The best chocolate in the world is more than just comfort chocolate. It is a gastronomic gem, an exquisite experience, and a memorable moment perfectly packaged in a beautiful box waiting to be unveiled and unleashed for your utter enjoyment.
Therefore, it may be charmingly challenging but oddly one-sided to judge the world’s best chocolate purely by taste alone. Let's take a deep dive into what it means to be the finest chocolate based on history, tradition, critical criteria, health considerations, and emerging international trends.
About 4,000 years ago, ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia may be the cradle of the first great urbanized civilization. However, across the Atlantic Ocean, Mesoamerica was the place that gave birth to the best chocolate in the world.
Mesoamerica, or modern-day Mexico, was where the first cacao plants were discovered. The Mayans formulated a thick foamy beverage called “xocolatl,” which means “bitter water.” Cocoa beans even became used as currency by the Aztecs. Today, Latin America, specifically Ecuador, is still one of the cradles of the best cacao beans worldwide.
While South America gave birth to chocolates, Western Europe perfected them. The best cacao beans may come from South America and other continents. But the places that have invested unparalleled time, technology, ingenuity, and craftsmanship in creating the world’s best chocolate are countries like Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, and France.
Cocoa beans are the primary ingredient of chocolates. Naturally, using the best cocoa beans for chocolate recipes will result in the finest chocolates. The freshness, quality, and balance of ingredients and their formulation would be the most critical criteria when selecting the top chocolate.
The highest-rated chocolate will always contain 100% percent pure cocoa butter. Anything less may be economical and legal since chocolate producers may replace up to 5% cocoa butter with vegetable fat, but it sacrifices texture and aroma.
Most chocolate recipes are made with various cacao beans grown from different locations. They blend the cocoa together during roasting and crushing. While also economical, this process dilutes and sacrifices the deliciously unique flavor of a specific bean variety, usually derived from smaller plantations with the most ideal forest conditions.
To create the best chocolates ever means preserving the original essence of the best quality and variety of cocoa beans. Therefore, it is imperative not to mix several different cocoa beans but use single-origin cocoa made with only one bean type from one ideal source. The top chocolates are transparent with how they source their cacao beans.
World-class chocolatiers only use world-class fillings for their recipes. The Gianduja or "Nocciola del Piemonte," an internationally protected term for hazelnut from the Piedmont region of Italy, is considered one of the finest hazelnuts around the world. Their almost perfectly round shape, gentle flavor, and strict agricultural regulations make it the number one choice for praliné. This is why zChocolat uses such hazelnuts in its chocolate recipes.
Taste is obviously the most observable and experiential way to judge the quality of chocolates. Most chocolate tastes ordinary and forgettable. Only a rare few have exceptional and irresistible flavors that teleport you to another world when you indulge in them. Below are some of the ingredients that the highest-rated chocolate brands avoid.
Alcohol may or may not be healthy, depending on many factors. One thing that casual chocolate lovers overlook is the strong taste of alcohol that masks and overpowers the authentic flavors of the cocoa beans. For this reason, die-hard chocolate aficionados rarely recommend liquor-filled recipes.
There is no question that preservatives and artificial coloring can cause several harmful effects on our bodies. Therefore, such ingredients must be avoided at all costs. Preservatives like Propionic Acid or Propionates are used to extend shelf-life. The best chocolate brands are already perfect with the natural shelf life of chocolate and use state-of-the-art storage, handling, and delivery solutions.
Similar to preservatives, artificial coloring is only for enhancing the appearance of chocolates. It adds unnecessary and often unhealthy ingredients to an otherwise healthy and natural chocolate recipe. The top chocolate brands have no need for coloring by bringing out the best natural colors and textures from only the finest natural ingredients.
Sugar is meant to enhance taste and sweetness but it also is the leading cause of health issues. Sugar costs way less than cocoa making it economical and necessary for lesser quality chocolates with low-grade ingredients. The highest-rated chocolates do not rely on sugar because they use premium chocolate fillings that are already sweet, like high-quality fruits and caramelized nuts. A high amount of sugar, therefore, is deemed excessive, unnecessary, and even harmful.
Chocolates could and should be enjoyed almost anytime and anywhere. However, choosing the top chocolate that suits you could be tough when on a diet. Studies reveal that the best dark chocolate generally offers more health benefits than milk chocolate or white chocolate. Let’s take a closer look at a few of the most health-related questions about chocolates.
If you are on a diet to lose weight, picking the best chocolates becomes even more daunting. Your safest bet would still be the best dark chocolates with 70% to 85% cacao or higher. Most chocolate contains sugar, but the higher the cocoa solids content, the lower the sugar.
Somewhat surprisingly, you can still eat the best chocolates when you are on a ketogenic diet. Cocoa and dark chocolate are succulent sources of antioxidants and have astounding health benefits. There are already various keto-friendly dark chocolates available in the market to help you cut down on carbs and sugar.
