What is fine chocolate?

Fine chocolate is just like fine wine.

All you need to assess the quality is a little know-how and a sense of adventure…

Discover how, with the criteria below.



Fine chocolate can only be made from fine-flavour beans. Only 5% of the cocoa beans are categorised as ‘fine aroma’ beans.  These are the beans with the genetic potential to deliver complex flavour profiles. The majority of beans grown are ‘bulk’, ‘commodity’ or ‘ordinary’ beans destined for industrially made chocolate and confectionery. Don’t be fooled by the words ‘premium’ or ‘fine’, ‘finest’ or even single-origin (simply meaning beans from the same location). If the beans uses are fine aroma beans there will be clues to their variety on the packaging. (See Transparency)

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Fine chocolate is made with whole cocoa beans and usually a little extra cocoa butter, making up the percentage of the bar. Sugar is the remaining ingredient in dark chocolate, and sugar and milk powder in milk chocolate. If any other ingredients are listed you should take note. A little extra cocoa butter and lecithin are allowed and to aid the flow and workability of chocolate and real vanilla is used on occasion but ingredients should be minimal. If any other ingredients are listed but not declared as an inclusion or flavour, you are not looking at a fine chocolate bar.



Taste is the true test of the quality of chocolate. There are several hundred chemical compounds in fine wine that affect the taste of a fine wine. There are even more in fine chocolate.

Fine chocolate will deliver a unique tasting journey, with distinctive aromas, textures and flavours. To appreciate the fineness of your chocolate, you simply need to take it slowly, learn How to Taste Chocolate and to #meltnotmunch.



Fine chocolate makers are committed to transparency. They want you to know as much as you can about the chocolate you are buying, including its sources, bean varieties, growing methods, trade (which will be as direct as possible) and making processes. They will also tell you about their involvement at every stage.



Fine chocolate demands skill and consistency in the growing, harvesting, fermenting and drying processes to develop flavour precursors. Craftsmanship and precision is then required by the maker in the roasting, grinding, conching and tempering of the chocolate to coax out the intrinsic flavours of the dried beans and add the own character to the flavour expression. Every process from tree to bar will impact the final taste of the bar.