It used to be that artisanal chocolatiers focused on producing the best dark chocolate bars. But now, they’re letting a little milk into their creations to produce dark milk chocolate. Why? Because it tastes really good. Meet the bar that blends the best of both worlds.
You just can’t deal with the tart bitterness of dark chocolate. Neither do you enjoy the cloying sweetness of milk chocolate. Dark milk chocolate eliminates both those problems. Think of it as milk chocolate with an amped-up cacao content, or a dark chocolate bar with a dash of milk that reduces the cacao bean’s harsh tannins.
Dark milk bars generally have a cacao content of at least 40 per cent – so you get a milder, sweeter bar that doesn’t lose the cacao bean’s more expressive flavours. Milk chocolate, by comparison, contains mostly milk and sugar, with less than a third of cacao solids.
Taste buds in Singapore have been warming up to this in recent months, with craft chocolatiers ramping up their dark milk offerings. Even milk chocolate giant Cadbury launched its first Dark Milk range here in April. Its bars (in original, hazelnut and mint flavours) have a 40 per cent cacao content and are aimed at health-conscious consumers who want an alternative to its sweet dairy milk bars.
Some chocolatiers push the cacao content to more than 70 per cent – comparable to dark chocolate. But the milk makes all the difference, carrying the rich cacao flavours while masking the acidity and bitterness, which makes for a more velvety chocolate. We’ve narrowed down our selection to the ones we love – so break off a piece, and savour.
Start with the basics
Dark milk chocolate is the gateway to tasting quality cacao. Single-origin beans are often used as these work “exceptionally well” in dark milk chocolate, says Dmitry Minkov, founder of Hello Chocolate.
1 Melissa 45% Milk Chocolate, Pralus Chocolate ($15, www.hellochocolate.asia)
Floral and nutty is best
“Generally, floral and nutty flavours go well with dark milk chocolate,” says Jay Chua, founder and main chocolatier of Fossa Chocolate. Take, for example, his Pistachio Rose Cranberry bar. Milk highlights the flavours from the 60% cacao content while cutting out the sharp tannic notes, allowing for a delicious combination with the other fruit bits.
3 Milk Chocolate with Peanut Butter 42%, Naive ($15, www. hellochocolate.asia)
You can get adventurous
A rounded-off chocolate gives way to more flavours as well. “There’s no hard and fast rule, and it’s really up to anyone’s imagination and execution,” Jay adds. Other craft chocolatiers are stretching the limits of dark milk chocolate with stronger flavours and gourmet combinations – like earthy notes of porcini mushroom (it tastes better than it sounds, promise) or a citrusy ganache of 8 lemon and tequila enrobed in a dark milk chocolate coat that has a whopping 70 per cent cacao content.
6 Milk Chocolate with Probiotic Kefir 50%, Naive ($14, www. hellochocolate.asia)
7 Tequila with Salt and Lemon 70%, Zotter Labooko ($10, www.hellochocolate.asia)
8 Dark Milk Chocolate with Porcini Mushrooms 63%, Naive ($14, www.hellochocolate.asia)
TEXT JASMINE TAY PHOTOGRAPHY FRENCHESCAR LIM ART DIRECTION ALICE CHUA