If you are on a vegan diet, you may not have to deprive yourself of enjoying chocolates too. While chocolates are not necessarily vegan, cocoa butter is vegan in chocolates. However, the other ingredients in chocolates may not be vegan. This is what leads to most uncertainty and doubt. Some of the best chocolate brands like zChocolat offer vegan versions of their bestsellers.
To ensure the best chocolates are good for you, avoid milk and white chocolate and go for 70% dark chocolates or higher. Not all dark chocolates are vegan, though. So, check the label and contents to verify if there are no animal-derived ingredients present in the chocolates.
For those who are diabetic, healthy food and snack choices are crucial. “Diabetic chocolates” are not recommended. Some countries have declared that such labeling is against the law for lack of evidence on their benefits. These chocolates are often overpriced and have relatively high fat and calories to raise blood glucose levels.
The healthiest chocolate with high-quality 70% cocoa content or higher is still your safest option. It has a much stronger bitter taste than milk chocolate that may help you crave and eat much less. Again, check the label and ingredients to control carb intake and insulin levels. Occasionally enjoying chocolates with 0% sugar is fine when done in moderation.
For centuries, the French palate has always been demanding when it comes to the finest cuisines and choicest wines. In the last few decades, this has also been true for chocolates. Today, French chocolate is considered one of the best chocolates worldwide. zChocolat has been at the forefront of this transformation and here are several reasons why.
Chocolatiers can have the best ingredients. However, if they do not possess the finesse and craftsmanship needed to perfect the tempering, roasting, caramelizing, chopping, and preparation of the filling ingredients, the tastes, texture, and overall quality will suffer. zChocolat made sure that the famed French savoir-faire is in every part of the process and remains in its brand DNA.
The French prefer dark chocolate and smaller pieces of approximately 9 to 10 grams with less cream, less sugar, and less butter, rather than the 15-gram Belgian counterparts. This led zChocolat to create unique, bite-sized, gold bullion-shaped chocolate pieces with 26 different delectable recipes. This is now our famous Numbered Collection and Z chocolate recipes which are 100% handmade in France.
Olivier de Loisy, our cocoa expert, has over 40 years of experience as a chocolate sourcer. He travels internationally to find the most refined, flavorful cocoa beans to use in crafting our couverture chocolate. His vast experience and expertise allow him to instantly recognize the exceptional cocoa beans from their feel, smell, and taste.
Pascal Caffet, awarded “World-Champion Chocolatier” and “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” (Best French Artisan) has been our chocolatier for almost 20 years. His ancestral techniques and know-how and zChocolat’s luxury brand are a match made in heaven. It has given birth to the most recognizable chocolate recipes worldwide.
Since its inception, zChocolat has perfectly positioned itself as the best chocolate gift for every occasion with its unparalleled ordering, customization, personalization, packaging, and delivery. Its luxurious quintessential collections like the various Assortments, zBoxes, and Mahogany boxes, are the best chocolate gift ideas with the best chocolate delivery service, bar none.
“Best present idea,” “A cut above the rest,” and “Spectacular,” are the praises heaped upon zChocolat by The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times, respectively. The “Fifty Best” website, an online guide to fine living, even added zChocolat to its distinguished list of “The 50 Best Chocolates” in the world.
The Milk Z Bar, one of our popular chocolate bars, has been awarded as one of the best chocolate bars after receiving a Silver and a Bronze Medal in the 2018 International Chocolate Awards. Most recently, Top Consumer Reviews awarded zChocolat as the “Best Chocolate Store” in 2022.
Customers and critics alike hail zChocolat as one of the best French chocolate and most recognizable luxury chocolate brands worldwide. zChocolat has indeed contributed to the ever-increasing popularity of French chocolates in the market today, echoed by the best chefs around the world.
The best chocolates in the world indeed have irresistible and priceless tastes. But beyond that, they also relish authenticity, using only 100% pure cocoa butter from single-origin cocoa beans and premium filling including Piedmontese hazelnuts for their praliné. They are all about superb recipes and flawless flavors that avoid unnecessary, unwanted, and unhealthy ingredients.
Yet the finest ingredients and recipes are far from enough. The best chocolates also require masterful and creative craftsmanship. They showcase memorable messaging, sublime storytelling, and perfect packaging too. Moreover, they offer effortless ordering, delightful delivery, and world-class customer experience, service, and support. A sensational overall experience.
A few known brands have emerged from North America. South America has also transitioned from being producers of the most aromatic cacao beans to creators of their own chocolates. Yet, when it comes to the best chocolate, only a few brands like zChocolat have perfected the art of transforming comfort chocolate into a glorious gastronomic foretaste of heaven here on Earth.