Taste Test: Fine Chocolate vs. Grocery Store Chocolate

Matt Caputo from Tony Caputo’s Market & Deli says fine chocolate is his passion. And discovering the distinctive personalities of fine chocolate is not only a pleasure, but so easy, regular people can be chocolate connoisseurs!


The difference between what experts consider fine chocolate and regular grocery store chocolate is easy for anyone to taste. The beans used to make the chocolates are not all created equally and exhibit different qualities based on the type of bean used. Additionally, if the bean is very good quality, it will taste dramatically different depending on where it is grown; whereas, a bean of poor quality will taste similar no matter where it is grown.

There are many myths that surround dark chocolate. For example, one popular myth says, “The more bitter, the better.” This could not be further from the truth. Only cheap beans called Forestero are bitter. This strong bitter flavor actually gets in the way of the underlying nuances and complex flavors connoisseurs look for in fine chocolate. On the other hand very rare beans called Criollo are not bitter at all, but are exploding in flavors such as tart berry, floral honey, leather, tobacco etc. Thus, connoisseurs actually avoid overly bitter chocolate.

Like with wine grapes, where cacao beans are grown dramatically effects their flavor. The soils of each indigenous area are unique in their geologic and biologic make up. Furthermore, everything from temperature variation to slant of the land can affect the flavor. For example, a very good bean from Madagascar will always taste of tart berry, citrus and grape skin. While an Indonesian bean will taste of smoke, leather and damp forest flavors such as undergrowth and mushrooms.


To the chocolate novice the difference must certainly sound dubious or exaggerated at best. That all changes at the well attended Intro to Fine Chocolate classes held every month at Tony Caputo’s Market & Deli. Patrons come skeptical and leave amazed and awakened, well on their way to becoming connoisseurs of a very healthy product. To sign up, call Matt at 519-5754.

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