Different types of chocolates come from different combinations of cocoa solids and cocoa butter with other ingredients. Milk chocolate contains milk powder, sugar, a small percentage of cocoa solids and cocoa butter. The addition of milk powder and reduced amounts of cocoa gives it a sweeter, creamier taste.
White chocolate does not contain cocoa solids at all. It contains only sugar, milk and cocoa butter. Dark chocolate has the highest percentage of cocoa solids. In addition to cocoa butter, the other added ingredients are sugar and coco bean powder.
Real chocolate comprises of two main ingredients: cocoa butter and cocoa solids. The resultant chocolate is of higher quality that requires the chocolatier to adopt the process of tempering before making chocolate products. Tempering is the process of altering the crystal structure of the chocolate so it keeps a shiny texture. If couverture chocolate is not properly tempered, a bloom will form on the chocolate leaving it with white streaks and a dull look. Unlike chocolate, compound chocolate uses other vegetable fats instead of chocolate liquor and oil, instead of cocoa butter. This means compound chocolate can be moulded without tempering. Compound chocolate is definitely easier and quicker to work with; however, it doesn’t have the shine, rich taste or snap that is offered by real chocolate.
Also known as Theobroma oil, Cocoa butter is the pale yellow, edible vegetable fat extracted from the cocoa bean. It has a distinctive cocoa aroma and flavour, apart from being an important element in chocolate making, it is also used in ointments, toiletries and pharmaceuticals.
Unlike many vegetable oils, cocoa butter remains solid at room temperature. It softens and melts once it nears body temperature. Its crystallisation and melting ranges help create that amazing melt in the mouth feel, which is the USP of every real, high quality chocolate.
Your senses play a key role in identifying good chocolate. First your sense of sight. The chocolate has to have a lovely sheen and look glossy. Milk chocolate should not look too light or dark in colour. In the case of dark chocolate, the more the shades of mahogany, the finer it shall be.
Next comes the sense of smell. When you take in a whiff of the chocolate, you need to get only the smell of rich cocoa unadulterated by any other scent. The richer the chocolate the more intense the smell of cocoa. The sense of hearing…how does that help you wonder? Good quality chocolate is crisp and firm and should break with a snap that is clear and sharp. If the chocolate appears pliable, it is of poor quality.
The sense of touch plays a key role in determining quality. Good quality chocolate should feel satiny. If kept in the palm of your hand, it will melt in less than 20 seconds. If the chocolate has not melted, it is of bad quality. The sense of taste is the grand finale. Good chocolate melts in the mouth and shall never be gritty. A high cocoa butter content ensures a texture that’s smooth and silky.
A fully grown cocoa pod differs in shape, texture and size. A ripe fruit contains approximately 20 to 75 cocoa beans embedded in a white pulp. Apart from fat and carbohydrates, cocoa beans contain proteins, theobromine, niacin, minerals, vitamins and they are quite nutritious. There are three main varieties of cocoa pods popular amongst chocolatiers: Criollo, Forastero and Trinitario. Criollo, native to Central, South America, Sri Lanka and the Caribbean islands, it forms 5% of the world’s cocoa production. They are difficult to grow as they are vulnerable to environmental threats. With white to pale pinkish beans, they are described as tasting delicate, yet complex. Criollos are used in making the very finest of chocolates.
Forastero is the most commonly grown cocoa. Mainly grown in Africa, Ecuador and Brazil, it accounts for 80% of the world’s cocoa production. These trees are sturdier and less prone to diseases. Its purplish colour beans are mainly used to give chocolate its full bodied flavour.
Trinitario is a natural biological hybrid. Grown in Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela and parts of Southeast Asia, it combines the strength and yield of Forastero with the fine taste of Criollo.
Good quality dark chocolate with high cocoa content is quite nutritious. It contains antioxidants, soluble fibre and minerals. It contains biologically active organic compounds like polyphenols, flavanols and catechins that function as antioxidants. One study showed that unprocessed cocoa and dark chocolate have more antioxidant activity than blueberries.
Certain studies have shown that the bioactive compounds in cocoa can improve blood flow and cause a small but statistically significant decrease in blood pressure. However, a 100 gms of dark chocolate contains almost 600 calories and some sugar, so it is best consumed in moderation.
