If you are making chocolate candies, the flavour of the end product will depend on the quality of chocolate used. All chocolates are not created equal and there is strong correlation between price and quality. This does not imply that you should always go after the most expensive chocolate, but the fact is that high quality chocolates contain more cocoa butter and cocoa solids than their less quality counterparts.
The main way to select chocolates is through the sensory experience. Observe the chocolate closely, before you bite into it. Ideally, the chocolate must be smooth and glossy without any blemishes. If the surface is grey, cloudy or scarred, it is an indicator that the chocolate is old or it has been subject to extremes of temperature or rough handling.
The next test is to break the chocolate into sections. The ideal situation would be a clean, hard snap. If it bends or crumbles, again it is a sign that the chocolate is old or it is of low quality.
High quality chocolate will have a strong ‘chocolaty’ smell. First, warm the chocolate by rubbing its surface with fingers, and then, smell the chocolate. If the smell does not reflect chocolate smell and rather has smell of vanilla or other ingredients, probably it won’t taste like chocolate either.
One quality of chocolate is that it picks up odours from its environment easily, so your chocolates may smell like coffee, tea or any other smelly food stuff.
Next, taste the chocolate. Consider how it melts in the mouth. Does it taste unpleasant, chewy, dense or waxy? Does it leave a slippery feeling? Does it feel smooth or sandy? In sum, a smooth velvety mouth feel is preferred.
Also, consider the range of flavours found in your chocolate. Some of the common flavours include citrus, floral, coffee, berry and undertones of wine. Pay attention to whether there is a burst of flavour or whether it leaves a lingering taste. It is important that you trust only your own taste buds.
Chocolate selection is a highly personal task, and you will learn how to choose chocolates that best suit your taste buds. For the chocolate fan, there are a wide variety of chocolates available in the market.
So what is chocolate? It is the product of a lengthy refining process, which starts with the cocoa beans (fruit) derived from the tree called as Theobroma Cacoa. The beans are dried, fermented, ground and roasted. The by-products are cocoa butter and chocolate liquor.
The type of chocolate depends on the amount of cocoa butter and chocolate liquor used in the chocolate. Also, it depends on other ingredients like milk solids, sugar, dried fruits, etc.
The main types of chocolate products in the market are:
- Cocoa powder
- Bittersweet chocolate
- Unsweetened chocolate
- Dark chocolate
- Sweet dark chocolate
- Semi sweet chocolate
- Milk chocolate
- Couverture chocolate
- White chocolate
- Gianduja chocolate
- Couverture chocolate
- Chocolate for ‘candy coating’.
These are the main varieties of chocolate in the market, and one can send chocolates by post to loved ones, especially in a chocolate gift basket.