Fancy indulging your sweet tooth with something a little bit special? Then delve into our selection of the best chocolate
There aren’t many things in life that beat tucking into really good chocolate. The best chocolate doesn’t always have to be fancy or high-end but good quality stuff really does stand out from the crowd. However, with more and more chocolatiers entering an already saturated market, how do you separate the good from the overwhelmingly average?
While there’s definitely room in life for mass-market bars such as Mars Bars and Kit Kat, it’s telling that the sales of mass-produced chocolate are slumping, while the likes of Green & Blacks and Rococo are enjoying a continued rise in sales. Chocolate is, of course, very subjective. But we like to think that we’ve considered everyone in our round-up below.
We’ve munched our way through a range of brands, big and small, to reveal those chocolates that we think really hit the mark. For those with ethical concerns and/or dietary requirements, as well as those on a budget, fear not – as we’ve got you covered too.
How we test chocolate
The first thing we look at when testing chocolate is the product’s ingredients. For a high quality chocolate, we like to see a nice high cocoa content, as well as a minimal ingredient list without too many additives or artificial flavours. When taste-tasting the chocolate, we’re looking for pleasant flavours that are representative of its style. Sharp, rich and slightly fruity for dark chocolate, sweet, creamy and rich for milk chocolate, and sugary, buttery and milky for white chocolate.
Another factor we consider is the variety of chocolates and quality of fillings, specifically when testing mixed boxes. Value for money, the design and quality of the packaging, and how ethically the chocolate is produced and sold are also of high importance.
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The best chocolate to buy in 2023
1. Green & Black’s Organic Tasting Collection: Best affordable tasting collection
Price when reviewed: £13 | Check price at Green & Black’sSo many chocolatiers get butterscotch bars spectacularly wrong. Too sugary, too brittle or even too soft. G&B, the original fair-trade chocolatiers, gets it spot on with their crisp butterscotch made especially for them in Yorkshire. And that’s just one example of the flavours that G&B have come up trumps with this fabulous box, with others including their zingy dark chocolate with ginger, sweet-and-sour milk chocolate with Anglesey sea salt and vanilla-rich white chocolate, among others. If you can’t decide which G&B bar to buy, this collection of 24 miniature bars (with larger classic 70 per cent dark chocolate) is a winner – and it all comes with tasting notes and recipes.
Key features – Weight: 395g; Suitable for vegetarians: Yes; Suitable for vegans: No; Organic: Yes; Fairtrade: Yes; Single origin: No
2. Willie’s Cacao sea salt caramel black pearls: Best filled dark chocolate
Price when reviewed: £7.95 | Check price at Willie’s CacaoThe second you taste one of these decadent little pearls, it becomes quite clear that you’re tasting quality, cocoa-rich chocolate. Each pearl has a thick, dark chocolate shell that doesn’t crumble as soon as you bite into it. The sea salt caramel filling is generous but could be a little saltier in our opinion, although this doesn’t take away from the overall flavour.
They are very much meant for dark chocolate lovers, so if you prefer a chocolate that’s on the sweeter side, these probably aren’t for you. However, If you like it rich with a hint of bitter fruitiness, these hit the spot.
Key features – Weight: 150g (per pack); Suitable for vegetarians: Yes; Suitable for vegans: No; Organic: No; Fairtrade: No; Single origin: Yes
3. Melt Vegan Chocolate Gift Box of 10: Best vegan chocolate box
Price when reviewed: £20 | Check price at Melt Founded in 2006, fans of luxury chocolate will have heard of Melt. The company’s boutiques, based in Notting Hill and Holland Park, are a treasure chest of handmade, out-of-this-world chocolates, with all the recipes designed in-house. If you’re after something that will awaken all the senses then this gift box is sure to do the job. Its cocoa delights include four dark chocolate truffles with ganache and four praline cups topped with crunchy nuts. Top-drawer and ridiculously tasty, we suggest devouring them slowly to savour the taste.
Key features – Weight: 110g; Suitable for vegetarians: Yes; Suitable for vegans: Yes; Organic: No; Fairtrade: No; Single origin: No
4. Bettys Cru Sauvage Truffles: Best chocolate truffles you can buy
Price whenr reviewed: £27 | Check price at BettysThere are truffles and there are truffles. And these ones, made from top-notch ingredients, are the best we have ever come across (and we’ve tried a few). The velvety smooth, rich ganache is perfectly complemented by the intense grand cru chocolate made from wild cocoa in the Bolivian Amazon. And the ever-so-slightly crunchy outer layer – which is moulded to look like Mont Blanc – is finished with a dusting of quality cocoa. They will wow you with their deliciousness and, probably due to the richness, aren’t as moreish as some – a good job as you only get 12 in a pack.
Key features – Weight: 130g; Suitable for vegetarians: Yes; Suitable for vegans: No; Organic: No; Fairtrade: No; Single origin: Yes
5. Booja Booja the Gourmet Selection chocolate truffles: Best vegan chocolate truffles
Price when reviewed: £19 | Check price at Chocolate Trading CoThese vegan chocolates might be on the pricey side but they’re likely to be some of the best you’ve ever eaten. It’s impossible to tell these truffles are dairy, gluten and soy-free; they’re decadent and creamy, without being overpowering.
There’s an impressive selection of different flavours in the box. Some of our favourites included the hazelnut crunch and the almond salted caramel, although they were all a real treat. You get 20 chocolates in total and there’s an equal mix of flavours, so everyone can enjoy one of each – if you’re sharing, of course.
Key features – Weight: 230g; Suitable for vegetarians: Yes; Suitable for vegans: Yes; Organic: Yes; Fairtrade: No; Single origin: Yes