Dark or bittersweet chocolate recommendation please.
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Delmar O'Donnell
(Bolster)

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Dark or bittersweet chocolate recommendation please. on 10/20/2013 19:59:11 MDT Print View

Can someone recommend me a dark/bittersweet chocolate that is less "melt prone" and thus, more pack worthy? Or are all chocolates about the same, melt wise? Being ignorant on the subject, I have been carrying dark chocolate M&Ms. The M&M chocolate is not of high quality, and too sweet for my taste, but makes less of a gooey mess than other attempts I've made. Alternatives I'm overlooking? Thanks.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Dark or bittersweet chocolate recommendation please. on 10/20/2013 20:39:40 MDT Print View

Do you have a down garment, quilt or sleeping bag in your pack?

Put the chocolate in the original packaging, into a Ziploc.

Wrap it with your down piece.

Won't melt.

Works in deserts too.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Dark or bittersweet chocolate recommendation please. on 10/20/2013 20:48:29 MDT Print View

Whatever happened to the Tropical Hershey Bar that we had 25 years ago? It would not melt on a bet.

Chocolate M&Ms are full of sugar and milk. That's OK if that is the way that you like it, but dark chocolate is healthier. Dark semi-sweet chocolate is good for me, but that is a baking chocolate. Bitter chocolate has more chocolate flavor, but it is not sweet at all.

Are you just trying to eat it, or are you trying to bake with it?

--B.G.--

Edited by --B.G.-- on 10/22/2013 00:01:24 MDT.

Delmar O'Donnell
(Bolster)

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
eat it. on 10/20/2013 21:11:16 MDT Print View

I don't really enjoy the dark M&Ms either. Looking for an upgrade.

To answer the question: simply trying to eat it. No baking.

A no-melt or low-melt dark or bittersweet would be ideal.

Edited by Bolster on 10/20/2013 21:12:17 MDT.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: eat it. on 10/20/2013 21:21:25 MDT Print View

A google search turned up some November, 2012 blurbs on Cadbury developing a high temperature chocolate for the tropics, but I couldn't find anything recent.

Unless it's loaded with paraffin, real chocolate melts at somewhere around 87° +/-.
Or at least until the Cadbury shows up...

There are wax covered versions, but then you still have to chill it in a stream, and then deal with the wax.

Edited by greg23 on 10/20/2013 21:22:55 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: eat it. on 10/20/2013 21:41:34 MDT Print View

If you shop around the Trader Joe's stores, they sell chocolate, dark chocolate, and all sorts of chocolate in very large bars. You might sample those to see if one fits your trail requirements.

--B.G.--

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
TJ's on 10/20/2013 22:35:05 MDT Print View

+1 on Trader Joe's. Their "Pound Plus" (17.6 ounce = 500 grams) Belgian chocolate bars are good quality but reasonably priced. Also, being so big and thick, they stand up to more physical abuse. Having toted them a lot of places, the dark chocolate bars don't melt nearly as easily as a Hershey's milk chocolate. And they taste a lot better.

Nutrition Facts from the "Dark Chocolate" package (although we live 1400 miles from the nearest TJ's, we keep them in stock in our pantry):

Serving: 3 squares = 38 grams = 1.3 ounces. Servings per package: 13+; calories: 220, fat calories: 110. Minimum 54% cocoa solids.

So 1.1 pounds gives you 2900 calories. That's pretty dense.

They also have milk chocolate (not my preference), dark chocolate with almonds (pretty good) and, I think, a bitter-sweet..

Also, +1 on Nate's ideas about insulating your foods in your sleeping bag. This works amazing well and I use that trick to transport frozen salmon on 12-hour journeys without an ice chest in addition to keeping cheeses and chocolate cool on a backpacking trip. If you're at altitude with big diurnal temperature swings, you can cool the food down again each night (shade it from the morning sun) and be good for another day. Since your first night's meal is only carried for one day, it can be something like homemade caribou or bear stew, frozen solid. That, in the middle of your sleeping bag can in turn keep lots of other "luxury" (but highly caloric) things cool for early in your trip. As discussed in other threads, any cured meat (salami, hot dogs, bacon) is fine for days near room temperature. Roast beef, turkey breast, fried chicken, etc, keep for a few days if cool. Fully refrigerating them isn't necessary.

edited to add: Delmar is in the "Inland Empire" which close to TJs started. You can't swing a NeoAir without hitting a Trader Joe's. Just follow all the Priuses.

Edited by DavidinKenai on 10/20/2013 22:38:22 MDT.

Delmar O'Donnell
(Bolster)

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Thanks on 10/21/2013 00:03:44 MDT Print View

You're right...what I thought was a Prius dealership in town, upon closer inspection, is in fact a Trader Joe's. I'll take my reusable hemp shopping bag, electric scooter on down to TJs, wade through the throngs of soccer moms and fitness gurus, and find these pound plus bars of sweet, dark calories that you mention. Thanks for the recommendation.

You guys have some serious stones to wrap a chocolate bar inside your sleeping bag. That takes more faith than I can muster in my packing abilities. I have terrible premonitions of melted chocolate all over my RevX quilt, and I can't get it out of my head. Yes, I ordered my quilt with a brown interior, but it wasn't camouflaging chocolate I had in mind.

Edited by Bolster on 10/21/2013 00:09:14 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Thanks on 10/21/2013 00:15:42 MDT Print View

"Trader Joe's"

Delmar, in that store, the chocolate is one aisle over from the organic okra and two aisles over from the free-range tofu.

