Chocolate has been an important part of the human culinary catalog for thousands of years, and holidays like Easter, Christmas, and Halloween simply wouldn’t be the same without it. But even chocolate-lovers may not realize how many different types of chocolate there are out there, and what sets one variety apart from another. So without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about chocolate, the different varieties, and which is best.
All chocolate comes from the beans that grow on the cocoa tree. The beans are processed and the cocoa mass, or chocolate liquor, is extracted, and this is then broken down into cocoa butter and cocoa solids. Cocoa butter contains all the fat, and cocoa solids can be ground into cocoa powder. These two components, cocoa butter, and solids, are recombined in different quantities and mixed with sugar and sometimes other ingredients to make chocolate
Intro to the Different Types of Chocolate
The different types of chocolate are defined by the percentage of cocoa solids and other ingredients they contain, and these definitions are quite strict. There are a number of different types of chocolate, including:
Dark: By definition, dark chocolate must contain at least 35 percent cocoa solids, and some even contain as much as 90 percent. This type of chocolate contains cocoa butter and sugar, but it doesn’t need to have milk.
Semisweet/bittersweet: This is a type of dark chocolate, so it must contain at least 35 percent cocoa solids. However, unlike dark chocolate, semisweet must also contain half as much sugar as it does cocoa solids.
Milk: Milk chocolate must contain at least 10 percent chocolate liquor, 12 percent milk, and varying amounts of sugar and cocoa butter. The milk can come in a variety of forms, including milk, cream, and milk powder.
White: Because white chocolate doesn’t actually contain cocoa solids, it’s not really chocolate by definition, but rather a chocolate derivative. White chocolate is the sweetest of the chocolates. It must contain at least 20 percent cocoa butter and 14 percent milk.
Couverture: Couverture chocolate is one of the richest and finest varieties because it must contain a fat content between 30 and 40 percent. This type of chocolate is often used by pastry chefs and gourmet chocolatiers.
Dark Chocolate vs Milk Chocolate: The Ultimate Showdown
There’s been a heated debate raging since the dawn of time—well, maybe not quite that long—about which is better: dark chocolate or milk chocolate? When it comes down to it, however, there is no right or wrong answer to this question. People have different tastes, so for some, there’s nothing better than the rich profile and slightly acrid taste of dark chocolate. For others, the creaminess and sweetness of milk chocolate are something they simply cannot live without.
How to Display Different Types of Chocolate
There are a number of display styles that pair well with chocolate. These include jewelry-style displays that offer a sophisticated ambiance and maximum viewing pleasure, contemporary displays with multiple height profiles that are ideal for chocolates and truffles, and minimalistic displays that let the chocolate speak for itself, without lines and framing to break up the viewing panel. Here at ORION by Clabo, some of the most popular chocolate displays include the 365, Italiana, Koreia, and Trilogy.
When storing chocolate, temperature and humidity levels are vitally important. Because of the ingredients in chocolate, it should be stored between a range of 60 to 65º F. Likewise, higher amounts of humidity can adversely affect the appearance and quality of chocolate, meaning chocolate display cases should be able to stabilize both of these storage properties so they remain at ideal conditions.
There are a number of different types of chocolate, and they’re all ideal for different purposes. The main thing to remember with chocolate is that ingredient percentages are very important when determining the type of chocolate, and these ratios will also affect the flavor, color, and ideal pairings of the confection.