Chocolate Expert Guesses Which Chocolate Is More Expensive and Explains Why | Price Points

in this episode of 'Price Points', Epicurious challenges chocolate expert Amy Guittard of Guittard Chocolate Company to guess which chocolate is more expensive. Guittard breaks down chocolate chips, white chocolate, dark chocolate, and cocoa powder. For each type, the connoisseur looks at and taste tests each chocolate before guessing which chocolate costs more. Once the prices are revealed, Guittard explains why a specific chocolate costs more and how each chocolate is prepared.

Released on 5/1/2018

Credits

Starring: Amy Guittard

Transcript

00:00
I'm Amy Guittard, and I'm a chocolate expert.
00:02
(cheery music)
00:04
I could eat the whole thing.
00:15
Baking chips,
00:16
otherwise known as chocolate chips,
00:18
which if you're a home baker,
00:19
you're probably super familiar with these.
00:21
Right out the gate, they both look pretty similar.
00:24
Not too much of a color difference.
00:26
They both have nice little tails,
00:28
which is what we call the tip of the baking chip.
00:31
So this one has a little bit of a white note to it,
00:34
it's called bloom.
00:35
It looks kind of like a white powder.
00:37
Some people might think it's mold.
00:39
If the chocolate is in a hot environment
00:42
and then it cools down in a not proper temperature,
00:46
it'll get bloom.
00:48
So since these look so similar, let's move into tasting.
00:51
So first I'm gonna try this guy over here.
00:55
So this is a little bit sweeter.
00:57
The grind itself is a little bit coarser.
01:00
The first thing I'm tasting is not chocolate,
01:03
it's sugar.
01:04
So when you're making chocolate,
01:05
first you take your beans and you roast them.
01:07
After roasting, you grind them up and make cocoa liquor,
01:11
or unsweetened chocolate.
01:12
Much the same way the one would make
01:14
peanut butter from peanuts,
01:15
you grind your peanuts to make your peanut butter,
01:18
you grind your cocoa nibs to get your unsweetened chocolate.
01:20
If you're refining on a shorter period of time,
01:23
your grain or your particle size is gonna be larger,
01:26
which means that the fat that's being released in
01:29
the mass itself is gonna have
01:31
larger globules for it to cover.
01:33
So when it's on your tongue,
01:34
it's not gonna melt as fluidly as if it were
01:37
smaller particle sizes with more cocoa butter covering them.
01:41
So in the case of this particular chocolate,
01:43
I'm tasting more sugar, which means that
01:46
not only is the mass have a higher content of sugar,
01:48
but I'm guessing that maybe in the refining stage,
01:51
they didn't refine it as finely as another brand might.
01:54
Sugar is probably the cheapest ingredient
01:57
that you'd be adding, so if a company is making
02:00
a ton of chocolate chips and just pumping them out the door,
02:04
they might be using more of the cheaper ingredient
02:06
and trying to cut down their production time,
02:08
which would be in the refining stage for instance,
02:10
which is why you're gonna have something that's
02:12
a little bit more sugary,
02:13
and a little bit larger particle size.
02:16
So now I'm gonna go ahead and taste B.
02:20
So this chocolate, when I first taste it,
02:23
it's a really nice, rich chocolate note,
02:26
it lingers a little bit longer on my tongue.
02:28
I'm tasting sugar, much like I tasted this,
02:31
but it's certainly not the first thing I'm tasting.
02:33
And also as I eat this chocolate,
02:35
it melts really evenly on my tongue.
02:38
I'm not tasting a lot of particle size in it.
02:40
This is a nice, standard, rounded,
02:43
beautifully flavored cookie drop.
02:47
I could eat the whole thing.
02:49
I think B has probably been refined a little bit more.
02:52
I'm thinking it probably has less sugar in it than A,
02:55
and I'm thinking the origins that they're using are
02:58
a little bit different than A as well.
02:59
So I'm gonna go ahead and guess that
03:00
I think B is probably the more expensive one,
03:03
but let's do the big reveal.
03:07
Oh, it is, but just by a little bit huh.
03:09
The shape is the same.
03:11
This has white on it,
03:12
but I don't think that it's due to bloom,
03:14
it might be due to just scuffing in transportation.
03:17
This particular chocolate is very sugar forward,
03:20
and the grains in the chocolate as it melts on my tongue
03:23
are really prominent.
03:24
So for your bang for your buck,
03:25
you're getting a whole lot more flavor for
03:27
just a dollar more in these guys,
03:29
than you are for these guys.
03:32
So looks like we've got some milk chocolate here,
03:34
and I can figure that out just by the colors.
03:36
And just off the bat, taking a look at them,
03:39
the color is pretty similar.