A chocolate truffle is traditionally made with a chocolate ganache centre coated in chocolate, icing sugar, cocoa powder or toasted nuts. They are usually come in spherical, conical or curved in shape. Other fillings used by chocolatiers are cream, caramel, fudge, toffee or liqueur.
Bonbon simply refers to any type of candy or small confection coated in chocolate. They are not typically chocolates to begin with but are stand-alone sweet confections that are dipped in chocolate at the very end of the candy making process. This produces a thin layer of chocolate around the candy unlike the thicker shells associated with truffles.
Eating chocolate, like candy bars and boxed chocolates contain chocolate with a variety of additives such as sugar, milk solids and vanilla to make it sweeter and melt in the mouth. These stabilisers enhance the chocolate eating experience but they cannot be used for cooking or baking as it doesn’t melt evenly and separates when heat is applied.
Baking or cooking chocolate is chocolate in its most basic form. Made from chocolate liquor, it contains between 50% to 55% cocoa butter. Typically, baking chocolate contains no sugar and has a bitter taste. Some baking chocolates are lightly sweetened, for eg: semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Drinking chocolate is made from actual chocolate in the form of disks, pellet or shavings. It contains a lot of rich cocoa butter and adding it to hot milk causes the chocolate to melt, leaving you with delicious hot chocolate.
The whitish coating sometimes appears on the surface of chocolate is called a chocolate bloom. There are two types of bloom: fat bloom, arising from changes in the fat in the chocolate; and sugar bloom, formed by the action of moisture on the sugar ingredients. Blooming affects the shelf life of chocolate. A chocolate that has "bloomed" is still safe to eat, but may have an unappetizing appearance and surface texture. A chocolate bloom can be 'repaired' by melting the chocolate down, stirring it, then pouring it into a mould and allowing it to cool, bringing the sugar or fat back into the solution.
Keep chocolates sealed in an airtight container in a cool dry place away from light, preferably a temperature zone of 18-20 degree Celsius and humidity less than 55%
During summer chocolate can be stored in the vegetable section of the fridge.
You need to tightly wrap and seal the chocolate in an airtight container to avoid other food smells latching on to it.
It is always best to eat chocolate at room temperature after taking it out of the fridge. If it was kept in the fridge, it will need 2 hours outside wrapped in plastic.
During especially hot months, yes you can. But make sure the chocolate is kept outside wrapped in plastic for at least 6 hours to bring it down to room temperature.
This term refers to chocolate produced by small chocolate makers--artisans--who understand their craft intimately. Artisan chocolate must be made under the care and supervision of a knowledgeable chocolate maker who could be defined as an artisan. If there is no artisan at a company, then the chocolate cannot accurately be called artisanal.
The flavours lingering on the palate after the chocolate has been consumed. A good aftertaste should leave positive chocolate flavours in the mouth for two minutes or more.
A process of neutralizing the acidity of cocoa with potassium carbonate. This also brings out more chocolate colour, resulting in a darker cocoa. Since the end of the 19th century, all commercial chocolate manufacturers have used this technique, which modifies the flavour and colour of the cocoa. Cocoas and chocolates that are 100% natural will not be alkalized
Dark chocolate has been found to have a high level of antioxidants, specifically from its flavanol content.
The French term for water bath. A bain marie is the equivalent to a double boiler. It melts chocolate gently over warm water so it will not burn.
There are three styles of bonbons: Belgian, French and Swiss—Belgian chocolates are characterized by a slightly larger size, a thicker chocolate shell and a heavier and sweeter ganache. Belgian chocolates are made in molds, accounting for the thicker shell.
This chocolate is pure, unsweetened, sometimes bitter chocolate liquor pressed from the cacao bean. Baking chocolate usually has lecithin added, which acts as an emulsifier and vanilla for flavouring
This is the French word for a small, elegant box of chocolates designed to prevent the chocolates from damaging each other.
A "bean to bar" chocolate maker uses an in-house process turning raw whole beans into finished chocolates.
