Although these remaining bars are pretty bad in just about every way imaginable, I have a confession to make. The quality of these bars can, and probably will, change over time, so I’m not making any guarantees that this list will be valid next year, next week, or even tomorrow. Valrhona’s Le Noir Extra Amer 85% might actually be pretty good in the future, and Venchi may have even developed a taste for dark chocolate.
I don’t like to think of this list as a cheap shot against chocolate makers who have different tastes than me or are a victim of circumstances outside their control because that simply isn’t fair. Nor will I refrain from picking up another one of these bars at a later time, because I want to see how it will evolve throughout the years and what those changes can infer about the challenges a maker experienced with an origin, a percentage level, or a blend.
Before we get on with the list, if you can think of a bar that’s just as bad or worse than these fine specimens, then please let me know. I’m always open to new chocolate no matter how bad it is! Not only should one have an open mind but an open stomach as well!
6. Slitti Gran Cacao 82% (4.1) – If ash and bitterness were in style, Slitti would be the bon vivant of all chocolate companies. This is just one of three bars where these traits run rampant, and though quite offensive at this level, much worse is in store. It seems what happened here is that Slitti’s cacao supply was of such poor quality that he was forced to over-roast as compensation. Unfortunately for Slitti, two wrongs don’t make a right.
5. Weiss Grand Noir 57% (4.1) – Weiss is a respected name in the chocolate world, and I really expected more from them than this, even if the semisweet range can be a hit or miss category. This one really pushes the limit and reminds me of those wasteful hot cocoa mixes sold at grocery stores. Weiss apparently forgot to use more assertive beans for this bar, or perhaps forgot to put them in altogether.
4. Slitti Super Novanta Amazzonia 90% (3.6) – Slitti’s other two 90% bars are unbelievably powerful yet palatable, so expectations for this one were naturally high, especially considering the origin of the beans. Unfortunately, the chocolate is as timid as a fawn, lacking roundness and any intensity whatsoever that if were present probably would not help because the chocolate is far too bitter.
3. Theo Venezuela 91% (3.2) – This high percentage is a difficult range to master, but this chocolate would be equally disturbing at any level. Problems in the ferment are probably what caused the flavors of rubbing alcohol and green tree branches to dominate so insistently, as well as a total lack of roundness in the flavor. This should have been scrapped long before it hit the production line.
2. Slitti Gran Cacao 100% (2) – The decision to offer this chocolate in unsweetened format is beyond human comprehension. The chocolate will literally make you cringe in pain as the bitterness rails through your spine, rendering nerves and shattering bone along the way. This truly is an unsettling chocolate in every way, arguably the most bitter ever devised and certainly one to be erased from memory.
1. Guido Gobino Trinidad 80% (1.7) – I don’t know what Gobino did to this chocolate, but I think the cold hand of Death was intimately involved. With absolutely no roundness, a disturbingly sweet flavor, and a texture that falls apart rather than melts, the bar is frail and soulless, having expired long before its expiration date. It truly is deserving of its lowly status.