carb,12 g fat,
7 g sat fat, <5 mg chol, 4g fiber, 0 mg sodium, 14 g sugar
E: $3 per bar; grocery stores nationwide

A: Small World Select Origin Dark Chocolate Squares by Lake Champlain
Chocolates
B: 54 to 75% cocoa; 24 individually wrapped squares come from four
countries -- Sao Thome, Grenada, Tanzania, and Ivory Coast
C: "Like taking a chocolate safari," said one chocoholic. Even the bar
with the highest cocoa content was smooth and sweet, not bitter.
D: Servingsize: 5 pieces(1.4oz); 210 cal, 3 g pro, 16 g carb,16 g fat,
10 g sat fat, 0 mg chol, 4 g fiber, 20 mg sodium, 13 g sugar
E: $15 a box; Whole Foods; www.lakechamplainchocolates.com (United
States only)

A: Newman's Own Organics Sweet Dark Espresso Chocolate
B: Cocoa content not available; 99.9% organic; 100% of Paul Newman's
after-tax royalties go to education and charitable causes
C: "So creamy and smooth. Tastes like a mocha coffee in bar form,"
raved a fan.
D: Serving size: 1 bar (1.2 oz); 169 cal, 2g pro, 17 g carb,12 g fat,
7 g sat fat, 0mg chol,2 g fiber, 2 mg sodium, 14 g sugar
E: $1 per bar; grocery and natural food stores;
www.newmansownorganics.com

A: Ithaca Fine Chocolates Art Bar Exquisite Swiss Dark Chocolate with
Coconut
B: Minimum 58% cocoa with coconut; certified organic Swiss chocolate;
Fair Trade certified; 10% of profits go to art education programs
C: "Like a chocolate-dipped macaroon," one muncher said. Coconut
shavings added great texture,
D: Serving size: about 1/3 bar (1.4 oz);200 cal, 2 g pro, 21 g carb,
15 g fat, 10 g sat fat, 0 mg chol, 6 g fiber, 0 mg sodium,
13 g sugar
E: $3 per bar; www.ithacafinechocolates.com

A: Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker 70% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Bar
B: 70% cocoa
C: Staffers tested a variety of bars from this brand, but the
bittersweet was just right for its smooth, melt-in-your-mouth
flavor.
D: Serving size: 1/2 bar (1.5 oz); 250 cal, 3 g pro, 20 g carb,
18 g fat, 11 g sat fat, 0 mg chol, <1 g fiber, 0 mg sodium,
13 g sugar
E: $4,25 per bar; www.scharffenberger.com (United States only)

A: Dagoba Roseberry Dark Chocolate Bar
B: 59% cocoa blended with dried raspberries and bits of rose hips; 100%
organic; supports fair trade
C: "Loved the tart, sweet bits of raspberry blended into a decadent
dark chocolate," commented a choco-maniac.
D: Serving size: 1/2 bar (1 oz); 157 cal,1 g pro, 17 g carb, 9 g fat,
6 g sat fat, 0 mg chol, 3 g fiber, 0 mg sodium, 12 g sugar
E: $2.89 perbar; natural food stores; www.dagobachocolates.com

A: Ver&ebar; Chocolate Bar
B: 75% cocoa; cocoa beans from Ecuador; supports fair trade
C: Leans toward the bitter side, but serious cocoa fiends savored the
intensity (a little goes a long way).
D: Serving size: 1 small box (1 oz); 70 cal, 1 g pro, 20 g carb,
5 g fat, 3.5 sat fat; 0 mg chol; 2 g fiber; 0 mg sodium; 2 g sugar
E: $3 (small box), $6 (large); www.veregoods.com

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Correction

In "We Test It: Dark Chocolate" (February), the 1-ounce serving size and 20 g carb provided in the Nutritional Lowdown for the Ver? chocolate bar is incorrect. The correct serving size is 0.5 ounces, and the number of carbs is 7 g. We apologize for any inconvenience this might have caused.

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