In the previous post we learned how chocolate is made. Now how do we know the quality of the chocolate? Quality of the chocolate is defined by the quality of the cocoa beans used, recipe, amount of cocoa butter, how well tempered it is, refinement, smell, taste notes etc.
To make it simple, look for these:
- you should see a shiny surface
- it should have nice snap when you break it
- it should start melting when you hold it between your palms
- Silky smooth mouth feel giving you taste notes as per origin of beans and recipe. Chocolate should melt nicely on the tongue.
- Nice aroma of chocolate when you smell it. Should not have not pungent smell.
These are just basic ways to test your chocolate. Most of these qualities can be found in the run of the mill chocolates available in the stores but you need to aware of the what makes a chocolate of good quality. Choosing the right chocolate for you for regular consumption depends on consumer to consumer. Some like dark and some like sweeter versions of the chocolate. The best chocolate you can have is the chocolate made to couverture standard i.e chocolate with minimum 32% Cocoa butter. The shine, snap and the mouth feel you get in couverture you wont get it in other varieties. Cocoa butter makes a hell lot of difference in the quality of the Chocolate. Couverture chocolate gives the best results when you use them for confectionery or baking.
Most of the commonly available products are made with vegetable fats like palm oil to replace cocoa butter. These cannot be called chocolate and can only be called candy. There are people who even are vary about calling a white chocolate made with cocoa butter a chocolate.
Always see the following before you buy a chocolate for you:
- Ingredients list - if it has vegetable fat, It’s a direct no pickup product. Always pick the product has high cocoa butter and nothing else.
- Origin of the beans - if the manufacturer gives this info you know for sure that some good care has been taken to source their cocoa beans
- Flavors - pick the ones which are made with natural ingredients giving the natural flavor. If you see natural identical or artificial flavoring you know its not something for you.
- Emulsifiers: Emulsifiers like lecithin play a major role in large manufacturing setup as it helps Chocolate to flow freely without congesting the metal pipes. They also make sure fats and Fiber content do not separate. But they are not needed during a micro batch manufacturing. Try and choose a chocolate without lecithin or any other emulsifier.
- Sweetener - most of the chocolate makers use sugar for sweetening. There are many healthy alternatives for sugar these days.
Hope the above points help you to understand your chocolate better and choose the better product for yourself.
Soothys is craft chocolate maker based out of Hyderabad, India. We bring the unique flavors of cocoa beans from Andhra Pradesh. We are known for creating confectionery with pure and natural ingredients. Soothys aspires to bring exceptional chocolate experience to its customers. Other than Artisanal chocolates Soothys also provides couverture chocolate products for fine baking industry.
you can reach us at: email@example.com