5 World-Class Vices for Less Than $5

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The problem with people who have no vices is that, generally, you can be sure they’re going to have some pretty annoying virtues.
-Elizabeth Taylor

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Dolfin 88% cacao Belgian dark chocolate — the best in the world and incredibly inexpensive

In life, as in relationships, the small things are the big things. The good life isn’t the result of milestone Lamborghinis and Caribbean trips, but the little adventures and small indulgences we all too often miss along the way.

Some of you already know that Saturday is a “free” day on my diet, and I take this freedom to eat (and drink) whatever I want seriously. I’m not one for the monastic life.

World-class luxuries need not be expensive, and many aren’t. Here are five of my favorites for less than $5, listed in order of preference:

1. Dolfin 88% Pure Cacao Belgian Dark Chocolate
Few chocolates can pull off more than 70% cacao (cocoa) without tasting like chalk. I was told that Dolfin 88% was “the best dark chocolate in the world” by the current master of the famous It’s It ice cream empire. He might just be right.

2. Blue Fin 2005 California Chardonnay
I’ve never been a white wine person, but the Rombauer 2005 Chardonnay, tasted at the legendary Brix of Napa, changed all of that. It opened my eyes to a world of buttery, antioxidant-rich goodness. The Blue Fin Chardonnay, at a whopping $3.99, matches most $30-40 whites. Truly amazing.

3. Valrhona Le Noir Amer 71% Cacao Dark Chocolate
71-72% is my preferred cacao level these days — perfect for truffle making — and Valrhona is just about on par with my favorite E. Guittard chocolates. E. Guittard would have been on this list were it not for their bulk $12.99 cooking chip packages.

4. Original Flavor with Almonds Bumble Bar
These bars, which at first glance look like glorified bird seed cakes, are unbelievable. My mother turned to them after food allergies forced her to forsake wheat, and I promptly ate her entire stash. These are compatible with my diet and a great snack for when the inevitable sweet tooth strikes during the week. Just don’t eat the entire box.

5. La Famiglia 2001 Sangiovese (Mondavi)
I love this grape. Sangiovese, “the blood of Jove” as legend names it, is a very flexible varietal that pairs well with everything from pizza to lamb. Trader Joe’s carries this wine and dozens of others at up to 70% off of retail. My absolute favorite wines? These days, I would have to vote Argentine Malbec first and Gamay a close second.

Great doesn’t have to mean expensive. In fact, you can often have the best in the world for next to nothing. Anyone have other affordable world-class recommendations to add to the list?

Posted on: May 12, 2007.

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51 comments on “5 World-Class Vices for Less Than $5

  1. For people in the UK looking for a nice bottle of bubbly, Tesco Premier Cru champagne is only £14.24 per bottle, and won the 2005 International Wine Challenge, I don’t drink anything else.

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  2. If you like Agentine Malbecs, explore South African Pinotages for more hidden values. I have my favorites, but I have found that in general, most Pinotages are underpriced.

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  3. … and at 16g carbs/50g, the darker chocolate is even weekday-compatible with ck- or slow-carb diets. When you stayed here — in Berlin that is — did you try the Rausch 40g-bars, or Lindt Schokolade? Also, did you read about the anti-oxidant properties of chocolate? The darker the better.

    Ansonsten, schöne Grüße aus Berlin,
    Alexander

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  4. Hi All,

    I love it! All sorts of goodies to try 5 days from now. My favorite chocolate in Germany is Kinder, which some people will laugh outloud at, as it’s available in any drug or convenience store (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinder_Chocolate).

    Darren, Recchiuti chocolates from SF are amazing. America still has bad coffee almost everywhere, but the chocolate in a few places like SF can compete with the best. Both E. Guittard and Scharffen Berger (http://www.scharffenberger.com/) are made in SF and blow my mind, especially when paired with a good (not necessarily expensive) wine.

    I’m counting the hours until next Saturday :) Pinotage and Recchiuti are on the list thus far.

    Tim

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    • Hi there, i have one question:

      Can I drink on the diet a cacao drink? I mean water and 1-2 teaspoons of cocoa powder(with around 10% fat)

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  5. Tim, I told my subscriber list of 30,000 that your book is MANDATORY READING for anyone serious about time and financial freedom. It’s easily one of the most significant business books written in the past decade!

    I’ve been taking BodyQUICK for about a year for my MMA training. Kudos on another world class product with your book!

    Keep leading wisely

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  6. Tim,

    If you talk trader joes and wine you gotta mention 2 buck chuck (Charles Shaw) Possibly the most undervalued wine in America

    Tim

    PS:
    I love the book – I am about 1/2 way through and have already recaptured an hour of my day

    (Is that thee David Ledoux up there?)

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  7. Another decent wine at Trader Joes is a merlot from Charles Shaw for an unbelievable $1.99. It is or atleast was a first class wine on American Airlines. Very tasty:) I will have to try out the one you suggested as well. Thanks for the great tips!!

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  8. For chocolate, I recommend Scharffen Berger, located in Berkeley, CA. Their dark chocolate is amazing. They differ from many others in that they are chocolate makers (they go from bean to bar) as opposed to chocolatier (who remelt other’s chocolate).

    If you live in the Bay Area, they have tours on the weekends…

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  9. “My favorite chocolate in Germany is Kinder,”

    Kinder is unbelievable! SO delicious and addictive… I could eat a hundred of those tiny finger bars… It’s everywhere here in Ireland…

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  10. Anybody looking for great chocolate owes it to themselves to try Teuscher… It’s only available in their retail stores, and it is flown in weekly from Zürich, Switzerland. The Dolfin chocolate is good, but Teuscher is un-frickin-beleiveable. It’s also very expensive – close to $70/pound. Worth every penny.

    I’m on a vegan variation of your diet, and I make a point of going to Teuscher every Saturday.

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  11. Pingback: Cabernet Logic