Chocolate's dark mood is lightening at last.
Until recently, midnight-black, bittersweet bars with punishing percentages of cacao were, like coffee and wine, on a quest for brooding intensity. Milk chocolate was left behind, dismissed as child's play, an indulgence in sweetness and nostalgia.
Chloé Doutre-Roussel, a Paris-based expert and former chocolate buyer for Fortnum & Mason in London, says that in a snobbish phase of her youth, she even turned down milk chocolate made by the legendary Robert Linxe of La Maison du Chocolat. "I was in his shop in Paris," she recalled, "and he offered me a taste of anything, and I put my nose in the air and said, 'Of course, I only eat dark.' And he said: 'Really? Why?' And I had no idea." Ms. Doutre-Roussel said that she, like other purists, believed that the lean amalgamation of cacao and sugar that is dark chocolate did not need the addition of a fatty, bland element like milk.