Often when I ask people what kind of chocolate they like, they tell me the percentage that they tend to go for. I understand why this is the case; most of us have grown up eating chocolate made with the same type of cacao - usually Forastero from West Africa - so the biggest difference from one bar to the next has mainly been the percentage of cacao, as well as any other added ingredients.
What a lot of our customers have now discovered is that the chocolate we sell is made with very different varieties of cacao, and each has its own unique flavour. Some of these cacaos are naturally light and sweet, whereas others are deeper and darker, so the percentage of cacao doesn’t always represent how intense, dark or bitter the chocolate will be. If somebody asked you what kind of wine you like, you probably wouldn’t tell them a percentage, you’d say ‘Pinot’ or ‘Riesling’, ‘dry’ or ‘sweet’, ‘Marlborough’ or ‘Central Otago’, etc. This is how it should be with chocolate. Although we’re all still learning about this new world of craft chocolate and the amazing varieties of cacao that exist, I hope there will be a day when I ask somebody what type of chocolate they like and they reply with something like ‘fruity’ or ‘earthy’, ‘Peruvian’ or ‘Madagascan’. I believe this will start to happen over the next few years.
In the meantime, I’ve added some useful flavour icons to each chocolate on the website, like this...
I hope this will help people to learn which type of chocolate they enjoy, and to pick things that are suitable for their palate. Chocolate with added flavour ingredients will display the ‘flavoured’ icon, but otherwise all the icons you’ll see represent notes you can taste in the cacao, just like the different flavours you would find in your favourite wine, beer or coffee.
If you ever want advice choosing chocolate, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com, or pop down to one of our markets and have a little taste.