As chocolate grows more of a reputation for being a luxury indulgence instead of just another sweet treat, chocolate-lovers everywhere are expanding their palates and looking to discover the absolute best chocolates. If you want to learn to start selecting chocolate like a true pro, here are three secrets that will make you a chocolate expert in no time:
1. Strike a Balance
High-quality chocolate is often equated with dark chocolate, since dark chocolate contains a higher percentage of cacao than milk chocolate. Meanwhile, white chocolate, for all intents and purposes, has zero percent cacao; it only contains the cocoa butter or cacao fat, but none of the cacao solids, which is what the percentages reference. Of course, depending on your needs, choosing the dark chocolate with the highest cacao percentage isn’t always the best choice, nor does it guarantee quality of the original beans. Instead, when selecting a fine dark chocolate for eating, look for a good balance between cacao solids (or “cocoa mass”) and cocoa butter for optimal taste; around 7068% cacao is usually an ideal balance for a strong chocolate flavor without too much acidity or bitterness. For more experienced dark chocolate lovers, 90% cacao is typically the highest percentage luxury chocolate brands offer.
2. No Substitutes
Cheaper (and often less tasty) chocolate cuts costs by replacing key ingredients with substitutes. Chocolates with a gritty texture and a sour aftertaste tend to replace cacao solids with more sugar, while chocolates that have a drier texture that doesn’t melt in your mouth and sometimes even a rancid aftertaste often replace cocoa butter with other types of vegetable oils. For a smooth, creamy texture and a rich chocolate flavor, choose chocolate that has cocoa mass and cocoa butter high on the list of ingredients.
3. Follow Your Tastebuds
Here’s the biggest secret of all: there’s no one “best” chocolate. Much like wine, there are factors that lead to high-quality chocolate, but preference is king! Trust your sense of taste and choose chocolate that appeals to you.
Learn how to taste and talk about chocolate like a pro chocolatier with our Official ROYCE’ Chocolate Tasting Guide. Then test out your skills and find your favorite high-quality chocolate by ordering online or finding a ROYCE’ Chocolate boutique near you!