Using Your Senses. Chatal Coady, proprietress of Rococo Chocolates in London, says you should use all your senses to tell good chocolate from low-quality chocolate (she calls it fast chocolate):
Smell – Sniff the chocolate and see if the aromas hint of anything… fruit, wood, caramel…
See – The chocolate should be glossy. If there’s bloom on it, it means it has been stored in damp or warm conditions and the cocoa butter has risen to the surface. The color of the chocolate will tell you a little about the quality: the redder, the better. Now break the chocolate. You should see a break a little like tree bark.
Touch – Cocoa butter melts at 94 degrees– that’s below your body temperature. If you’ve got good chocolate, it should begin to melt when you hold it. If it doesn’t, that’s an indication that vegetable oils or other fats have been added.
Hear – break the chocolate next to your ear. Good chocolate will give you a nice snap. Chocolate that doesn’t snap is “fast” or lower quality chocolate.
Taste – The chocolate should be so smooth that you can’t detect any graininess. The flavor should linger in your mouth. If it tastes greasy, it’s another sign of lower-quality chocolate. Finally, you should inhale as you’re tasting… mmmm!