The Complete Buyer’s Guide to Dark Chocolate
Chocolate is usually a favourite of all. It is one thing used to express love, resolve fights, and makes you feel good whenever you feel the blues. Chocolate comes in different forms such as white chocolate, milk chocolate, or dark chocolate. However, in recent years, dark chocolate has come to play a more considerable role in the market. If you prefer chocolate that is not excessively sweet, dark chocolate is the thing for you. So if you are thinking of getting dark chocolate here is what you should understand.
What Is Dark Chocolate?
Dark chocolate is produced by the addition of fat and sugar to cocoa. It is different from milk chocolate as it contains little to no milk solids.It also called bittersweet and semisweet chocolate. However, there is a slight difference in sugar content.The simplest way to know if your chocolate is "dark" or not go for the one with 70% or higher total cocoa content. Dark chocolate is incredibly healthy and nutritious.
However, there are many brands available, and not all of them are created equal. Some are better than others, based on the ingredients and processing methods.
So which dark chocolate should you choose?
Follow this guide to find out everything you need to know about choosing the best dark chocolate.
#1 The Percentage of cocoa
Dark chocolate is well known for having powerful antioxidant properties. However, Dark chocolate has a wide range of cocoa percentages, which can confuse you. It is important to look for bars that have a cocoa content of 70% or higher. Higher-percentage dark chocolate has a higher concentration of antioxidants and nutrients. Consumption of chocolate with a higher cocoa content is related to many health benefits, such as improved heart health and brain function.
Chocolate with a higher cocoa percentage also has a lower percentage of sugar
#2 The taste
Dark chocolate has an acquired taste. Owing to this not everyone likes it. Dark chocolate has a higher content of cocoa solids and hence the taste. So, before you order dark chocolate for someone, you must know exactly what the other person likes.
#3 Ingredients of Chocolate
If you are the one who is a health freak it is best to choose dark chocolate made with as few ingredients as possible.
The best dark chocolate always comes with chocolate liquor or cocoa listed as the first ingredient. There may be many forms of cocoa listed, like cocoa powder, cocoa nibs, and cocoa butter. All of these are sustainable additions.Many a time these additional ingredients are added to dark chocolate to enhance its appearance, flavor, and increase its shelf life. Some of these ingredients do not cause any harm, while others can negatively affect the overall quality of the chocolate.
Sugar is added to dark chocolate to balance its bitter taste.While sugar is an important component of dark chocolate, some brands go way ahead with it.The key is to choose the one that does not have sugar listed first on the ingredients list.Better yet, go for the one that has sugar last on its list.Also, a higher percentage of cocoa, the lower the sugar content.
Lecithin is an optional ingredient that is added to dark chocolate. It's added to various store-bought chocolates as an emulsifier. It helps to prevent the separation of cocoa and cocoa butter and helps blend flavors. Lecithin is used in such small amounts in chocolate so that it doesn’t pose any concerns regarding the health effects or quality.When you're choosing a brand, remember that lecithin isn't absolutely essential to make chocolate.
High-quality dark chocolate should have no milk added to it.The only exception would be milk fat. This is importantly butter that has had its moisture and non-fat solids eliminated.Milk fat is added to dark chocolate to soften it and enhance flavor. Milk fat is not a necessary ingredient to make dark chocolate.
Dark chocolate often comes flavored with spices, extracts, and oils to improve its taste.If you want flavored dark chocolate, choose one that comes with organic flavors. That way its health quotient is guaranteed.
#8 Trans Fat
If the ingredient list of dark chocolate reads Trans Fat, avoid it. Consumption of Trans is a considerable risk factor for heart disease.If hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil is present, that means the bar contains trans-fat.
#10 Other additions
Dark chocolate comes with many other additions such as sea salt, caramel,and also orange. These classic combinations are readily available in the market. However, if you want to cut out that bitter taste in a healthy way, go for dark chocolate with added fruits.
#11 Level of bitterness
Another factor to consider is the level of bitterness in your dark chocolate. Dark chocolate comes with various variations as per the amount of cocoa solids. The range of cocoa solids means there is a dark chocolate bar to please every palette. Make sure to remember the fact that the level of bitterness increases with the percentage of cocoa solids, the more the cocoa solids the bitter is the taste.
Hence we can conclude that the best dark chocolate is the one that has a high percentage of cocoa (70% and higher) and does not contain any unnecessary ingredients. There are many health benefits of dark chocolate. Follow these tips to ensure that the dark chocolate you indulge in is high in quality, rich in antioxidants, and nevertheless delicious.