03:41
This is a little bit lighter brown,
03:45
this is a little bit of a darker brown,
03:46
but what I'm noticing more other than the color is
03:49
just the texture that you have in the chocolate itself.
03:52
In the case of this one, you can tell that the particle size
03:55
is a little bit larger,
03:57
and so when you break it and you've got that rough edge,
04:01
that to me is a clear sign that there might be
04:04
a lesser quality milk chocolate happening here.
04:07
Typically with a milk chocolate,
04:09
you can have dark milks or you can have lighter milks,
04:11
so just in looking at these, one might think that
04:14
just because it's darker it might have more cocoa in it,
04:17
but the only way to find out is to taste it.
04:19
So let's start with A.
04:23
When you do chocolate,
04:24
you have to let it melt in your mouth.
04:25
So what I'm tasting with this is
04:27
it's a really, bright, fresh dairy note.
04:30
With milk chocolate,
04:31
you're not necessarily looking for chocolate flavor,
04:34
you're really looking for milk flavor
04:35
that complements chocolate.
04:37
So in this case, it's really upfront, fresh dairy note.
04:41
The chocolate flavor's there.
04:43
It's a nice clean palate,
04:44
it lingers quite nicely on my tongue as I let it melt,
04:48
and this is a really nice, even melt as well.
04:52
Now let's try B.
04:53
Gosh, this is so soft.
04:57
So this is super,
05:02
almost like metallicy.
05:03
I don't really get chocolate,
05:05
I don't really get milk,
05:07
I get a really, sort of
05:09
burned in the back of my throat flavor.
05:12
So my guess here is that the dairy that's being used in this
05:15
might be coming from a higher quality dairy farm,
05:17
verus the dairy that's being used in this.
05:19
This could very well be grass fed dairy versus this,
05:22
although sometimes that really affects the flavor,
05:25
sometimes it doesn't.
05:26
This might be a happier cow than this guy.
05:29
So I'm guessing that with B,
05:31
the processing has probably been shortened a little bit,
05:33
maybe the refining process wasn't as laborious or thoughtful
05:37
as it was in A, but let's do the big reveal.
05:43
As suspected,
05:45
A definitely is the more expensive.
05:47
With B, the particle sizes again are quite large,
05:50
which makes it a little bit difficult to melt evenly
05:53
on my tongue,
05:54
and it's also impacting the total fat that's in the product
05:57
and how it melts on my tongue,
05:58
which is giving, again, that waxy note,
06:01
which is all a product of how it's being
06:03
manufactured or produced in factory.
06:05
My biggest hunch about this significant price difference is
06:08
not only the quality of dairy that's being used,
06:11
but also the time that's going in to manufacture this.
06:13
Something with this level of graininess,
06:16
and sort of lack of depth just in
06:19
the general delivery of milk and chocolate,
06:21
leads me to believe that it's probably more of a commodity,
06:24
that they're just pumping out
06:25
large volumes of this particular chocolate,
06:27
as opposed to this.
06:28
This is really an art and a science
06:30
that's being delivered here.
06:31
In the case that maybe you're doing a lot of volume
06:34
say with s'mores,
06:35
I would maybe consider going with the cheaper version,
06:39
but in most cases, you're really gonna be able to
06:41
tell the difference from
06:42
a really high quality milk chocolate
06:44
versus a lower quality cheaper milk chocolate,
06:47
so if you can handle the price difference,
06:50
I would always stay with trying to go with
06:51
the more expensive one.
06:54
Okay, so we've got white chocolate,
06:57
the elusive white chocolate.
07:00
Well first of all,
07:01
you can't call white chocolate white chocolate
07:04
with the word chocolate in it unless it has
07:05
20% minimum cocoa butter.
07:07
What does someone maybe replace the cocoa butter with?
07:10
Something that's probably cheaper,
07:12
which is often times like a vegetable fat.
07:14
These are both white products.
07:16
Whether they're both white chocolate,
07:17
we'll soon find out.
07:18
This is an even white color.
07:20
This is more of a yellowish color,
07:23
which leads me to believe that it might be more natural.
07:26
So when you think chocolate, you think brown,
07:27
and that brown is coming from the solids that are in
07:31
the unsweetened chocolate.
07:32
With white chocolate, it's white because it doesn't have
07:35
any of the cocoa solids in it,
07:36
it's just made up of cocoa butter,
07:38
which, without the solids, is clear.
07:40
This particular product over here is so bright white
07:44
that it might have an additive added to it,
07:47
to even out the color and drop out any off colors that
07:51
one might not want in their end product.
07:54
So now it's time to taste.
07:55
I'm gonna actually start with this one over here,
07:59
just 'cause I think it looks tastier,
08:02
why not.
