Reading labels will make you rethink what you eat – including chocolate 6

Oh, oh, I’ve been reading labels again. 

Having read several places that dark chocolate in small amounts is good for our health because of the antioxidants it contains, I decided to get acquainted with chocolate bars in my quest to be a healthy eater.  Like I do for all purchased foods now, I read the label.

Hershey’s Special Dark
Ingredients: sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, cocoa processed with alkali, milk fat, lactose (milk)l; soy lecithin, PGPR* (what the heck is that?), emulsifier; vanillin, artificial favor; milk.

Why does artificial flavor have to be added?
It would seem to me that if you have sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter and milk – that would be flavor enough for a chocolate bar to taste delectable.

I  moved on to another bar from another maker.

Dove Silky Smooth Dark Chocolate
Ingredients:  semisweet chocolate (sugar, chocolate, chocolate processed with alkali, cocoa butter, milkfat) soy lecithin, natural and artificial flavors.

Again – why the artificial flavors?  And why the natural flavor?  Is there a concoction labeled natural flavor that manufacturers add to foods?

It would seem that natural flavor is what would occur, well, naturally, when one puts ingredients together.  I moved on again.

Lindt Excellence 70% Cocoa Bar – Intense Dark**
Ingredients:  chocolate, sugar, coca butter, natural bourbon vanilla bean.

Looks like I found a winner!

Wait a minute.  Hmmm, this looks interesting:
Lindt Excellence Chili Bar –  Dark.
  Sugar, chocolate, coca butter, milkfat, soya lecithin (emulsifier), chili extract, artificial flavor.

That artificial flavor again.

Perhaps I should only consume artisanal chocolates made locally as I transition from being a person who only liked milk chocolate.  Solid milk chocolate.  I’ve put the kibosh on milk chocolate because it doesn’t have the nutritional benefit of dark chocolate.  Now it seems I’ll have to choose dark chocolate very carefully because they are not all created equally.

I do find the taste of dark chocolate so intense that a square or two is enough to satisfy the urge for something sweet and dark.

Going on line to look for local purveyors of chocolate, I found out about Taza, created in Somerville, Massachusetts with cocoa beans from the Dominican Republic:

Taza 70% Stone Ground Dark Chocolate Bar**
Ingredients: 70% Dark Chocolate (Organic cacao beans, organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter, organic vanilla bean).

This sounds like it’ll be deliciously good to ya and for ya.  Can’t wait to taste it.

PGPR is Polyglycerol polyricinoleate (that can’t be good for ya!)
**(Turns out to get the benefits of chocolate a bar must contain 70% or more cocoa.)

Related Articles:

Artisan chocolate makers set up shop in Somerville by Lisë Stern, The Boston Globe.

Soy Lecithin: From Sludge to Profit

Two local chocolate shops:

Beacon Hill Chocolates (Boston) – sources and import s chocolates from around the world

L.A. Burdick Handmade Chocolates (Cambridge)





About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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6 thoughts on “Reading labels will make you rethink what you eat – including chocolate

  • Lilly

    Its all kind of scary hey? We need to look but I hate turning the packet over sometimes. In fact if we could live without packet or tinned anything we would be very healthy.

  • Candelaria

    A chocolatier in every neighborhood would be grand!
    Reading packages is scary.  I drink water or home-brewed tea 80% of the time but was out the other day and grabbed a bottle of green tea.  Had paid for it before I looked at it.  There were four separate ingredients just for flavor-enhancement.  I didn’t in up drinking any of the bottle.
    Thanks for leaving a comment.

  • Lara

    I’m eating Divine 70% Dark Chocolate w/Raspberries. It’s fair trade certified, and the ingredients are as follows:
    cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, freeze dried raspberry granules, soya lecithin, natural raspberry flavor, vanilla

    It’s YUMMY (and I’ve convinced myself it is my duty to eat it in order to support fair trade organizations..ha)

  • rookie cookie

    VERY interesting. Very. Thank you for this post. It seems like more and more people are becoming aware of ingredients and wanting more and more to be able to pronounce them easily. If you can’t pronounce an ingredient easily, you probably shouldn’t eat it!

  • Candelaria

    This is true.  If a list of ingredeints sound like they should be on a chemical chart, we probably shouldn’t consume them.
    Thanks for leaving a comment.