Cocoa Derivatives: The Different Types of Chocolate

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Not everyone likes chocolate, but since you’re reading this blog, you’re probably interested in the sweet treat. You don’t mind indulging in it occasionally, if not frequently.

Chocolate is a beloved treat that people of all ages and genders enjoy worldwide. Whether it’s a decadent dessert or a simple snack, chocolate has a way of satisfying our taste buds.

Interestingly, many people consume chocolate without knowing the makeup of what they’re ingesting. Did you know that there are several different types of chocolate available? Behind the luscious and velvety texture lies a fascinating world of cocoa derivatives. In this blog post, we’ll explore the various types of chocolate and discover what sets them apart.

But before that, let’s examine the primary ingredients in chocolate.

Chocolate Ingredients

Chocolates contain multiple ingredients, which in different proportions, ultimately determine the type of chocolate. Below are four primary ingredients available in most chocolate types.

Cocoa Beans Derivatives

You can’t make chocolate without cocoa beans. All types of chocolate include one or more cocoa bean derivatives. As such, cocoa is practically the most essential raw material for chocolate production. 

The primary cocoa derivative manufacturers use in chocolates include:

Chocolate Liquor: This is a liquid mixture derived by removing the shells of cocoa beans and then fermenting, roasting and grinding the nibs inside. Essentially, it’s a mixture of cocoa butter and cocoa solids.

Cocoa Solids: Cocoa solids are the dry remnants derived from removing fat from the chocolate liquor. It carries an intense chocolate flavour and is often used in chocolate-flavoured pastries. It’s the healthiest cocoa derivative as it’s fat-free and contains antioxidants.

Cocoa Butter: This is the fatty derivative of cocoa beans. It contains both saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. It’s an ingredient in many snacks, ointments, toiletries, and pharmaceutical products.

It is important to note that all types of chocolate incorporate one or more cocoa derivatives. The specific type of chocolate obtained largely depends on the proportion of cocoa derivatives used in the recipe.

Sugar

Sugar is another primary ingredient in most chocolate types. Cocoa derivatives in their pure form are bitter, so the sweet chocolate you enjoy contains sugar to balance out the bitterness.

Interestingly, there has been a recent rise in the use of alternative sweeteners in chocolate production. These include stevia, maltitol, erythritol, xylitol, and polydextrose. So, if you don’t prefer sugar in your chocolate, you can choose one of these alternatives.

Lecithin

Lecithin is an emulsifier often derived from soy. It makes all other ingredients blend in the chocolate. It’s not an essential ingredient, but it’s famous for giving the chocolate a smooth, sleek texture. 

Milk

Milk is not a primary ingredient in chocolate, as it is only used in milk and white chocolates. Cow milk is the most common type of milk used in chocolate, and it can be used in solid, powdered, or liquid form.

Types of Chocolate

Now that you know the different ingredients used in making chocolates, let’s explore the types of chocolate available.

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate, also known as Black or Semi-sweet chocolate, is often praised for its rich and intense flavour. It is made by combining chocolate liquor or cocoa solids and cocoa butter with sugar, lecithin and flavourings. 

The percentage of cocoa solids in dark chocolate can vary, typically ranging from 50% to 90%. The higher the cocoa constituent, the more intense and bitter the chocolate. Dark chocolate has immense potential health benefits due to its higher concentration of antioxidants.

Milk Chocolate

Milk chocolate is a popular choice for those who prefer a sweeter and creamier taste. Most ready-to-eat chocolate products (bars, sweets, candies etc.) are varying versions of milk chocolate.

Milk chocolate contains cocoa solids, cocoa butter, sugar, and milk solids. The addition of milk powder or condensed milk gives this chocolate type its distinctive smooth and mellow flavour. Milk chocolate typically has a lower percentage of cocoa solids than dark chocolate, usually around 10% to 50%. 

White Chocolate

White chocolate stands apart from other types of chocolate due to its ivory colour and creamier taste. Its distinctive colour and flavour are due to the absence of cocoa solids in its constituent ingredients. Instead, it is made primarily from cocoa butter, sugar, and milk solids. 

Primarily, you may consider white chocolate as a cocoa butter-infused milk candy. About a third of its constituent element is cocoa butter, while the remaining are milk and sugar. While it lacks the distinct dark chocolate flavour, it offers a creamy, sweet taste that appeals to many.

Ruby Chocolate

Ruby chocolate is the newest addition to the world of chocolate and is fast gaining popularity. It is made from a special variety of cocoa beans with a naturally occurring pink hue. This cocoa variety is naturally found in Ecuador, Brazil and Ivory Coast.

Aside from its distinguishing red-pink hue, ruby chocolate has a unique fruity and slightly sour taste, distinct from other types of chocolate. It offers a delightful sensory experience and has gained popularity for its vibrant colour and novel flavour profile.

Cocoa Powder

There’s a popular debate on whether cocoa powder qualifies as chocolate or not since it’s purely 100% dried cocoa solid without any other element. This product is derived by extracting the fats from chocolate liquor and drying the solid remnants. 

The solid remnants called press cakes are then grounded into powdered form to create the cocoa powder. This product is frequently used in hot cocoa mixes, pastries, and other chocolate-themed snacks.

Understanding the different types of chocolate allows us to appreciate the diverse range of flavours, textures, and applications available to us. Whether you prefer the boldness of dark chocolate, the smoothness of milk chocolate, or the creaminess of white chocolate, there is a chocolate variety to suit every palate. 

So, the next time you indulge in a piece of chocolate, take a moment to savour the rich ingredients, as well as the complexity and craftsmanship that goes into creating these delectable cocoa derivatives.

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