08:04
So as suspected, it is melting quite evenly on my tongue.
08:09
Fun fact, cocoa butter melts at your body's temperature.
08:13
So this particular product is melting quite quickly.
08:17
I can taste some sugar, but for the most part,
08:21
it's a really fresh dairy note,
08:22
it has a little bit of citrus to it,
08:25
and it's a really creamy mouth feel,
08:28
and it's really clean.
08:29
Moving on to B, let me taste this one now.
08:32
I'm a little scared, 'cause it looks a little.
08:35
Bright white's always scary when it comes to food.
08:39
This is not melting as easily and fluidly as this one,
08:43
which makes me think that this probably is not
08:45
a white chocolate.
08:46
I'm thinking this probably has a fair amount of
08:48
vegetable fat in it, alternatively to the cocoa butter.
08:52
So I'm thinking this is probably a compound.
08:56
I also think that this has a fair amount of
08:57
vanilla added into it.
08:59
That's pretty much all I'm tasting is vanilla and sugar
09:03
when I taste this guy.
09:05
And again, the most important sort of cue to me
09:08
when I'm tasting this is that it's not melting evenly,
09:10
it's really sticky and waxy on my mouth,
09:13
and the roof of my mouth.
09:14
So, I'm gonna go ahead and say that
09:15
this is probably a compound.
09:17
This is probably a white chocolate.
09:19
And I'm gonna say that this is probably
09:21
significantly more expensive than this one.
09:23
Okay, big reveal.
09:27
Ah ha.
09:30
So this, as suspected, is a bit more pricey than this one.
09:34
If you don't have 20% minimum cocoa butter
09:37
in your final product, you can't call it chocolate.
09:39
And most of the time if something is a pure chocolate,
09:42
it's got a little bit of a yellower hue to it.
09:45
If you add vegetable fat in,
09:46
you're replacing the cocoa butter with something that is
09:50
more stable, might not require tempering.
09:52
As I thought, this probably has
09:53
a significant amount of sugar in it compared to this,
09:56
which it has some cocoa butter in it, some sugar,
09:59
and just a really beautifully made white chocolate.
10:04
Okay, so it looks like we've got some cocoa powders here.
10:08
I guess first things that I notice about these guys is that
10:10
they look like they're natural cocoa powders.
10:12
I say that because most of them are a little bit,
10:14
they're both a little bit on the lighter side.
10:16
If something's dutched,
10:16
which means adding sodium bicarbonate,
10:19
it's a dutching agent which makes the cocoa powder
10:21
turn a little bit darker.
10:22
I'm also noticing that this one over here is
10:24
slightly darker than this one here.
10:26
If they're already natural cocoa powders,
10:28
they tend to have more moisture in them.
10:30
The moisture tends to make the cocoa powder
10:32
a little bit darker.
10:33
Cocoa powder is made by taking unsweetened chocolate
10:36
and putting it in a hydraulic press,
10:37
and pressing it with so much pressure that you're separating
10:40
your cocoa powder from your cocoa butter.
10:43
So you're basically you have your solids and your fats.
10:45
They're both sort of light and fluffy.
10:48
They've got some grain to them.
10:50
But I guess the next step for me to figure out
10:52
which one is better is if I taste them.
10:55
I'll take a little bit so it doesn't go everywhere.
11:00
Tasting powder's a little bit tricky.
11:03
So the first thing I notice when I taste this one is that
11:06
it's really quite burned, so that means that they were
11:09
probably roasting the liquor quite high
11:12
before they made the cocoa powders.
11:14
The other thing that I notice is that
11:16
the flavor profile on my tongue doesn't linger,
11:18
it sort of hits my tongue
11:20
and then the chocolate flavor stops.
11:22
Okay, now I'm gonna try this other one.
11:28
I don't know why I can't do this without smiling.
11:30
When I taste this one, the first thing I'm tasting
11:33
it's a nice, rounded, deep chocolate note.
11:35
It's not burned.
11:36
It's a really sort of light, fresh,
11:38
it's still chocolatey,
11:39
and you can still taste that it's been roasted,
11:42
but it's definitely not a high roasted liquor
11:44
that's probably being used in this.
11:46
I'm also noticing that the flavor, once it hits my tongue,
11:48
lasts a little bit longer, it lingers a little bit more,
11:51
and that's a sign of a higher quality cocoa powder as well.
11:54
When you're trying to select which cocoa powder to use,
11:57
you wanna have,
11:58
make sure that it's got full flavor, full chocolate flavor,
12:00
as well as a nice long lingering flavor profile.
12:04
I'm gonna go ahead and say that B is probably
12:06
the more expensive of the two.
