List 04 January

7 tips to find the world's best chocolate

Martin Christy, one of the world’s most respected chocolate experts, gives us his guide to tracking down the best of the sweet stuff

1. Taste, taste, taste

Buy a bar or a few bonbons, give them a try. Remember: eat slowly and ‘melt don’t munch’ – your taste buds will guide you.

2. Go online

Arriving in a new city and want to find the best in chocolate? Do a little research online on sites such as www.seventypercent.com; for an interactive map, try http://worldchocolateguide.com.

3. Don’t be fooled by marketing

Everyone tells you theirs is the best. Try to find out the story behind the chocolate – where does the cacao come from? Is it directly sourced? Who really makes it?

4. Be a little romantic

Paris is the real capital of fine chocolate. Two hours, 15 minutes from St Pancras and you’re in chocolate heaven. Let www.chocoparis.com be your guide.

5. Don’t forget homegrown

The likes of William Curley and Paul A Young have made London a serious contender as a top chocolate destination. Both offer tastings and workshops.

6. Combine with Caribbean beaches

Tobago Cocoa Estate, the Grenada Chocolate Company and Hotel Chocolat’s estate on St Lucia are all in beautiful locations with tourist facilities.

7. Take an organised tour

If you want more help tracking down the best chocolate, try one of Seventy%’s Connoisseur Chocolate Tours, led by yours truly. Trips in 2012 cover the South of France, Tuscany and the real cacao experience: from coast to Amazon in Ecuador. Full details at www.seventypercent.com.

Martin Christy is a chocolate reviewer and editor of online review site Seventy% 

Did you know? Most chocolate’s made with inferior cacao from the lower Amazon. The original Aztec/Mayan cacao is nearly lost, but what little remains goes into ‘fine’ chocolate, which has a far superior taste.

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