Chocolate is one of the world’s favorite foods, but not all chocolate is the same. You can find dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate and more in a hundred different brands, but the quality is what makes some types of chocolate truly exceptional. If you want to know how to choose high-quality chocolate, follow these tips.
Note the Price
Price is not everything, but checking the price tag will give you a good clue regarding the quality of the chocolate. Chocolate is available in all price ranges. You can pay $1 for a bar of commercial milk chocolate, or you can shell out $10 or more for handmade artisan chocolates. If you want to enjoy chocolate that is made of top-notch ingredients, you will likely need to pay a little more. However, it is important to be cautious of chocolate that is marketed as “premium” without any real reason.
Check the Ingredients
The most important thing that you can do when purchasing chocolate is to carefully check the ingredient list. If you are buying chocolate in the grocery store, you should be able to read the ingredients right on the packaging. If you are purchasing individual chocolates from a specialty store, you might have to ask the employees for an ingredient list. Cocoa solids and cocoa butter should be at the top of the ingredient list for high-quality chocolates. The best chocolates are made from simple, easy-to-read ingredients. Stay away from chocolate that is created with a long list of complicated chemicals.
The following ingredients can indicate sub-par chocolate:
- Fats that are not cocoa butter
- Sugar as the top ingredient
- Dutch cocoa
The ingredient list will vary based on what type of chocolate you are purchasing. However, quality chocolate should basically include cocoa solids and butter, sugar and lecithin. Vanilla, milk and milk solids are also added to some type of chocolates for additional flavor.
Examine the Chocolate
One of the advantages of purchasing chocolate from a specialty store is the fact that you can carefully examine the different types of chocolate before purchasing. When you are choosing chocolate, use as many of your senses as possible. First, see if the chocolate has an attractive, uniform appearance. Old chocolate can start to turn white or appear spotted. Next, smell the chocolate. To put it simply, it should smell like chocolate and nothing else. If not properly packaged, chocolate can start absorbing the scents around it. Stay away from chocolate that does not have any smell. No smell equals low flavor.
Ask for a Sample
The most fun part of choosing chocolate is tasting it! You do not want to spend a lot of money on chocolate that you are not sure about, so don’t hesitate to ask the store for a small sample. Quality chocolate should have a smooth texture and melt in your mouth right away. Poor quality candy can often taste rough or grainy. Preferences vary from person to person, so tasting the chocolate is a vital step of finding the right variety for you.