What Makes a Great Sugar Free Dark Chocolate?

Dark chocolate that is sugar free is the perfect snack when craving sweets! High quality sugar free dark chocolate should lead with a high dark chocolate intensity in both the aroma and flavor. Roasted notes, dried fruit, vanilla, cocoa and earthy/woody notes may also be present to add to the dark chocolatecharacter. If dairy notes are present, they should remain minimal. The texture of the dark chocolate should be rich and smooth with minimal chalkiness. It should have an appropriately hard bite, someastringency and an appropriately long dissolve to be true to dark chocolate texture. The taste profile should lead with sweet and be supported by a lower level of bitter. Salt and sour may also be present at very low levels. The chocolates should appear to have clean edges and very minimal shavings.

Tasting terms

  • aroma

    The smell that emanates from food. Along with appearance, texture, flavor and taste, aroma is one of the five dimensions used to evaluate a product. Example: Brownies should have an aroma that includes chocolate as well as egg, toasty and sweet notes.

  • flavor

    A combination of a food's basic taste and its accompanying aroma, flavor is the distinctive taste of a food or ingredient while it is in the mouth. Along with aroma, appearance, texture and taste, flavor is one of the five dimensions considered by ChefsBest Master Tasters. Example: Chocolate chip cookies should have a moderate chocolate flavor accompanied by a slightly lower level of complex dough flavor that includes egg, flour, vanilla and brown sugar notes.

  • character

    The combined aromas and flavors of a particular food or ingredient. The character of a food is considered simple when it is one-dimensional, but it is complex when it has many discernible ingredients. Example: Mole sauce has several ingredients that blend to give the sauce a complex character. Granulated sugar has a very simple character.

  • texture

    A dimension used to organize attributes like mouthfeel, graininess and initial bite, it is one of the five dimensions used by ChefsBest Master Tasters to evaluate food. Example: Glazed popcorn will have a crunch texture. The texture of milk chocolate should be creamy and smooth.

  • astringency

    The tendency of some foods to cause the mouth to pucker; often associated with the presence of tannins or acidity. Example: Red wine, tea, grapefruit juice and pickles can be astringent.

  • taste profile

    The expected levels of each basic taste in any given food; defines the overall taste balance. Example: The taste profile of baking chocolate is led by bitterness that is balanced by a low amount of sweetness.

  • sweet

    One of the basic tastes; often considered pleasing while exhibiting characteristics of sugar. Example: Honey, ripe fruits and syrup all have a pronounced sweet component.

  • bitter

    One of the basic tastes; often considered harsh and unpleasant in abundance, but a key basic taste for foods like coffee and dark chocolate. Example: Unripened fruit, aspirin and coffee all have bitter components.

  • sour

    One of the basic tastes; often considered sharp, tart and acidic. Example: Lemon juice, vinegar and fermented foods often have a strong sour component.

  • salt

    One of the basic tastes; tasting of or containing salt. Example: Potato chips, sea water and cured meats all have a strong salt component.