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What makes great chocolate? Is the taste? A certain blend of ingredients? A delicious aroma? Or maybe it comes down to marketing, great packaging, and an appealing presentation. Or perhaps it’s the perfect blend of all of those things. Either way, you know great chocolate when you see it. But how do you know where you can find the best chocolate near you unless you have the time and the budget to try each one? Here’s everything you need to know to find the best chocolates near you while keeping your wallet — and your waistline — intact.
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Search on Google
It might seem obvious, but Google really is the best place to start. A simple Google search will help you get an idea of the options in your area. Jot down some notes about each of the options nearby. You’ll go more in depth in researching these places in later steps, but for now you just want a general idea of what’s available in your neighborhood.First, it’s important to understand the ingredients that go into good chocolate. High quality chocolate uses some form of cocoa as the main ingredient.
You can also begin to pick out those chocolate shoppes that might offer the type of chocolate you’re looking for. Take some time to consider the website and social media presence of each company you find. If the company takes time and effort to put forth a good image online, they probably care about their customers and are more likely to offer a quality product.
Research Company and the Ingredients
The quality of ingredients really matters when it comes to chocolate. When you look at the ingredients list, some form cocoa should be high on the list. Look for cocoa butter, cocoa liquor, or cocoa solids to ensure that you’re getting the highest quality chocolate. High quality chocolates will have a higher percentage of these ingredients than cheap companies. Some companies try to cut corners and add extra ingredients to save money, but it shows in the final product.
You’ll also want to research how long the company has been in operation. This can give you an idea of the company’s track record. If a company has been around a long time, you can be assured that the product they sell is popular. Brand new companies may not have the experience needed in terms of customer satisfaction. However, it’s important to take this with a grain of salt because new companies can sprout up that even exceed the customer experience of old, established companies.
Your next step will be to research each company you listed above. Now you can take the time to pour over review sites, such as Yelp, Facebook, and Google reviews. Though you can’t trust every review, you can look at the overall trends and pattern of the reviews. For example, if most people are satisfied with the business and only a handful of negative reviews, take a look at the dates. It might be that the company had a rough patch that they recovered from to focus more on customer satisfaction.
Online reviews can really give you a glimpse into a company that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to. Since reviews are so important, many companies really strive to provide an excellent experience for their customers, and you’ll quickly be able to tell which ones do and don’t in your area.
Ask Your Family and Friends
While reviews have their place, word of mouth gives you an even better picture of the best options in your neighborhood. Nothing trumps getting advice from people you trust and who have been in your same situation. Chances are, your friends, family, and neighbors have already tried some of the places on your list and can help you determine which one is best.
Feel free to ask questions such as, “What kinds of products did you purchase from the company,” and “What did you like best about the chocolate?” to determine that your loved one has the same kind of concerns as you. Taste can sometimes be a tricky thing to pinpoint and something that someone else loves might not satisfy you in the same way. But, by asking these kind of questions, you can be sure you’re both on the same page.
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