12:08
Let's reveal.
12:11
Yep, B, B it is.
12:13
So this one's definitely obviously more expensive.
12:16
I didn't think that it was gonna be
12:17
that much more expensive,
12:19
but I think some of the things that might be happening here
12:21
is it could very well be an organic cocoa powder,
12:24
and it might have some certifications on it as well,
12:26
like fair trade or rainforest alliance certified.
12:29
The really important part is that it's delivering
12:31
a really strong chocolate flavor.
12:32
With dutched cocoa powders, you're oftentimes getting
12:35
more of a cocoa flavor, cooked, salty flavor.
12:37
in A, the flavor profile of the chocolate
12:40
isn't super chocolatey, it's more burned than chocolate.
12:44
But there's definitely some uniqueness going on here
12:47
that's lacking in this one,
12:48
which is probably where the price difference is coming from.
12:52
Okay, so it looks like we have a super dark chocolate here,
12:57
a chocolate bar.
12:59
The other thing that I'm noticing with this is as well is
13:02
this one over here, B, has a fair amount of
13:06
air bubbles in it.
13:08
The air bubbles don't necessarily affect
13:10
the quality of the chocolate,
13:11
but it definitely impacts my perception of
13:13
the quality of the chocolate.
13:14
So in this case, with the air bubbles there,
13:17
it makes me think that maybe there was something that was
13:19
lacking in the way that it was processed,
13:22
or the attention to detail that went into
13:24
making this chocolate.
13:25
So let me go ahead and taste this one.
13:29
So I'm guessing it's probably in the 80% range.
13:32
I knew it was a dark chocolate by the color of it,
13:35
but it's definitely a really deep, rich dark chocolate.
13:38
There's not a lot going on in terms of complexity.
13:40
There's a little astringency at the end of it,
13:42
but the flavor, the deep chocolate flavor notes
13:46
is really coming up up front,
13:47
and then it lingers throughout as I'm finishing eating it.
13:50
So this definitely tastes like
13:52
something that I could eat a lot of.
13:53
We call that moreish, where you just want more of it.
13:57
If it's not something that you can eat a lot of,
13:59
it might be a single origin.
14:01
We call that sipping chocolate,
14:02
where you might just want a little bit
14:03
and you're satisified, you can't have too much of it.
14:06
Now I'm gonna go ahead and try this one, B.
14:09
So,
14:11
this is very different from this one.
14:13
It's a little bit more extreme,
14:15
it's not a really rounded flavor profile.
14:17
I think it's probably a single origin.
14:19
I definitely wouldn't be able to have a lot of this.
14:22
So when I taste both of these,
14:23
they both melt rather evenly on my tongue.
14:25
There's not a significant difference in terms of
14:27
particle size like we were commenting on earlier.
14:30
The main difference is just flavor development on my palate
14:34
when I eat them.
14:35
My guess is that B is probably more expensive,
14:38
but I really have no idea.
14:40
So I guess let's take a look and see what the difference is.
14:46
Oh my goodness, does that say $550 a bar?
14:51
I thought there'd be a difference,
14:52
but I didn't think it would be this much.
14:54
This is surprising.
14:56
I didn't even know there was a bar that was $550.
14:59
Maybe they have a direct relationship with the farm.
15:01
There might be a component like
15:04
an heirloom cacao component to this, I'm not entirely sure.
15:08
I don't think the air bubbles necessarily affect
15:10
the quality, but it definitely gives an appearance of
15:12
a lower quality chocolate bar.
15:14
I might just want a really delicious chocolate bar
15:17
that I can eat in one, or two, or 10 bites.
15:20
I might want this for a special occasion
15:22
where I'm pairing it with something at a dinner party.
15:25
I don't know if I would pay that much personally.
15:28
Don't forget, this is still a $7 chocolate bar,
15:30
which isn't a cheap chocolate bar from the grocery store.
15:33
It's still a really high quality chocolate.
15:35
But the big takeaway here is that
15:38
you don't have to spend an arm and a leg
15:41
to buy a really good bar of chocolate.
15:42
There's a time and a place for when you would want to
15:45
buy an expensive chocolate bar,
15:47
whether it's $7, or in some cases, what is it, $550.
15:54
So I'm hoping the big takeaway from today is that
15:56
price isn't everything, that it's really important to
15:59
taste the chocolate that you are choosing between.
16:02
If you wanna go with an 89 cent chocolate bar,
16:04
great, if that satisfies your craving.
16:07
If you wanna spend $550 on a single origin chocolate,
16:11
perfect.
16:12
Hopefully you learned something here that will make it
16:14
easier when you're at the store
16:15
trying to make some decisions around what chocolate to buy.