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What is a good chocolate

Are you eating a good chocolate? How to identify the quality of a chocolate?

We all love chocolate

Humans are usually sweet lovers, if we try the same sweet at different places, we might understand and get knowledge on what is actually a good one and made to perfection. Similarly, the more and more you try different chocolate varieties, the more knowledge you will gain about the quality of the chocolate.

How is chocolate made?

It is important to understand how a bar of chocolate is made and what ingredients are used to make different chocolate bases. 

Chocolate is made with roasted cacao beans, cocoa butter, sugar, and milk powder. It takes about 12+ hours of grinding the cocoa nibs in a heavy stone grinder. For few chocolate bases (the more silky ones) they usually continue the grinding for more than 24hrs to get the perfection.

Single origin chocolate

Single-origin chocolate means, chocolate made with one origin cacao beans. We have different regions like Asia, Africa, America, South America, Indian, Ivory Coast cocoa, Ghana, Indonesia, Brazil etc. Like how we have many varieties of mangoes, though they all come from similar mango trees depending upon the seed, similarly we have a few varieties of cacao plants. All the cacao trees look the same, but the cacao pods may look a bit different in terms of the texture, flavor, and amount of cocoa butter the cacao beans have. Often it is believed that single-origin chocolates made with the same region, have one natural flavor, this single-origin chocolate becoming popular in recent times, because of the original and natural flavors they carry.

There is another chocolate developing which is called single estate chocolate. They usually made from one farm of cacao beans. Most organic chocolate makers are developing such kinds of chocolate to mark their unique flavor of the chocolate.

Recently few big companies have produced single cacao pod chocolate, which is obviously more expensive, but there must be such demand from customers who wants to explore more about different chocolates.

Chocolate base

We have 3 varieties of chocolate bases. Dark, milk, and white chocolate. All the chocolate bases are made with different combinations of ingredients. Dark chocolate is made with cacao liquor (cacao paste/cacao powder), cocoa butter, and sugar. Milk chocolate is made with cacao liquor, cocoa butter, sugar, and milk powder. Whereas white chocolate is a bit different, they don't use cacao liquor or paste, but it is made with cocoa butter, sugar, and milk powder. The below simple graphic explains the chocolate base. Recently, one big MNC has come up with the Ruby chocolate base. Since it is very new version, we can definitely talk about it in future.

Chocolate base formula

Understanding the importance of Cocoa butter

Cocoa butter is one the finest natural fat we have from the source of cacao beans. There are many health benefits of cocoa butter mostly for improving skin health. That's why cocoa butter is used in many skin products and cosmetic products. Since it has high demand, many companies extract cocoa butter from cacao beans and sell them as a separate product. The remaining cacao powder which is left out after extracting cocoa butter is often used to make compound chocolate. Cocoa butter is the soul of chocolate, compound chocolate is made without the soul and important ingredient of the chocolate.

The more cocoa butter your chocolate has, the richer chocolate it is. When you are purchasing chocolate for baking, check the cocoa butter contains in the chocolate base. 


What is a couverture chocolate?

Couverture chocolate is the chocolate that has cocoa butter. Often couverture chocolate is considered as the real chocolate. In baking also, you have to process it differently to make your final product. Couverture chocolate has to be tempered to use in making chocolates, whereas compound chocolate doesn't require to be tempered but just melting is enough. Usually, couverture chocolate is made with extra cocoa butter.

The below image explains the percentage of cocoa and cocoa butter in the chocolate base.

Check for cocoa liquor and cocoa butter on the package to understand how it is made.


Check for cocoa liquor and cocoa butter on the package to understand how it is made.

What is a compound chocolate

Compound chocolate is made with cacao beans, but without cocoa butter, sugar and vegetable oils, and unknown fats. Since cocoa butter has high in demand for various food production, cosmetic products and to use in chocolate production to give extra cocoa butter and a smooth experience. We don't recommend compound chocolate, in fact, many countries have banned compound chocolate.  We strongly recommend staying away from any combination of compound chocolate. Many beginner bakers and chefs learn and use compound chocolate because making chocolate or any product with compound chocolate is very easy. But they are not usually taught or ignore the fact that compound chocolate is not good for health.

Not just when you are purchasing baking chocolate, but also when you are purchasing cocoa powder, make sure to check if the powder has cocoa butter or not.


Tempering the chocolate

Usually, good chocolate is made by tempering (you may search on Google and YouTube), perfectly tempered chocolate gives a very good glossy and attractive finish. When you snap good chocolate it should be cracked with a snap with easiness. Non-tempered chocolates or compound chocolates don't give you that experience.

Glossy finish & Snap

Good chocolate usually has a nice glossy finishing because it comes only from perfect tempering, and tempering is made for only couverture chocolate. Good chocolate can be broken with a snap and a nice crack sound, this is another way of finding if the one is good chocolate or not.

How to consume a chocolate?

When you consume a bar of chocolate, the best way is not to chew it, but melt the chocolate while keeping it between your tongue and jaw. Which gives you a good experience of chocolate and is best practice to protect your teeth. When you finish the chocolate, you should not feel that the chocolate is left in your throat like you consumed a wax.

Trust big companies

We always recommend you to go with well-branded chocolate manufacturers, it's believed that they are in the market for a very long time because they have been producing quality chocolate. Check their licenses and experience in chocolate making.

Conclusion

On this page, we tried to discuss and give you the knowledge about chocolate. You may understand and judge yourself to identify what is good chocolate. 

What is a good chocolate

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