Finding good quality dark chocolate online is a bit like scrolling on Tinder: it takes a lot of encounters before you come across the rare pearl.
How do you know if a chocolate will melt in your mouth simply by looking at the product sheets of a chocolate brand? It will be nice to tell you that our chocolate is the best, that it lines your palate delicately, is as crunchy as your child who smiles at you; you are still skeptical.
So, instead of trying to convince you by putting the words “exceptional”, “best dark chocolate”, “delicious” and “miaaaam” everywhere, we decided to give you the 5 things to look for to find the bars of your dreams . And no, we're not talking about hitting up the #FitBoysGym hashtag on Instagram.
Here are the 5 things to keep in mind to find quality chocolate online:
- Cocoa content
- Manufacturing steps
Put on your detective glasses, let's go for a chocolate investigation.
1. Look at the ingredients
As soon as you start taking care of your health and your body , you scan the labels of the products you are going to buy with avidity. And you are right. They are what will allow you to differentiate quality chocolates from overly processed bars.
Cocoa mass, cocoa butter, lecithin, vanilla extract, sugar... Let's take a look at the classic ingredients that make up, or not, a good dark chocolate.
The cocoa bean: the most important ingredient for a quality chocolate
A quality chocolate is one that is made with beans of excellence . Indeed, the quality of the cocoa bean directly influences the taste, bitterness and texture of the square you bite into after lunch.
There are 3 varieties of cocoa beans:
- Criollo: it is the most coveted bean in the chocolate world. Being one of the oldest varieties, it is also the rarest. Its taste is delicate and complex , very floral while remaining balanced. Less bitter and sweeter, these beans are often used to create chocolates with an extremely fine taste. It concerns only 5% of world production.
- Forastero : it is the most cultivated bean in the whole world which is found in the majority of chocolates on the market, especially in confectionery. Less aromatic and more bitter, it presents woody fragrances.
- Trinitario : born from a natural cross between the two varieties Criollo and Forastero, this cocoa bean combines the taste of the first and the robustness of the second. Flavors can be diverse and range from fruity and tart notes to something deeper . It is therefore a versatile and perfect bean for high quality chocolates .
Ingredients to watch out for
The longer the label, the less it is a good sign.
If you come across certain flavor enhancers, additives and preservatives, a lot of sugar, you can be sure that the quality of dark chocolate will not be there. Like this game that once again gave you trouble.
But beware, not all ingredients are to be avoided.
It's the quantity that counts. Soy lecithin is often added to act as an emulsifier to improve the smooth texture of chocolate. Because, like oil and water, which don't mix, cocoa butter, milk and sugar don't mix. That's what soy lecithin is for: to give a longer shelf life.
The basic ingredients of a good quality chocolate are:
- cocoa paste
- cocoa butter (between 3 and 10%). Be careful, it must be cocoa butter, beware of the mentions "contains vegetable fats", it is not the same thing!
- a little sugar and soy lecithin (it depends on the percentage of cocoa)
- sometimes vanilla to bring out the aromas of the cocoa (be careful, it must be natural .. especially no vanillin or synthetic aromas)
- if we add cocoa powder, it means that the cocoa used is not aromatic enough and that we want to reinforce this cocoa taste.. it's like adding foundation to a slightly damaged…
- other elements can enliven your taste buds: hazelnuts, praline, caramel... all of this is a plus, but make sure that the ingredients chosen are natural
2. Decipher the cocoa content
Is cocoa content an indicator of quality?
Well, it depends on the type of chocolate! Here is how to decipher the cocoa percentage of a chocolate in order to know if it is better when it is very dark.
If your tablet displays 70% cocoa , it means that there is 30% added sugar. The higher the percentage, the less sugar there is. But this ingredient is necessary in the manufacture of chocolate, whether dark or milk.
The sugar helps to develop the aromas of the cocoa and to remove its bitter side. But if it is too present, the aromas are dissolved and you will only feel the sugar in the mouth. Balance remains the key.
