I was never a big fan of milk chocolate.
It was always too sweet, too bland, and never gave me that same chocolate rush of pleasure that a nice chunk of dark, bittersweet chocolate did. When I wrote my chocolate book, I heard from more than a few people, sheepishly, that they preferred milk chocolate. So I wanted to find out why a chocolate-lover would prefer milk chocolate over dark chocolate.
Even pastry chef Pierre Hermé in Paris prefers milk chocolate in most of his desserts, including his famous towering 70€ Chocolate Cherry Cake:
Note: My birthday is coming up in December…and I’ve never had one.
Just letting you know.
After much thought (yes, I think about these things all the time) I came to the conclusion that the problem is when you compare milk chocolate to dark chocolate. One is not necessarily better than another. They’re both two different things. I think of milk chocolate as a ‘confection’ made of chocolate with a bit of milk added. Eating milk chocolate isn’t like eating bittersweet chocolate just like eating red licorice (yum) should not be compared to black licorice (ick).
It’s similar to comparing a Vodka & Tonic to a shot of vodka.
Both are drinks that people drink, and both use vodka as a base, but they’re entirely different and don’t warrant comparison. Sometimes you want a Vodka & Tonic, and other times you want, or in some cases need, a neat, icy shot of vodka.
Remember the 80’s when people drank spritzers? (weren’t we cool when we ordered one…)
That infamous concoction of white wine topped off with sparkling club soda. It wasn’t a glass of white wine anymore, but something different, but it was made with white wine. And they weren’t bad, although I wonder what react I’d get here in Paris if I asked the waiter for a glass of white wine with some fizzy water added?
So chocolate-makers are trying to convert us dark chocolate lovers with new milk chocolate bars, which contain anywhere from 40%-65% cacao solids (the amount of cacao beans used to formulate the bar.) Milk chocolate must be at least 10% cacao solids to legally be called milk chocolate.
So in my quest to appreciate milk chocolate, one favorite is Domori’s Latte Sal. It’s a bar of cioccolato al latte made with 44% cacao solids and a clever touch of fleur de sel. That little pinch of fine sea salt from the Guérande takes the sweetness off the chocolate and adds a nice, curious counterpoint.
Domori’s Latte Sal milk chocolate bar is available from Chocosphere in the United States.