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