--B.G.--

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Re: Re: Dark or bittersweet chocolate recommendation please. on 10/21/2013 05:56:28 MDT Print View

"Whatever happened to the Tropical Hersey Bar that we had 25 years ago? It would not melt on a bet."

Let me see if I can find out. I have "inside sources"

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Dark or bittersweet chocolate recommendation please. on 10/21/2013 07:01:35 MDT Print View

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=3557

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
Dark Chocolate on 10/21/2013 11:03:13 MDT Print View

93

Hot mug of whiskey sold separately

Valerie E
(Wildtowner) - M

Locale: Grand Canyon State
Chocolate and Melt-ability on 10/21/2013 12:36:55 MDT Print View

Actually, there are radical differences between types of dark/semi-sweet chocolate. This has to do with ratios of cacao...you will see a "percentage" of cocoa listed on some dark chocolate (Trader Joe's has several brands with 70% or higher, as does Lindt, Ghirardelli, etc.).

The higher the percentage of cocoa, the less the percentage of cocoa fat, and therefore, the less "melty" the chocolate will be. [Personally, I don't care much for this more brittle/grainy texture, because for me, chocolate all about the slow melting in one's mouth. But MANY people adore the higher percentage choc.s, and I admit that they usually have a nice, less sweet, flavor balance.]

So a 70% or even an 80% chocolate might be just what you're looking for...

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Dark Chocolate on 10/21/2013 12:43:34 MDT Print View

I would suggest Ike's approach or the TJ's option. From Wikipedia concerning the original mil-spec, high-temp chocolate bar (the 1980's Tropical Choolate we sold in BPing stores wasn't as bad):

"Colonel Logan had specified that the D ration taste only a bit better than "a boiled potato." This last requirement was imposed to keep soldiers from snacking on their emergency rations in non-emergency situations. As a result, the D ration was almost universally detested for its bitter taste by U.S. troops, and was often discarded instead of consumed when issued. Troops called the D ration "Hitler's Secret Weapon" for its effect on soldiers' intestinal tracts. It could not be eaten at all by soldiers with poor dentition, and even those with good dental work often found it necessary to first shave slices off the bar with a knife before consuming."

This reminds me of one of favorite emergency ration suggestions. Obviously, in a bush plane in Alaska, you should have emergency supplies. It's a state law. Really. And until 9-11, you were REQUIRED to have a gun on a small plane. Anyway, an author on surviving a forced landing pointed out that if you keep a few Snickers bars in your plane, you'll eat them as a snack and not have them when you really need them. He suggested dog biscuits. They last forever, have no water weight, no special storage requirements and are made with mostly food-grade stuff. Cheap, too. And you won't eat them until you really need to.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Dark Chocolate on 10/21/2013 12:48:49 MDT Print View

If you look at "regular" chocolate, first ingredient is sugar. Maybe that's okay for quick energy but I like dark better. But higher cocoa butter would be good.


I think you can make chocolate less melty by tempering it. Heat it to some temperature then quickly cool it or something. Maybe someone knows how to do this.

Valerie E
(Wildtowner) - M

Locale: Grand Canyon State
Re: Dark Chocolate on 10/21/2013 12:54:58 MDT Print View

Actually Jerry, you need lower, not higher, cocoa butter -- cocoa butter is the "melty" part of chocolate. You need higher cocoa (solids).

Tempering chocolate will not affect its melting point. Tempering is done to create a more attractive shine on chocolate, and to prevent "bloom" (that unappealing white stuff that appears on chocolate when it's been exposed to the wrong temperatures).

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Dark or bittersweet chocolate recommendation on 10/21/2013 14:01:33 MDT Print View

Green & Black's!!!

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Dark or bittersweet chocolate recommendation on 10/21/2013 14:15:31 MDT Print View

The OP asks -
"Can someone recommend me a dark/bittersweet chocolate that is less "melt prone..."

Is there something unique about Green & Blacks?

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Dark or bittersweet chocolate recommendation please. on 10/21/2013 15:06:12 MDT Print View

Nick had it right= ZipLok and insulate, he hikes in the desert!

Milk chocolate melts at +/- 84*

The better Dark Chocolates melts +/- 93*

So it would be best to go with the better Darks.

I have taste tested about every brand/type of 70% to 99% on the market in the Seattle area for taste and found that I prefer 78% to 85%. Any lower and it is too sweet and waxy; and higher gets a little bitter. I also found that the most expensive brands are not always the best tasting, in fact the two on the top of my list are Trader Joe's Chocolate Lover's 85% (has a nice fruity bouquet) at $1.49 and Safeway Select 78% (just the right amount of sugar) at $2.69. These both taste best to me, better even than the $8 SCHARFFEN BERGER. Yes I have bought every bar at PCC, Whole Foods, World Market, QFC, Trader Joes, Freddy's, Safeway, Amazon and the specialty shops. I was trying to find the very best tasting bar.

Maybe the Ghirardelli bars might work for you; they use a Soy Lecithin as an emulsifier (they taste waxy, kind of like the wax lips we ate as kids- I hated them even as a kid) and with the emulsifier it might not melt as easy; kind of like a McDonalds shake on a warm day, still thick even when warm.
I personally would take my chances with a better tasting option though.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Dark Chocolate on 10/21/2013 15:42:55 MDT Print View

Thanks Valerie, I've wondered about tempering...

You must know something about making deserts : )