Chocolate shopping tips

Between misleading claims, shiny packaging and savvy storytelling, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to make the best decisions when shopping for chocolate.

Here are the biggest mistakes you should avoid to ensure you are only buying quality chocolate:

1) Ignore the ingredients list
Do you know that a lot of chocolate bars on the market are named “Intensely Dark” or “Extra Dark”, but actually contain milk powder? Companies can’t legally market these as dark chocolate, but everything on their packaging makes you think otherwise. If you don’t check the ingredients list, you can be already on your way home before you find out the bad news. In the same way, checking the ingredients list will tell you clearly about the quality of the chocolate. If the ingredients list gets too long, includes ingredients you can’t recognize or that seem unnecessary for that kind of chocolate, run for the hills!

2) Be fooled by countries of origin
Ecuador, Peru, Ghana, Vietnam, Colombia, Venezuela, India, Honduras, Madagascar. The array of names that you can find on chocolate is wide, especially now that even large companies are putting the countries of origin on their chocolate products. But are these exotic names a sign of quality? Absolutely not! Bringing home a Venezuela bar rather than a Philippine one is an indicator of preference, not expertise. Believing that a country does cacao better than another one is kind of silly. Making your decisions based on specific producers, cacao varieties, cacao farms and skillful chocolate makers is a smarter way to go about it.

3) Rejoice for low prices
When chocolate is made with minimal and simple ingredients, flavorful raw material and transparent sources, it can’t possibly be cheap or “a steal”. The cacao paid a premium price, the long processing hours, the small-scale machines, the hand wrapped packaging and the attentive care of the maker make up the high quality of a chocolate bar that should be equally compensated.

Try to remember these tips for your next chocolate shopping spree!

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