Bittersweet chocolate is made by first pressing chocolate liquor from the cacao bean during processing, then adding cocoa butter, a small amount of sugar, vanilla, and usually lecithin. Bittersweet chocolate has a deep, strong, tangy and slightly sweet flavour. It is used for making all types of desserts, pastries, and confections. Some like to eat it as is.
Black cocoa is a super-dark, super-rich Dutch-process cocoa.
Blended bars are sometimes called “house bars” because they are blended to a consistent recipe year after year to represent the house style of the producer.
The process that takes place with chocolate that is not single bean. After roasting and before grinding, the crushed cacao beans are blended in a formula or “recipe” determined by the master blender, to determine the flavour of the finished chocolate.
The French word for “good, good,” a hard shell of chocolate filled with a variety of centers. The full French term is bonbon de chocolat (or chocolats fourrés assortis for assorted filled chocolates)
A flavoured mixture of butter, sugar and eggs
The name given to the tree and the bean formed within its fruit, the pod from which chocolate is made.
Fresh cream, butter, sugar, vanilla slow cooked in copper kettles until thick and creamy
The part of the cacao tree, found inside its pods, which is used to make chocolate.
The natural vegetable fat within a cocoa bean. The butter is extracted by grinding and pressing the bean. Cocoa butter melts at body temperature, giving chocolate its famously sensuous texture. About 50% of a bean is made up of cocoa butter.
A technique used to transfer designs to the surface of chocolate bonbons. Sheets of paper with the design are set atop the enrobed chocolate. The design is then transferred through rubbing, resulting in the finished chocolate
Cocoa rouge, or red cocoa, is Dutch-process cocoa with a fudgy flavour and intense bittersweet character. As the name suggests, it has a deep-red colour.
The amount of cocoa in a particular chocolate. In general, the higher the cocoa content, the more intense the chocolate flavour and the lower the amount of sugar present.
A dedicated area specialising in the growing of fine cacao.
Solid chocolate pieces usually topped with raisins and nuts.
The fruit of the cacao tree, which usually contains 20-40 cacao beans.
When the cacao butter in chocolate separates out from the other ingredients, floats to the top, and crystallizes, it appears as white dots and streaks, or as a dull, gray film on the chocolate. This is only a cosmetic effect and does not mean that the chocolate is spoiled. The cacao butter will blend in when the chocolate is melted. This condition is also called fat bloom.
A bitter liquid or paste produced when cacao beans are roasted and ground, and usually used as a baking ingredient. The chocolate liquor is cooled and molded into blocks (unsweetened baking chocolate). The liquor and blocks contain roughly 53% cacao butter.
Chocolate modeling paste can be made with dark, white, or milk chocolate by mixing it with corn syrup. It’s pliable and has a malleable texture, similar to marzipan.. Ribbons, ruffles, flowers, leaves, and stems can be cut and fashioned from thinly rolled out chocolate modeling paste to decorate desserts, pastries, and other confections.
This specially designed thermometer is a critical tool when you are tempering chocolate since extreme accuracy is necessary. The slim, glass mercury thermometer has distinct markings and reads in 1-degree graduations in the range of 40degrees Fahrenheit to 130degrees Fahrenheit.
The percentage of chocolate liquor + cocoa butter + cocoa powder in a chocolate. A higher cocoa percentage has little bearing on the quality. For example, a 70% chocolate may range from excellent to terrible. The only specific thing that we can say about a 70% chocolate bar, with any certainty, prior to tasting it, is that it has about 30% sugar in the formulation.
a specialist who creates cacao and chocolate recipes.
The finely ground paste of roasted cacao beans, a very dark brown, half–fluid mass with an amazing aroma. It is the cocoa butter within it which makes it fluid and the cocoa powder within, which gives it the colour, taste and aroma.
The small crunchy part at the heart of the roasted cocoa bean, each one consists of about 50% cocoa butter and 50% cocoa powder. Since they are half cocoa butter, they melt in your mouth after a few chews.
Also called presscake, cocoa cake is a fairly dry, solid cake, which is what is left over after hydraulic presses extract the cacao butter from chocolate liquor. Cocoa cakes are crushed, ground, and sifted to produce cocoa powder.
