How Do You Know If You Are Eating Quality Chocolate?

I eat at least one piece of chocolate a day, and have always wondered why all chocolates don’t taste the same. Therefore, I did some research on chocolate and I wanted to share what I found. When choosing chocolate in the future, be it as a snack, to cook with, or to give as a gift, here are three things to look for in making the best choice.

First, when selecting chocolates you should always look at the chocolate first and inspect it. You should be looking for chocolate that has a glossy surface. They should not have any bubbles/ blemishes, and they should not look cloudy or gray. If the chocolate that you have chosen to eat has any of the above qualities it could mean that the chocolate has been exposed to extreme temperatures during processing or handling. Good chocolate should also have a clean, hard snap to it. Any chocolate that bends or crumbles upon breaking is either low quality or just plain old.

Second, high quality chocolate will have a strong chocolate smell. Chocolate picks up aromas; therefore, if you smell it before eating it you will be able to tell a lot about it. If it has a freezer smell, it probably means that the chocolate has been in the freezer for too long. If it has a spicy smell, it could mean that it has been stored with spices. A good way to confirm your chocolate is still good, or is good quality, is to warm it up by rubbing your fingers over the top of it. Next, smell the chocolate. If the chocolate has a strong chocolate smell then it is a good quality. If it doesn’t have a chocolate smell, or smells of spices, vanilla, or anything else it means that it won’t taste like chocolate either.

Finally, taste the chocolate. You want chocolate that is smooth and melts in your mouth. Good chocolate will have a velvety texture. If it feels waxy, sandy, or slippery then it is most likely not a high quality chocolate and has not been made with real cocoa butter, but cocoa butter equivalents.

Choosing chocolate can be a fun experience and if chosen right can be fun, healthy and satisfying to your sweet tooth.

Tip of the Month: May 2014

Carrie Mark, MA, RDN, LDN

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