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What is luxury chocolate?

“Luxury chocolate” certainly appears to be the most frequently used phrase when it comes to describing the quality of chocolate. Perhaps more so in the marketing of chocolate and its packaging than is actually used in day to day life. This phrase is intended to best describe the quality and flavour as more luxurious and indulgent than non-luxury chocolate, and at a higher price. In reality this doesn’t identify any particular measure of quality at all and in most instances I find the use of this selling point, particularly in supermarkets and by some chocolate makers, more of an indication of the chocolates low quality than that actually claimed. You will most probably have also seen this phrase used in conjunction with the country of Belgium as “Luxury Belgian Chocolate”. Again in reality, Belgian chocolate on the whole, and there are a few exceptions to this rule, is of a lower quality than many other European countries and has only developed into this general belief from marketing and the sheer volume of mass produced "Luxury" Belgian chocolate brands present on the UK market. French chocolate is certainly the leading light in the world of luxury chocolate, but it does come at a higher cost, of course.

When is luxury chocolate a true luxury?

To know when a chocolate is truly luxurious depends on many variables such as; where it is sold, the price, listed ingredients, the country of origin, the cocoa bean variety, the manufacturers reputation and whether they actually make the chocolate themselves directly from the cocoa bean or buy in pre-made bulk couverture and reform into chocolates. Each hold a clue to the overall quality and true luxury nature. Each indication on its own however is not a true guide but a consideration of all will reveal the true level of quality. For instance, if the chocolate is sold in a major supermarket it is more likely to be a mass-produced chocolate where quantity, for the lowest possible price, takes precedence over quality. If the chocolate contains hydrogenated fats, artificial flavourings, preservatives…you are slowly building a picture of the true type of chocolate it really is and you can then make an informed decision for your own budget and taste. We find that most people have not really tasted true, fine chocolate and are amazed at the difference in taste, particularly dark chocolate with its fruity flavours due to the high grade of cocoas used. Not everyone has the time or access even to research the finest chocolate makers in the world either and that’s where Chocolate Trading Company can provide the finest, luxury chocolate from around the world with a direct chocolate delivery to your door.

Our website is filled with the finest chocolates of course but some perfect examples of true luxury chocolate gifts would be the luxury ballotin (chocolate box) from Michel Cluizel, containing the finest quality of chocolates, comes beautifully gift wrapped and is hardly ever found on the UK high street, if at all. Truly luxurious. Another amazing luxury gift of chocolates comes in the form of a chocolate tasting box, again by Michel Cluizel and this time concerning single origin chocolates, complete with tasting notes and stunning presentation.

The Ultimate Luxury Chocolate

The most indulgent, and by its true meaning, "luxury" forms of chocolate, are typically chocolate truffles, due to their rich, ganache centres, traditionally made with cream or butter, and hot chocolate. Luxury hot chocolate is perhaps the most commonly used phrase and this best describes the pure indulgence experienced from the creamy chocolate texture of melted chocolate and maximum flavour this creates when heating chocolate, often topped with cream. The most indulgent forms of luxury chocolate are certainly the most abused category of chocolate in their make-up however and many chocolate truffles use hydrogenated fats as a more cost effective substitute for 100% cocoa butter. Charbonnel et Walker is one of the most popular British chocolate houses and whilst their chocolate truffles are good, with attractive packaging and sweeter taste suited to the UK market as a whole, they are not the purest. Charbonnel et Walker's ingredients reflect the requirement for a longer shelf life and guarantee of consistency, a balance of important factors not only for the retailer but the consumer as well. Booja Booja, another British chocolate maker creates a much more authentic chocolate truffle, coated in bitter cocoa powder and their range of chocolate truffles are also organic, dairy free and wheat and gluten free. Our own box of Superior Selection dusted french truffles are created by Michel Cluizel however and are the real deal with maximum flavour and pure ingredients. Hot drinking chocolate again is so often found to contain all manner of added ingredients and you should again be looking at these in particular to understand the quality and resulting flavour. The ingredients of hot drinking chocolate should be no different than any of the pure, dark chocolate bars found on our website. You can add milk and sugar to your own preferred taste too rather than have powdered milk and excessive sugars already included.

Luxury chocolate should contain only the best of ingredients and in preference to inferior ingredients, such as the artificial flavouring “vanillin” or hydrogentated fats, used instead of pure cocoa butter simply because its cheaper. The worlds top chocolate makers such as Michel Cluizel, Amedei, Valrhona, Pralus and Domori. Each create their chocolate from the cocoa bean (Cacaofevier), and more importantly a high grade "fine Flavour" cocoa as oppose to low grade "bulk cocoa", create the most luxurious of chocolates in the truest sense of the word, with their gourmet chocolates ranging from the finest, single origin chocolate to the most indulgent of luxury chocolate boxes and specialist chocolate tasting gifts. Their chocolates are as pure as chocolate can be. Michel Cluizel, often described as the world’s best chocolate maker has led the way with their “noble ingredients” stamp of approval, denoting their chocolate contain only pure cocoa butter, cane sugar in preference over refined and the finest Bourbon vanilla pod for natural flavouring. Their award winning range of single estate bars contain just cocoa, cane sugar and Bourbon Vanilla pod, offering the most diverse and flavoursome chocolate you can buy, and the purest.

So the next time you see the words “luxury chocolate”, when choosing a chocolate bar or box of luxury chocolates, even a chocolate dessert, just take a closer look, otherwise you may be paying a lot more for something quite inferior and not so unobtainable as one is being led to believe.

Now you have the knowledge to make your own informed decision as to which luxury chocolate you wish to buy and enjoy.

Why not take a look around our award winning website, read our exclusive interviews and features about the world's best chocolate makers in our collection, view the products listed ingredients and order your chocolate online for a fast, tracked delivery.

By The Chocolate Traveller

Chocolate Trading Company

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