The Types of Chocolate

The Start of Chocolate–Chocolate Liquor

Chocolate starts with the cacao (cocoa) bean. It grows on a tropical evergreen tree only 20 degrees north and south of the Equator, mostly in West Africa and Latin America.

Cacao Nibs are the main part of the bean. The Nibs are cleaned and roasted. They contain more than 50% cocoa butter.

The Nibs are ground with enough heat to liquefy the cocoa butter, creating chocolate liquor, liquid essence not alcohol.

Cocoa butter is a vegetable fat that is removed when the chocolate liquor is pressed under pressure. This butter gives chocolate its distinctive texture.

The Chocolate

Unsweetened (bitter, pure) chocolate is 100% chocolate liquor with nothing added to it. It is molded into one ounce blocks and sold eight blocks to a package. It is used for baking and cooking.

Semisweet (bittersweet, extra bittersweet) contains at least 35% chocolate liquor, but can contain 35-60%. It has sugar and extra cocoa butter added to it. It is sold in blocks or chocolate chips and is used mostly for cooking and baking.

Sweet (Dark) chocolate (also called German sweet chocolate) contains the same ingredients as semisweet, but has more sugar. It must contain at least 15% chocolate liquor. It is used mostly for baking and cooking.

Milk Chocolate is sweet chocolate with milk added. It contains at least 10% chocolate liquor. It should not be used in cooking unless a recipe specifically calls for it.

Cocoa Powder Is a form of pure chocolate with almost all the cocoa butter removed and no additives or preservatives. Since the cocoa butter is removed, cocoa powder has the lowest fat content of any chocolate product.

White Chocolate is not really chocolate at all since it contains no chocolate liquor. High quality white chocolate is made with cocoa butter, sugar, vegetable oils, milk and vanilla, but lower grades have had all the cocoa butter removed and replaced with another vegetable oil. It is used in cooking and candy making.

Chocolate Flavored means that a product has its flavor derived from chocolate liquor or cocoa, but not enough to meet the government standards to be labeled “chocolate.”

Artificial Chocolate is mostly chemical, not chocolate. It contains nothing derived from the cacao bean.