How to Avoid Bad Chocolate

No photos of beautiful wrappers this time.  No inspiring chocolatier stories.  No exotic bar names.  This bar was labeled as"Classic Dark Chocolate" and doesn't deserve to have the makers name posted.

This chocolate bar was really "off".   Bad.  I didn't even want to finish it.  It tasted more like chemicals and less like chocolate than any bar I have ever tasted.

I learned a lesson that I should have already known.  Bars containing the following ingredients should be avoided:
  • Dark chocolate.  Yes, this was actually part of the ingredient list.  What do they mean by "dark chocolate"?  What does "dark chocolate" contain?
  • Chocolate liquor processed with alkali.  I know that cocoa is often processed with alkali but I have never seen it used on chocolate liquor in the bar form.
  • Butter fat. 
  • Vanilla flavor instead of real vanilla.


 
How to find better chocolate.
 
Look for fine chocolate typically containing only the following ingredients along with inclusions such as spices, berries, or some other natural ingrident the chocolatier has added to make the bar a bit different.  Although you might find a bar that doesn't please your palette once in a while, you will be on the right track to finding great chocolate.
  • Cocoa mass or cocoa liquor.  The same ingredient by two different names is simply pure roasted and ground cocoa beans.
  • Cocoa butter.  This is natural fat that comes from cocoa beans.
  • Sugar.
  • Vanilla.  Only pure, no artificial flavors or extracts.
  • Soy lecithin.  An emulsifier that keeps the cocoa and cocoa butter from separating.
  • Milk powder in milk chocolate bars.

I sincerely hope this saves you from finding bad chocolate and guides you toward many fine chocolate gems.
 
Have you found any great chocolate lately?  Sharing brings good karma so please share your favorite chocolate finds with me!

 

 

 

2 comments:

  1. Always, always avoid bars with fats that aren't cocoa butter (exception: milk chocolate with dairy fat). If I want to eat vegetable shorting, I'll pull out the crisco.

    I really enjoy the Amedei Venezeulan bars. And anything by Potomac Chocolate. Give them a try :).

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  2. I taste 'em all, so I've also had some chocolates that I really disliked. If it has "vanillin" on the label I avoid it.

    My favorite recent chocolate is Rogue Rio Caribe 70%. I rated it 9.3 out of 10 and it's a Top Favorite. At the moment I'm reviewing Pralus Vanuatu 75%. It has a unique flavor profile that I've never encountered and I really like it a lot. (Initial rating is 9.1 out of 10)

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