What is fine chocolate?
High quality chocolate is made from a combination of finely ground cocoa beans and sugar. Balancing the flavor characteristics of the fermented, roasted beans with the sugar (a flavor carrier) is an art. The beans naturally contain cocoa butter, which gives chocolate its snap and shine. Some chocolate is made with extra cocoa butter (for silkiness), vanilla (for flavor) or lecithin (an emulsifier). Milk chocolate includes a little dairy. White chocolate – though technically not chocolate – is blend of cocoa butter, sugar and milk.
What about cocoa liquor?
The paste of ground cocoa beans is also called cocoa liquor – a little misleading, since there's no alcohol there. Cocoa liquor makes chocolate, chocolate. Because white chocolate doesn't have it, it's technically not chocolate (but still very tasty with fresh mint leaves).
Ganache is a mix of chocolate, cream, sugar and (for Lioni) fresh ingredients and spices. It is enrobed (or coated) in high quality chocolate.
Here are a few ways to get the most out of your chocolate tasting experience:
1) Put a truffle in your mouth and wait for it to melt.
As chocolate melts, its layers of flavors unfold. Cocoa butter keeps the chocolate solid until just before it reaches 98.6°. Right before it hits human body temperature, the butter melts and falls apart in a lovely way that coats the inside of your mouth. That's scientific proof that people (not dogs) were meant to enjoy chocolate.
2) Resist the urge to refrigerate the chocolates (or put them in the sun).
Refrigerator temperatures cause ganache and caramel to become rock hard and lose their natural texture. Additionally, cold temperatures cause the cocoa butter in the chocolate to rise to the surface (a.k.a. "bloom"). Although bloomed chocolates are still fine to eat, they don't look as nice. Chocolates should be covered and stored at room temperature. Please enjoy them within a week of purchase to experience their peak flavors.
Chocolates should be stored and covered at room temperature and enjoyed within a week of purchase to experience their peak flavors.
3) It’s not such a bad idea to eat a box in one sitting.
The fresher the better. Nothing beats a freshly made ganache enrobed in a thin coat of fine chocolate. Can’t live up to the pressure of finishing the chocolates alone? Sharing chocolates is a great way to make (and keep) friends.
4) Create a memory.
Use a piece of chocolate as an excuse to pause what you’re doing; what you're thinking. Take a moment to live in that moment and appreciate whatever makes you happy.