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Home / Doug's Chocolate Republic  /   Review: Lindt Excellence 99%

Lindt Exellence 99% 
Posted: 13 October 2010    6.0 
Lindt Excellence 99%  Even after you've graduated to 99%, you may well find that 99% isn't all it's cracked up to be.     
Avg price/gram: USD 0.073   Cocoa %: 99  Size: 50g   

You've got to hand it to Lindt.  Two decades ago, Green & Black's pushed the envelope with a tasty 70% bar, a bar they claim was the first 70% bar in the UK.  Other manufacturers jumped into the fray offering their own versions of dark chocolate, some legitimately so, others with darker milk chocolates posing as 'healthy' darks. Now, Lindt says to hell with the competition and ups the ante with a bar that's 99% cocoa solids.

99%.  That's a lot of cocoa solids.  People like to say they'll give 110% on the job, as manufacturers love to claim their bars contain 110% cocoa solids.  But the facts are that you can't exceed 100%.  This Lindt creation contains about as much cocoa as you can cram into a bar and get away with it.  With 99% cocoa solids, you've only got 1% left to stuff in everything else.

It's an honest bar that keeps you honest.  What do I mean by that?   Other manufacturers whom I've already named on this site will offer a 40-45% "dark" bar and herald the claims of chocolate containing polyphenols and being so good for you.  They neglect to mention the copious sugar they add isn't.  The darker the chocolate, the more antioxidants and the less sugar.  The antioxidant claim actually rings true for this one. This Lindt Excellence 99% bar contains as many antioxidants as you'll find in chocolate.  And the strong cocoa flavor keeps you in check from wolfing down an entire bar in one sitting.  It's as close to the healthy consumption of chocolate as you're ever going to get.

But is it good?  Isn't that the question?  Anyone can brag they're into 99% cocoa solid bars.   Is that a boast worth making? 

Previous to this 99-percenter, the highest cacao bar I'd ever consumed was Green & Black's 85%.  G & B's mitigated the bitterness of the 85% cocoa solids with Madagascar vanilla.  Lindt doesn't do that here.  Maybe they tried, but with only 1% to play with after 99% cocoa solids have been added, there probably wouldn't be enough vanilla flavor to make a difference. 

There's no hiding the bitterness.  Credit goes to Lindt for the bar not tasting more bitter.  Try tasting a spoonful of unsweetened cocoa powder sometime.  You won't be able to get it down the mouth.  The texture and the mouth feel are excellent.  Lindt knows you're in for a lot of bitterness per bite, so they manufactured this bar ultra thin.  That also helps them stretch the bar out to be deceivingly lengthy.  On appearances, the bar takes up as much shelf space as a 100 to 150 gram bar,  but you only get 50 gram for paying, more or less, the same price as you would the larger bars.  The bar winds up, per gram, being very expensive.  It is one of the few bars I've ever seen for sale cheaper in a retail outlet in Thailand than on various American-bases sites on the internet.  Lindt was selling these bars for USD 0.10 per gram on Amazon.

The unpleasant surprise comes on the back note.  On G & B's 85%, for instance, you tasted the bitterness as it went in the mouth, but upon chewing it, the ending taste was somewhat sweet.  You don't get that with Lindt's 99%.  How could you?  There's hardly any sugar to be found.  Chocoholics unused to this, myself among them, will find they miss the sweet spot.  I found these bars to go better with something already sweet.  I ate one with a piece of coffee cake and the next day ate a piece with a cup of Vietnamese coffee sweetened with stevia.  The 99% works better as a complement. 

Lindt realizes that most tasters won't be prepared for 99%.  In their chocolate tasting notes, written on gold foil that enwraps the bar, Lindt advises tasters to start with their 70%, move up to the 85%, pass stringent exams and obtain college degrees in chocolate tasting, then move on to the 99%.  I concur.  Even after you've graduated to 99%, you may well find that 99% isn't all it's cracked up to be.  Think of your favorite actor or actress, one who can actually act.  Now imagine that this actor or actress had 99% of the lines and screentime in a movie.  Would you appreciate him or her better if the appearances were limited to 55% or 70%?  We've said it before at the Republic and we'll say it again.  Less can be more.

Were I to compare dozens of 99% chocolates, I'm sure Lindt would score near the top.  But based on price per gram, taste, balance, this 99% bar, as good as it is for a 99-percenter, isn't the best way to spend your chocolate-earmarked earnings.  Set your cocoa percentage sites lower and take in a few less antioxidants.  You've got nothing to worry about, mates.  The drinking, smoking, and partying will kill you before the excess sugar does. 

If you liked reading this, consider savoring these reviews:
 Bendicks Bittermints from UK -- 95% cocoa solids
 Cadbury Silk Fruit & Nut from India -- 24% cocoa solids
 The Complete Chocolate Republic Index

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