The dark brown part of a cocoa bean - what remains when the butter has been pressed out. The powder is separated from the bean through grinding and pressing, and has all of cocoa’s flavour and antioxidants.
The total amount of cocoa in chocolate, usually expressed as a percentage.
The loose covering over the bean, winnowed away after roasting and usually discarded. They’re full of flavour and can be used as an ingredient or for infusions. Can be used to make Cocoa Gin, Cocoa Beer and Cocoa Tea Infusions.
A traditional energizing drink from the West Indies. Made by melting mashed up roasted cocoa beans into milk.
A coating material similar to, but it is not chocolate. It is created with domestic or imported fats, not cacao butter.
A term describing professional quality coating chocolate that is extremely glossy. It usually contains a minimum of 32% cocoa butter, which enables it to form a much thinner shell than ordinary confectionary coating. Couverture is usually only found in specialty candy making shops. You often find it as the chocolate that surrounds chocolate covered fruits, or as the shell of fancy filled chocolates
Sugar crystallization occurs when moisture accumulates on the surface of chocolate and the sugar is drawn up. This condition is called sugar bloom, which is visible as white streaks and dots and grainy texture. It is not the same as chocolate bloom.
A mechanical kneading process which improves the texture and taste of chocolate by driving out astringency. Conching time is the amount of hours the chocolate spends in this process and can vary from 12 hours to 120 hours.
One of the most celebrated fine cocoa varieties, renowned for its delicate flavours, and also the most susceptible to disease and one of the hardest to farm successfully.
A manufacturing process where the cocoa butter’s characteristic chocolate flavours are removed. While quality companies deodorize their cocoa butter to manufacture characteristic white chocolate, this process enables lesser companies to use poor quality and alkali-treated beans, which would produce unpleasant cocoa butter if not deodorized.
Dipping is one of the four basic methods four basic methods of coating chocolate onto a center such as a caramel, nut or fruit; it was the original method of making coated chocolates and is done by hand by artisan producers. The other methods are enrobing, panning and molding or shell molding.
Drinking chocolate is a product used to make hot chocolate. It differs from cocoa powder in that it is not a finely-ground product but bits of actual hard chocolate. It can take the form of shaved chocolate, discs, pistoles or tablets.
A process by which individual chocolates are given an outer chocolate coating by being passed through a waterfall of molten chocolate.
One of the most important and skilful steps of the cacao harvesting process, during which the sweet pulp from the cacao pod naturally heats up and creates a chemical change in the beans, making them less bitter and starting to taste a bit like chocolate.
Flavanols are the antioxidants in cacao. There is a perception that the higher the cacao percentage, the higher the flavanol content; but actual levels of flavanol content may fluctuate widely depending upon the species and subspecies of bean, recipe, processing practices, and storage and handling conditions.
A praline textured with small pieces of crispy, oven baked biscuits
The mainstay of the world's cacao bean crop (80%), with a robust flavour, thought to have originated in the Amazon. Most commonly associated with bulk cocoa from West Africa, although the fine cocoa from Ecuador is also a variety of Forestero.
It is a type of confectionary which is usually extremely rich and often flavoured with chocolate. It is made by boiling sugar in milk to a soft ball stage and then beating the mixture while it cools to acquire a smooth, creamy consistency.
A mixture of chocolate and cream, with a velvety smooth texture, the filling of a truffle.
A blend of chocolate, very finely ground hazelnuts and sugar, typically much smoother than a praline. It has a silky smooth texture.
A term used to distinguish quality chocolate. High-cocoa chocolate replaces sugar with cocoa. High-cocoa chocolate is defined as: dark chocolate with a minimum of 70% cocoa, milk chocolate with a minimum of 40%, and caramel or white chocolates with 35% or more.
A naturally occurring plant extract that helps to smooth chocolate and let it flow more easily. This makes it easier for the chocolatier to handle when melted.
Cacao butter, milk, sweeteners and flavourings that are added to chocolate liquor. Milk chocolate lends itself to good use for garnishes and candy coatings. All milk chocolate made in the U.S. must contain at least 10% chocolate liquor and 12% whole milk.
A scrumptious flavour made by combining chocolate and coffee that is used extensively in desserts, pastries, and confections.
Discs of solid chocolates with luxury fruits and nuts.