The percentage of cocoa in a chocolate is not a guarantee of quality but simple information. Just like the percentage of fat, for example.
Some chocolates may have a similar cocoa content but have a completely different composition. For example, both bars may have 70% cocoa but contain more or less cocoa butter. This is what will make the chocolate more or less fatty and caloric.
At Delikao we have chosen to incorporate more cocoa mass and less cocoa butter.
Above all, it is all the stages of processing, from the harvest on the cocoa tree to the production of the chocolate, which will influence the quality of the cocoa product.
3. Understand manufacturing steps and techniques
A quality dark chocolate is one that has been pampered and shaped with love. And for that, it must have undergone the 8 transformation steps in the rules of the art.
- Harvesting : the cocoa pods must be picked when ripe from the cocoa tree. At Delikao, we work hand in hand with a craftsman who pays attention to the seasonality of raw materials.
- Fermentation : the beans are placed in fermentation boxes to develop their aromas and reduce the bitterness. Stirring must be done regularly so that the taste is then homogeneous.
- Drying : spread out in the sun or in mechanical dryers, this step reduces the humidity of the pods and increases the shelf life.
- Roasting : depending on the desired taste, the artisan roaster will use different temperatures to bring out the aromas of the cocoa. This is the most important step for the taste of chocolate.
- Grinding : this makes it possible to have a liquid cocoa paste which is called “cocoa liquor”. The result is a smooth paste ready to be transformed into chocolate. Yum.
- Conching : the paste is mixed and heated to refine the texture and taste of the chocolate but also reduce the bitterness.
- Tempering : this step cools and heats the cocoa mass until it forms a uniform crystallization which produces cocoa butter.
- Molding and cooling : the chocolate is poured into molds before being cooled to take on a solid consistency. Dark chocolate bar or gourmet coated candy, all shapes are possible!
- Tasting: it's time to bite into your favorite chocolate and let it melt in your mouth.
Everything is done so that the taste is as delicate as possible, without setting aside the parameters to be taken into consideration for optimal preservation and aging.
4. Consider labels
The certification labels do not guarantee the quality of a chocolate but relate to the working conditions and the ethics of the product . They are therefore equally important.
Here are some labels that can help you find good chocolate online :
- RainForest Alliance emphasizes environmental and social sustainability.
- Agriculture Biologique points to the conditions in which the raw materials grew.
- Equitable Trade, Fairtrade or Max Havelaar guarantee decent working conditions.
- Bean-to-bar labels **** the chocolate makers who control the entire production chain, from cultivation and production of cocoa to manufacturing.
- Cocoa Horizons improves the living conditions of cocoa farmers and highlights the social impact the product has on farming communities.
Delikao is part of the Cocoa Horizons program to provide chocolate products that do not harm farm families who live close to cocoa farms.
5. A good dark chocolate melts in your mouth
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Ok, you have made your choice and you have in front of you this long-awaited bar of dark chocolate. How to know if it is a quality chocolate or not?
Of course, the taste of aromas and colors is unique to each person. But there are certain criteria that are not wrong when it comes to checking the quality of a chocolate.
Already, your tablet must be shiny and the break very clear and frank.
But, the most important thing is the fondant . If a chocolate melts in your mouth, coats your palate while leaving behind a pleasant chocolate layer, then you will be able to recommend a load of it and enjoy it every day.
A good chocolate is like a good wine: it must stay in the mouth, without being too heavy. Its aromas stand out and the finesse of the taste makes the tasting pleasant.
In short, finding good quality chocolate on the internet is possible. The proof, ours put taste at the heart of pleasure but without guilt. Our chocolates are enriched with plants and minerals to take care of your daily worries.
Don't panic, at Delikao it's gluttony before herbalism . Plants are incorporated for their beneficial health properties but not to give flavor to the chocolate. What sacrilege otherwise.