If you’re not a chocolatier or a chocolate connoisseur and are trying to pick the best dark chocolate in a store jot the following points on a sheet of paper or print this article to take along. It could be a test of your senses but you must make sure:
1. It’s dark: Dark chocolate has no other colour this is because the cocoa content is so high and there’s no milk. The ingredients are sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate liquor, and sometimes vanilla.
2. Check the Cocoa content: Rich dark chocolate normally has at least 70% cocoa content. This is what gives that fruity bitter taste that is full of antioxidants. The more cocoa content the greater the health benefits.
3. It smells dark: What?! Do you know how chocolate smells? Well, dark chocolate doesn’t smell exactly that way. It has a distinct yet dull fruity smell. It’s described as a fruity smell because cocoa is a fruit but to me it sometimes comes across as a slight stench like fruit going bad. Does it smell that way? Then you’ve chosen well!
4. Taste it: If you can ask for a sample. It should be bitter with a fruity taste which comes across as sour.
Nowadays, when you visit certain chocolate websites they tell you about their dark chocolate coming from Ecuador or from Madagascar as a distinguishing factor or benefit. This is based on the organic farming methods used to cultivate cocoa in these countries. Organic chocolate is grown and processed without the use of chemicals.
Chocolate in its raw form has been shown to have relatively low levels of toxins such as lead. Unfortunately, this is not the case after non organic processing.
Chocolate absorbs everything from its environment. That means that toxic substances used in manufacture are going to get into the chocolate! Certified Organic Chocolate comes from areas where pesticides are not used. It may still have residues, but they are generally much lower. Organic chocolate is generally not processed using chemicals, often a larger source of contamination than those in the growing environment.
If you’re also encouraged to buy Dark Belgian chocolate it’s equally a good idea because it is handmade which means extra care has been taken but most importantly the ingredients and technique used are unique. Belgian chocolate retains more aroma because the chocolate mixture or couverture are not cooled before moulding as with other chocolates.
So, now you are armed with the keys to picking the very best dark chocolate. Good Luck.