There are a lot of ways to say “I love you” (or “I really, really care about you” as the case may be), and there’s no doubt that some creative Romeos and Juliets will wow their significant other this Valentine’s Day with especially touching and sentimental gifts.
However, those of us who don’t have the time to coordinate an elaborate scavenger hunt that culminates in a meal of heart-shaped finger foods will probably stick to a Valentine’s Day basic: chocolate. This year, with the help of GoodGuide’s Chocolate Buying Guide, you can say you put a little more thought into your selection by gifting a consciously made confection.
The chart, built using GoodGuide data, shows it’s possible to purchase chocolate in a manner that’s environmentally and socially responsible. It is also evidence that the chocolate industry, as we know it, is changing. To interact with the chart, click on the image above.
In anticipation of questions we think you’ll have, here is a mini-FAQ:
Why are some milk chocolate products are located to the right of the FDA’s 35% cacao cutoff? Cacao percentage isn’t the only criteria used to categorize chocolate – sugar and milk solid content are also considered. If a product contains over 30% milk solids, it’s considered milk chocolate (even if it has 35% cacao).
How can white chocolate have a cacao percentage? It’s not even brown! Confusing, but true. Cacao percentage is a composite measure of chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, and cocoa solids (the latter two being components of the former). While white chocolate doesn’t have any chocolate liquor or cocoa solids, it does have cocoa butter, and that’s why it can legitimately be labeled with a cacao percentage. Here are a couple of white chocolate bars on the chart above.
Armed with the chart above, and more than three days, you should be all set for Valentine’s Day.
PS – If you’re more interested in boxed candy or candy bars, we’ve got ratings for those too.
*Chart updated as of 2/10/2012