The easiest was to find out is for you to do a TASTE TEST
You will need two pieces of chocolate, one of either Cadbury or Nestle milk chocolate and the other, a piece of Belgian milk chocolate. It doesn’t have to be a big piece – about the size of a 20p piece will do. Make sure that both pieces are at room temperature before you start.
Firstly, hold each between your thumb and finger for about 15 seconds and feel the difference. If you are really co-ordinated you can do both at the same time – one in each hand! The Belgian chocolate will still be much firmer than the other one.
Now do the Sniff Test
Get up close and really sniff them both. Does one smell more chocolatey than the other? I’m guessing that the most chocolatey smell is from the Belgian chocolate.
Now you need to taste the different.Pop your piece of Cadbury or Nestle chocolate into your mouth and let it melt – try not to chew it, just try to think about how long it takes to melt as well as its taste and texture. When it has melted you should think about the taste you have left in your mouth. How long does the taste last?
Wait at least 3 minutes before doing the second tasting.
Waiting is important if you really want to find out the difference between these two types of chocolate. When you are ready, do your taste test again with your piece of Belgian chocolate. Put it in your mouth, let it melt, think about the texture and taste and how long it takes to melt, and finally, once you have eaten it, again think about the taste left in your mouth and how long it lingers.
So, what were the differences?
Did you find that the piece of Cadbury or Nestle chocolate became softer when you held it, melted faster, tasted sweeter and the taste didn’t last as long after you had eaten it?
Did you find that the Belgian chocolate stayed firmer when you held it, smelled and tasted more chocolatey, and the flavour in your mouth lasted longer?
If your answer to both these questions was YES then you are on the way to understanding why Belgian chocolate is more expensive. The reason is quite simple, it has lots of one very special ingredient that is found naturally in cocoa beans.
The special ingredient in Belgian Chocolate is Cocoa Butter.
Yes – cocoa butter – it’s the same thing as you find in expensive cosmetic creams. Cocoa Butter is very hard (like candle wax) and so it melts slowly. It is also a very good carrier for other flavours, and with Belgian milk chocolate, the other flavour is the cocoa mass – that’s the dark stuff that gives milk (and dark) chocolate its colour and flavour. Put the cocoa mass and the cocoa butter together and you have something called ‘cocoa solids’ and you are back to the only two ingredients that come from cocoa beans.
If you take out some, or all, of the cocoa butter from chocolate you have to replace it with something else, that is usually vegetable fats and oils. These vegetable oils are usually liquid at room temperature so if they are put into chocolate, this chocolate will be fairly soft at room temperature. To help the balance of flavours manufactures may also reduce the amount of cocoa mass and up the amount of sugar. But what they don’t seem to be able to do, is find a way to make the chocolate taste linger as long as Belgian chocolate, with all its cocoa butter.
How can you tell if a chocolate has the cocoa butter removed? It is unlikely a chocolate bar label will tell you how much cocoa butter is there, but it must tell you all the ingredients.
Belgian milk chocolate has a cocoa solids percentage (that is cocoa mass plus cocoa butter), plus milk, sugar, natural vanilla and usually an emulsifier, for example soya or sunflower lecithin (about 0.05%). If your chocolate label has any other ingredients, for example, palm oil, then you know for certain, some of the cocoa butter has been removed and replaced with a cheaper ingredient.
Your preference, your choice – but hopefully you are able to understand why Belgian chocolate is more expensive that Cadbury or Nestle.
If you would like to do your own taste test and do not have any Belgian Milk Chocolate, please pop into our shop and we will give you a piece to take away & try at home.