Chocolate shaped in a mold, including classic treats like chocolate Easter bunnies, Easter eggs, and Santas. Tempered chocolate is poured into a mold, cooled, and unmolded. Molded chocolates can be solid or hollow.
A spicy, unsweetened chocolate sauce.
The texture and other sensations of the chocolate in the mouth. In general, a good chocolate will be smooth and dissolve into liquid in the mouth. A less good chocolate will be grainy, gritty, or waxy (the latter may indicate that cheaper vegetable fat has been substituted for the cocoa butter).
The white pulp surrounding the cacao beans in the pod. There are many different kinds of drinks made from this pulp in Central and South America, both fermented and non.
A sample-size portion of bar chocolate, individually wrapped. The typical napolitain is a five to 10 gram square.
A stiff and chewy confection made of whipped egg whites, honey and sugar, to which nuts (commonly almonds, hazelnuts or pistachios), and sometimes candied citrus zest, are added.
Panning is one of the four basic methods of coating chocolate onto a center (mostly hard centers such as nuts and crystallized ginger). The other methods are enrobing, panning and molding or shell molding. In panning, chocolate is sprayed onto the centers as they rotate in revolving pans; cool air is then blown into the pan to harden the chocolates.
A paste of crushed nuts, usually hazelnuts, caramelised sugar and chocolate.
The word has evolved to mean many things over time. In candy and confections, it has two principal meanings: a small, hard, round or oval fruit candy, often used as a lozenge and a disk of chocolate. The pastille was popularized by Droste with a unique shape intended to fit into the soft palate: a rounded top intended for the roof of the mouth, and a smooth flat bottom on which the tongue could gently press the chocolate upwards. With this configuration, the pastille fits, and melts, perfectly in the mouth.
Fruit jellies, generally square or rectangular, composed of sugar pulps and apple pectin. The fruit flavour is intense, as the fruit is more than 50% of ingredients.
The first step in producing chocolate from cacao beans. Similar to roasting coffee, the heating process fully develops the chocolate flavours and aromas of the cacao beans.
Harvested from a clearly defined single growing area, smaller than a whole estate, and with the same environmental conditions.
Cacao grown on a single, named estate, whose distinctive flavours are directly influenced by the environment in which it is grown. The flavours will vary from harvest to harvest and can be readily tasted in the chocolate they produce.
Cacao grown in a single region or country, whose distinctive flavours are directly influenced by that environment.
A technical term that describes one of the characteristics of well-tempered chocolate. It should break cleanly and crisply, with a sharp snap and should not be crumbly or soft.
The most comforting, creamy milk chocolate, with less sugar than dark chocolate.
Of the three styles of bonbons—Belgian, French and Swiss—Swiss chocolates are the most creamy, smooth, soft and velvety and have a greater focus on milk chocolate.
The precisely controlled heating and cooling of molten chocolate to correctly crystallize the cocoa butter within, which produces the required consistency and a smooth, glossy finish.
A term taken from French that describes the environmental influences that help define the character and flavour nuances of cacao, including the geographic location, the topography, the type of soil and the climate.
The term used to describe the very small band of chocolatiers who grow cacao as well as make chocolate from the bean. Goes further than ‘Bean to Bar’.
This is a fine cocoa hybrid of Criollo and Forastero, combining the excellent flavours of the first with the hardiness of the second. About 15% of the world’s crop. Trinitario was first created in Trinidad in the eighteenth century and is common in the West Indies.
A filled chocolate with a soft centre, typically made with a hard shell, sometimes dusted with cocoa powder.
A measure of the coating thickness of melted chocolate, which determines its ability to coat or enrobe confections. Melted chocolate has varying degrees of viscosity depending on its types (dark, milk, or white) and whether or not it is couverture, which contains a higher percentage of cocoa butter than regular chocolate.
Contains cacao butter but does not contain nonfat cacao solids. Mostly used as a coating, it contains sugar, cacao butter, milk solids and flavourings such as vanilla. White chocolate is the most fragile form of chocolate. Imitation white chocolate is made with vegetable oil rather than cocoa butter.
The process of removing the shells from roasted cacao. This process is also known as kibbling.