Two Milk Chocolates

While I was teaching chocolate classes at Central Market stores across Texas last month, in my free time I would wander the aisles of the store. I don’t think I’d ever been in a place that had such a terrific selection of chocolates from around the world. It was a chocolate-lovers dream!
I was particularly intersted in these two, which I had never seen before and was eager to sample.


In the US, to be called ‘milk chocolate’, the chocolate must contain a minimum of 10% cacao solids.(Cacao solids are the ground paste made from pure cocoa beans.) In the European Union, the legal minimum hovers between 25-30%, although some companies get around it by calling their tablets ‘family chocolate’ or ‘dairy bar’, which is somewhat misleading since people often grab the bars thinking they’re getting milk chocolate when they’re getting something else.

So I’ve taken it upon me to re-name these higher-percentage bars of milk chocolate as ‘dark’ milk chocolate. Both bars shown contain about 35% cacao solids.


The first bar, the darker and thinner of the two, is Santander milk chocolate, made from Columbian beans. I found the chocolate to be a bit peanutty and malty. It was sharp and acidic but left little lingering aftertaste. It had a nice snap when sliced and had a faint butterscotch finish. I would imagine this would be good for chopping and substituting the pieces for chocolate chips in your favorite recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies. I’m going to use mine to make a batch of Dark Milk Chocolate Ice Cream.

The lighter of the two is Caro milk chocolate. This was far ‘milkier’ tasting with a very creamy taste and texture. It looks a bit whipped and its flavor was somewhat elusive and candy-like. I have to admit that this one left a rather funny taste behind and I wasn’t eager to eat more. Still, it was interesting to taste the two side-by-side.

I’m going to do the David Lebovitz Let-Them-Sit-In-My-Apartment-And-See-

Wish me luck.


  • Narelle
    May 5, 2006 8:37am

    Hahahaa…ah yes…wouldn’t take long to polish off chocolate in my place….speaking of which…what’s with these people I’ve worked with who eat a half of their chocolate bar and leave the other half in their office draw for another time when they have the urge. HOW CAN YOU POSSIBLY DO THIS???? My brain would be going mental knowing its in there…just wanting me.

  • Sarah
    May 5, 2006 9:33am

    Narelle, possibly the same people who think “suggested serving sizes = 19 chips” is realistic. First off, when eating chips, who sits there and actually counts how many chips they’re eating? Secondly, what if a chip is broken? Or there are larger chips and smaller ones in one bag? Are you supposed to pull out your scales to weigh the serving in terms of grams? Do you sit there and piece together the chips like a puzzle if they originally were broken? What if the bag doesn’t have 19 chips in it? What if it has more than 19 chips in it? What if it has 22 chips in the bag? Do you leave the other 3 chips at the bottom? Or do these remaining 3 chips count for crumbs? Do you stash the 3 chips away for another time? I know I couldn’t eat just 3 chips. I’d have to buy another bag and overlap the servings….but then the chips from the previous bag wouldn’t be as fresh, and you’d feel ripped off.
    It’s obscene….we live in such a twisted world. haha!

  • iamchanelle
    May 5, 2006 9:43am

    hahaha! i love the “copyrighted” candy outlast test – very clever. :0)

  • May 5, 2006 11:19am

    we have a whipped chocolate that tastes nice, but not more than that; so it looks like the Santander’s taste is better (and so it seems from the pics).
    please tell what the test results are.
    all the best.

  • The Great Plotnik
    May 5, 2006 1:20pm

    I work for AOL and recently did a chocolate taste-review in San Francisco. I never knew people existed who know the farmer’s name in Ivory Coast where 12.5% of the cocoa in their ganache comes from. Still, in the end, I realized a lot has to do with what you ate when you were a child. I loved the fancy stuff, but I still love See’s Scotch Kisses.

  • May 5, 2006 3:04pm

    Fascinating, David. So much of the focus on chocolate over the past several years has been exclusively on the dark variety. Milk chocolate, in comparison, seems to be treated with disdain by a large number of chocolate enthusiasts. As a result, there is very little thoughtful tasting and discussion of a product that really can be quite wonderful. So, kudos on your tasting.

    Also, at the market nearest to me, I have a milk chocolate choice: Callebaut or Valrhona. Do you have a preference between the two? Generally, what is your favourite brand of milk chocolate?


  • May 5, 2006 3:11pm

    Yumm, looks sooo good right now!


  • May 5, 2006 3:17pm

    Have you tried Vosges yet? I adore their milk chocolate Indian Naga curry bar, and the dark spicy Red Fire bar is also delightful.

  • Meryl
    May 5, 2006 4:26pm

    Speaking of Santander, have you tried their 70%? It’s fantastic.

  • May 6, 2006 4:33am

    Meryl: No, I haven’t tried the Santander dark. We can mostly get French or Swiss chocolates here in France, so I stock up when I go stateside. Will look for that next time.

    Kung Foodie: I love the Vosges bars! I profiled Katrina, and her company, in the my chocolate book. She rocks.

    Rob: I did have to overcome an aversion to milk chocolate since I’m a dark chocolate person, but I find these high-percentage milk chocolates interesting. But in the end, I have gone to the dark side (If you search my archives I’ve written more extensively about milk chocolate at the site.)

    Great Plotnick: I love See’s Almond Buttercrunch Toffee and those amazing molasses chips. I tried to get a factory tour once so I could write about them bu the place was sealed up like Fort Knox (althought they were very nice about it…something about insurance in case I fell in a vat of chocolate or something.)

    Eyal: At this point, both chocolates have remain untouched. I bought a big sack of financiers yesterday and have been working my way through them instead.

  • May 6, 2006 11:33am

    If they sit too long, then I am going to come over and eat them when you aren’t looking.

  • May 6, 2006 2:50pm

    Good luck dear David! ;o)

  • May 6, 2006 11:43pm

    I agree that the best test of food is how long it can survive in your kitchen. I may SAY something is good, but the behavior has to match. I’ve acutally learned a lot about myself in this way. I consciously thought that Fairway’s hazelnut gelato was acceptable, but it sat in my freezer forever!

  • May 6, 2006 11:57pm

    How will you last? Have you? Are they taunting you? Are they calling to you? Aren’t you afraid of them melting? Aren’t you afraid of them feeling lonely?

    Oh David, spare us all the pain — eat the chocolate!

  • Tanvi
    May 8, 2006 10:23pm

    If I had financiers, I would probably eat them first, too :-)

  • May 9, 2006 12:02pm

    May 9th: Both chocolates still untouched…

  • May 19, 2006 5:32am

    i buy my chocolate from central market. i was surprised to find their prices reasonable for the amounts i require. i used El Rey’s 70% Gran Saman tonight for some truffles. my sweet tooth is angry right now.

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