“Who doesn’t like chocolate?” has got to be the most rhetorical question of all times.
Unlike other fine treats like cheese or beer, chocolate meets everybody’s taste with its irresistible flavor and countless alternatives. However, how many times have we called ourselves “chocolate lovers” when we didn’t even know where chocolate came from, how it was made or who was involved in its production?
To love a food is to know it deeply and make conscious decisions when we buy it, consume it and talk about it. So it’s time to step up our game! If you want to keep carrying around the title of “chocolate lover”, here are 10 silly mistakes you should stop making:
- Choose a chocolate bar based on its cocoa percentage
Sorry to burst your bubble, but eating only chocolate with high cacao percentages doesn’t make you a chocolate lover. More specifically, believing that a chocolate bar is high-quality just because it surpasses 80% cacao doesn’t make you a finer palate. It’s like judging a bottle of wine based on its alcoholic percentage. “I am a wine lover because I drink only wine with an alcohol percentage of 13% and above”. Doesn’t it sound silly? Just as you calling yourself a chocolate lover because you only eat chocolate that contains 80% cacao and above. Keep your mind open to different cacao percentages. It’s the quality of cacao that matters, not the quantity.
- 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. Even the most experienced chocolate nerds can fall for this smart marketing. Checking the ingredients list casts every doubt and avoids silly mistakes.
- Trust the hype and not your taste buds
There is a lot of buzz around a specific chocolate bar or brand. You give in and buy into the hype. Then go home, try it and are not impressed. Is there something wrong with your palate? Is your taste not “as fine” as the other chocoholics? Should you try that chocolate again and again until you like it? NO, NO and NO. You shouldn’t let other people’s opinions dictate your preferences. Chocolate is a pleasure whose only goal is to satisfy your taste buds, not make you part of a crowd. Your instinct in the moment is always right. You like what you like, and will experiment at your own pace to find out what pleases you the most. Trusting the hype and not your taste buds is extremely silly and doesn’t make you a smart chocolate lover.
- 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 extremely silly. The making of cacao involves many factores: genetics, soil, farming practices, weather conditions and post-harvesting processes, just to name a few. The quality of cacao varies widely from region to region, province by province, area by area and even between neighboring farms. Choosing chocolate from specific producers, single-varieties and skillful chocolate makers is a smarter way to go about it.
- Get stuck on the same old flavors
2020 is a brand new decade, and it’s time you let your palate experiment with brand new flavors. Chocolate makers are so creative nowadays that they include the weirdest, craziest and most fun ingredients in their creations. Incredibly, chocolate serves as a great base for a wide array of inclusions, from salty treats like potato chips and seaweed, to extra spicy things like curry and black teas, all the way to extreme fruitiness like Japanese citrus and passion fruit. Why limit yourself to the same old? One thing is having preferences, another one is missing out on new adventurous flavors. Time to be brave and explore all that the chocolate world has to offer!
- Rejoice for low prices
Being happy for cheap chocolate deals makes you all but a chocolate lover. Those who truly love chocolate know that low prices mean low quality and low pay for everybody involved in its making, from seed to bonbon. A true chocoholic doesn’t think selfishly about his/her taste buds alone, but takes into consideration the whole picture. When chocolate is made with minimal and simple ingredients, flavorful raw material and transparent sources, it can’t possibly be cheap or “a steal”. If you are a chocolate lover, you are happy to pay the price of good chocolate that carries no regrets, no suffering and no shady practices attached.
- Put chocolate in the fridge
This divides the line between amateurish chocolate lovers and professional chocolate lovers. The low temperature inside the fridge changes chocolate’s physical composition, making the sugar and the fat inside go crazy and rise to the surface. Texture changes, and also the flavor of the chocolate risks to get affected by all the other ingredients in the fridge. Even the most carefully crafted chocolate immediately lowers its quality inside the fridge. A big NO-NO! There are better places to store your chocolate: cool, dark, dry and far away from heat and light sources, like a pantry, a cabinet, or a drawer. If you want to take it to the next level, a wine cooler will make you win the chocoholic championship.
- Never shop online
If you are not shopping for your fine chocolate online, you are missing out on a big chunk of opportunities. Many brands are now born online and keep living there only, without a physical location, thriving on the sales from their websites and Social Media. When you open your browser, you have the entire chocolate world at your feet: companies from every country, distributors, retailers, monthly chocolate subscriptions, tasting boxes, limited editions, giveaways. Choices are UNLIMITED between vegan, gluten-free, organic, dark, milk, white, with inclusions, single origin, single farm and more! These companies know how to do international shipping so that the chocolate arrives safe and intact at your door. Limiting yourself to the local supermarket with all these choices around is silly. Have fun exploring!
- Taste chocolate right after a meal
Unfortunately, we tend to treat chocolate like the sweet bite at the end of a meal. How many of us indulge in a piece of chocolate after dinner? You know exactly what I am talking about. But if you are a chocolate lover, you are mistreating your favorite food if you enjoy it only close to your meals. When many different ingredients have already crossed your mouth, the palate is not only already tired and overwhelmed, but it’s still carrying all the miscellaneous flavors from your meal. Imagine fine chocolate coming at this point. Just an addition to the ocean of tastes already in your mouth. What a pity! If you really want to experience chocolate at its best, keep your sweet cravings at bay for one or two hours after a meal. The wait will be worth it, as you will enjoy your favorite food with a clean palate. That’s what true chocolate lovers do.
- Remain ignorant on the basic info on chocolate
It’s incredible the amount of people who call themselves “chocolate lovers”, yet they know little to nothing about what should be their favorite food. Where does cacao grow in the world? How is cacao turned into chocolate? Who invented chocolate? What machines are used in its making? How to recognize quality chocolate? If you can’t answer these questions, it’s time to start researching, reading and digging deeper into your favorite food to get at least the most basic info. You can’t say to love a food if you know nothing about how it comes to life.
Which ones of these silly mistakes have you been guilty of?