Like a fine wine, gourmet chocolate is the thing to which our palates instantly respond – ruining us forever for the average store-sold candy bar. While it’s true that chocolate of any variety will surely bring joy to the consumer, gourmet chocolate delivers a special treat for the taste buds. But, as would be expected, it can come at a price.
Gourmet chocolate can not be defined but rather must be experienced. What may be considered gourmet to some may be perfectly ordinary to another; in short the term ‘gourmet’ can be more than a bit subjective. But most chocolate enthusiasts agree that gourmet chocolate falls within the boundaries of that chocolate that is prepared with a certain level of care and an eye towards quality.
Such quality includes the highest percentage of cocoa butter. In many cases, a certain amount of cocoa butter is removed from the chocolate and replaced with vegetable fat. This significantly compromises the quality of the chocolate. Truly gourmet chocolate will contain the highest amount of cocoa butter – followed by sugar. Sugar should never be the first ingredient listed on chocolate.
Gourmet chocolate often derives from highly regarded chocolatiers who have built their business on using quality ingredients. Many are family businesses passed down from generation to generation. This is not to say that factories can not produce gourmet chocolate, but it stands to reason that the more personal attention the chocolate making process is given the higher quality the finished product. Many reputable chocolatiers pride themselves on their handmade chocolate and for those who taste it the effort is difficult to argue.
Gourmet chocolate runs the price range from astronomical to quite manageable. Regardless of your budget, with a little research – and a lot of tasting – you can find a delectable gourmet chocolate that’s just right for you.