Chocolate can make your good days even better and quell a nagging craving. Think about your last chocolate bar — how did it make you feel? If the answer is anything but ‘amazing,’ you may not have been eating high-quality chocolate.
For people who eat high-quality chocolate regularly, it’s obvious when you bite into a piece of low-quality chocolate. However, for those that aren’t familiar with the differences, it can be difficult to know if you’re eating premium chocolate, also known as couverture chocolate. The following article will discuss a few things to think about the next time you eat a piece of chocolate.
You can tell a lot about the quality of chocolate based on its appearance. By simply looking at a piece of solid chocolate, you can tell if it was crafted to perfection. If a piece of chocolate looks dull and not shiny, if it has too many bubbles, cracks, or patches of discolouration (called “bloom”), there is a risk that it was not properly manufactured, handled or stored.
You don’t need to have the greatest sense of smell in the world to determine if chocolate is high-quality — premium chocolate has a distinct aroma.
Chocolate made from beans grown in different parts of the world in varieties of soils and climates (called the “terroir”), can have unique scents ranging from earthy to floral, even banana!
Cocoa butter — the only fat ingredient in premium couverture chocolate — is notorious for soaking up the smells around it. If it doesn’t smell like chocolate, what does it smell like? If it has a spicy or zesty aroma or smells stale like smoke or cardboard or last night’s pizza, it could mean that the chocolate wasn’t stored in an appropriate airtight, sealed environment.
The Break Test
Snapping a piece of chocolate in half is a great way to determine if it’s high quality. When you break a piece of high-quality chocolate, it should make a very neat, clean, and crisp break. This is the result of tempering. Low-quality chocolate will often make a hollow, soft sound when it’s broken, and it tends to fall into pieces when snapped.
The Texture Test
High-quality chocolate feels delicate and smooth in your mouth, with no grit, coarse texture, or waxy residue. It should melt on your tongue even as you begin to chew it. If you were to hold high-quality couverture chocolate in the palm of your hand, it should begin to melt quickly. This is because couverture chocolate contains extra cocoa butter, and cocoa butter melts at below body temperature.
The Ingredient List
Just because it’s brown doesn’t mean its chocolate. Did you know the word “chocolate” is a legally regulated term? It’s true. For something to be called real chocolate, it may not contain any vegetable fat other than cocoa butter – no coconut oil, no vegetable oil, no palm oil. If it does, then it cannot be called chocolate. This kind of substance is called “compound” and on the package it must read “candy”, “chocolate-flavoured”, or “chocolatey”.
The next time you’re in the convenience store, have a look at the packages in the candy aisle and you’ll see what we mean.
It’s All About Chocolate
When it comes to chocolate, you really do get what you pay for. And when it comes to real chocolate, less is better — small amounts of real couverture chocolate satisfy your cravings in ways that an entire bar of cheap, waxy, sugary compound chocolate never will.
Once you know the characteristics of high-quality chocolate, you’ll gain a greater appreciation for its value and artistry. Chocolate is our passion, and we want all of our customers to appreciate the craftsmanship behind fine chocolate. For more information on couverture chocolate, feel free to contact us by email, through our social channels, or visit our blog post about couverture chocolate.