When you write a book about bean-to-bar chocolate and go on tour to talk about it, everyone assumes you're one of those Snooty Chocolate Society Members Only-type people who slowly nibble a sole square of dark chocolate after dinner. Inevitably before each event, some poor dessert-deprived soul would come up to me and whisper, "I like milk chocolate."
The truth is that I gobble up all types of chocolate — including milk chocolate. The truth is that my favorite type of chocolate is milk chocolate (a kind called dark milk that combines the best of both worlds). The truth is that they shouldn't whisper; they should shout, "I love milk chocolate!"
Because milk chocolate isn't just for uninformed children — it's for adults with refined palates too. That's why I'm on a crusade to make milk chocolate great again, starting with these 10 delicious treats for grown-ups.
Buy the book: Bean-to-Bar Chocolate: America's Craft Chocolate Revolution, $20
- Brown Butter Milk Chocolate, $9 at Fruition Chocolate: This is the ultimate milk chocolate indulgence, made with single-origin Dominican Republic beans and milk from Ronnybrook Farm. And did you hear the part about brown butter? I love it so much that when Zingerman's asked me to put together a special chocolate and book gift box, I absolutely had to include it.
- Old School Milk Bar, $11 at Soma Chocolate: Imagine a cross between a chocolate bar and a brownie, made with single-origin cocoa beans from Chuao, Venezuela (coveted for their fine flavor). That's what you get in this Toronto maker's irresistibly crunchy bar with coarsely ground cocoa nibs, milk, and whole cane sugar crystals.
- Naïve Kefir Probiotic Milk Chocolate, $13: We're used to seeing milk and brown butter in chocolate, but other dairy products make great additions too. Take this dark milk bar from Lithuanian-based chocolate maker Domantis Uzpalis, with a slight tang from kefir. Uzpalis calls kefir "milk's victory against time" and includes it because of its great taste but also because it's important to his native country. Cool factor: Because the bar contains living microorganisms, it ages like cheese, which means its flavors change and deepen over time.
- Patric Dark Milk, $14 at The Meadow: Dark milk chocolate combines that dark chocolate we love with the smoothness and creaminess of milk chocolate by keeping the cocoa percentage high and adding milk powder. Patric's version will make your knees weak, which is why it's listed as one of my top five favorite dark milk bars in my book.
- Dark Milk Chocolate + Fleur De Sel Sea Salt Bar, $8.50 at Askinosie Chocolate: Here's another outstanding dark milk bar, from a seriously ethical company (Askinosie shares profits with its farmers and has created countless social justice programs). It's so good, I have a stash of these bars around the house at all times.
- Sierra Nevada Colombia Dark Milk, $12 at Castronovo Chocolate: There's a reason this gorgeous dark milk bar from maker Denise Castronovo has won seven awards, including gold at the International Chocolate Awards World Finals 2016. Its slightly fruity cocoa and luscious caramel notes are completely irresistible.
- Bon Bons, from $25 for six at Stick With Me: Usually I think that dessert either looks gorgeous or tastes delicious, but this tiny shop in Manhattan proves that it can be both. You'll want a full box of these dazzling and delicious bonbons: Don't miss unusual flavors like bananas Foster, dulce de leche, mint chocolate cookie, speculoos, s'mores, and malted milk chocolate.
- Toffee Almond Bites, $14 for 6.25 ounces at Charm School Chocolate: Vegan chocolate-lovers, don't despair — there's plenty of milk chocolate for you! Coconut milk chocolate, actually. I'm a big fan of these toasted almonds covered in house-made vegan toffee and smothered in coconut milk chocolate. Yes, please.
- Milk Truffles, from $38 for 18 at Fran's: The Seattle queen of caramels also makes a mean milk chocolate truffle. For a creamy, indulgent kind of night, think everything from pure milk to hazelnut crunch to milk chocolate espresso.
- Malted Dark Milk Revolution, $19 for 11 ounces at Recchiuti Confections: Leave the Whoppers on the shelf and pick up a tin of these crunchy goodies, which put you in touch with your inner child in the most delectable way. A malted cookie center gets hand-coated with dark milk chocolate and sprinkled with fleur de sel before it's coated in yet another layer of dark milk chocolate. Oh, my.
Which do you prefer: milk chocolate or dark chocolate? What about dark milk chocolate?