• Posted by CERC India
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How to recognise quality chocolate

Though many chocolates are tasty, they are not exactly what connoisseurs refer to as quality chocolate. Here are some guidelines on discerning good quality chocolate:

Ingredients: Good chocolate will have cocoa solids (the actual chocolate) and cocoa butter (the creaminess of the chocolate) as top ingredients. Chocolate that has more than 70% cocoa solid content will have a much more complex and fine taste. Also, ensure that cheaper vegetable oils have not been used instead of cocoa butter.

Date of manufacture: Dark chocolate is recommended to be used before 1 year, milk chocolate within 6 months and white chocolate within 8 months of manufacture.

Appearance: Good chocolate will have a smooth, glossy, evenly coloured surface with no blemishes. If the surface is scarred, has cracks, is grey or cloudy it may be a sign that the chocolate is old.

Touch: Good chocolate should be silky, not sticky. It should begin to melt to the touch quickly.

Break it in half: If the quality is good, this action will result in a clean snapping sound. If the chocolate bends or crumbles when you break it, the quality is inferior.

Aroma: Rub your fingers over the surface to warm the chocolate before smelling it. No smell indicates old or poor quality chocolate. Good chocolate will smell strongly of chocolate with earthy, fruity or floral undertones. Be careful of overly sugary or vanilla fragrances.

Taste: To appreciate a chocolate’s true flavours, try it first thing in the morning, when your palate is clear. If that’s not possible, ensure that you cleanse our palate with cold water. Place the chocolate on the centre of your tongue. Don’t bite it. Allow the chocolate to melt (quality chocolates will begin to melt in your mouth immediately) and as it gradually does it will release flavours. You’ll be able to detect each – bitter, sweet, sour and spicy.

Flavour: Common undertones are floral, citrus, berry, coffee and wine. Notice if the flavor bursts out all at once, or if it gradually builds in intensity and lingers after the chocolate has left. The complex flavors of good chocolate depend on the quality of the cocoa beans, the manufacturing process and the skill of the chocolatier.

Lingering taste: To really enjoy the taste one should press the piece of chocolate up against the roof of the mouth with the tongue. Breathe through the nose to enjoy the overall taste and aroma. You should experience a clean but complex taste in your mouth for several minutes after eating a piece of high-quality chocolate.

Sources:,, DNA
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