Three noted Bay Area chocolatiers  assess looks, flavors and textures of leading brands.

ED MURRIETA

“Everyone loves chocolate and it makes people smile,” said Gary Guittard, CEO of the 150-year-old Bay Area chocolate company that bears his family’s name. “What could be better than that?”

Cannabis connoisseurs might respond, “Cannabis,” while missing the rhetorical futility of answering Guittard’s question.

From Montezuma to your grandma, chocolate tops many peoples’ list of life’s pleasures.  What could be better than chocolate? Better chocolate.

With that in mind, we asked Guittard and other San Francisco Bay Area chocolate experts — chocolate company executive John Scharffenberger; cookbook authors and teachers Alice Medrich, and Elaine Corn; and food writers Amy Sherman, and Marcia Gagliotti — to eyeball and taste-test the chocolate contained in leading brands on sale in California cannabis stores.

Never mind effects.  Experts focused solely on brands’ chocolate quality, assessing cannabis bars on appearance, flavors and mouthfeel, caring more about cacao content than THC strength while minding the marriage of beans and terpenes in upmarket products that retail for double-digit prices.

Experts sampled only dark chocolate bars without any fruit, nut, candy or spice additives. Milk chocolate and white chocolate products were not considered.

Experts focused on visual clues that reveal how products are manufactured, handled and stored; flavors that highlight cacao origins, roasting methods and cannabis infusion; and mouthfeel from first bite to final finish.

Cannabis Chocolates Taste-Tested     

The Chocolate Experts     

How the Experts Taste-Tested

Cannabis Chocolates Taste-Tested



KIVA
Cacao Percent.
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DEFONCE
Cacao Percent.
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SATORI
Cacao Percent.
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DAYDREAMERS
Cacao Percent.
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GREEN CACAO
Cacao Percent.
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CANNABIS 4 CAUSE
Cacao Percent.
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Expert Chocolate Tasters

Gary Guittard
BIO: President and CEO of Guittard Chocolate Company of Burlingame. He’s a fourth-generation member of a family that has been making chocolate in America since 1868.
PRO VIEW: “Quote from Gary Guittard in re cannabis chocolate.”
Alice Medrich
BIO: A cookbook author, pastry chef,and teacher, the Berkeley resident is one of the country’s foremost experts on chocolate.
PRO VIEW: “Quote from in re cannabis chocolate.” 

 

John Scharffenberger 
BIO:
Co-Founded Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker Inc. in 1996 and serves as its Principal and President.
PRO VIEW: “Quote from in re cannabis chocolate.” 

 

How Experts Tasted Chocolate

Tasting chocolate is more than tasting sweetness. We taste texture and aroma, too.The CEO of one of America’s oldest candy companies (he did not participate in this taste test) once told me, “We taste on our palates, and we taste in our brains. We taste olfactory; we’re tasting aromatics, those things that lift up. Additionally, we’re tasting mouthfeel on our palate, sometimes on the roof of our mouth. We are tasting for fineness. We are tasting for viscosity.”Here’s how our panel of Bay Area chocolate experts approached tasting cannabis chocolate bars.

  • Bite.  Take small bites. There’s a lot of chocolate to taste, not to mention THC contained in all the chocolate tested.
  • Release.  Chew but don’t swallow Hold chocolate in your mouth.  Release the flavors within the chocolate
  • Breathe. Breathe in through your nose to circulate aromas and flavors.
  • Melt.  Feel the chocolate on the sides of the tongue, on the roof of the mouth.
  • Swallow. Line TK line TK line TK
  • Cleanse.  Sips of hot water will cleanse your palate. Unsalted crackers and white bread also clean away oils.
  • Avoid. No garlic, onion, mint or coffee. All interfere with chocolate flavors.