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What are the different types of chocolates?

The real reason why Willy Wonka ran a Chocolate Factory is because he knew he’d never run out of customers. Almost everyone loves chocolate.Whether you like sipping on a thick chocolate shake on a warm and sunny day or digging into a sinful slice of chocolate cake in the middle of the night, chocolate is an indulgence that is difficult to deny. But most of us have a very limited understanding about this ingredient, its origin and forms. However, whether you’re simply nibbling on a chocolate bar or harbouring a keen interest in baking, it is important to know the different chocolate types’ of names and differences.If you’re a chocolate lover, read on to discover fascinating trivia about this delectable foodstuff and the different types of chocolates you could treat your tastebuds to.

How is chocolate made?

Chocolate is made from the seeds or beans of a tropical evergreen tree that is our namesake - Theobroma Cacao. Theobroma literally translates to ‘Food of the Gods’ in Greek, where ‘Theo’ means God in and ‘Broma’ means Food. The edible properties of the fruit of this tree were discovered over 2000 years ago by indigenous Central Americans living in tropical rainforests. The Aztecs and Mayans used chocolate in religious rituals and wedding ceremonies and traded cocoa beans as currency.
The process of making chocolate starts by plucking ripe cocoa pods from the tree. These are then split open to reveal cocoa beans nestled inside. Did you know that each cocoa pod can contain up to 50 cocoa beans?
These beans are then fermented, sundried, roasted and ground. The end result is the formation of chocolate liquor or unsweetened chocolate. Chocolate liquor (this is different from chocolate liqueur and has nothing to do with alcohol) contains both cocoa solids and cocoa butter and forms the base ingredient of all types of chocolates. Depending on the ingredients added to unsweetened chocolate, you get different varieties of chocolates. Let’s take a look at these various types of chocolate.

Milk chocolate

Did you know that the production of milk chocolate was made possible only after the invention of milk powder in 1867? That’s because milk in its liquid form didn’t blend well with chocolate liquor. Milk chocolate is made by combining chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, sugar and either sweetened condensed milk or powdered whole milk. This type of chocolate is sweeter and has a far more mellow flavour compared to dark chocolate.If you enjoy indulging in a chocolate bar or sweet now and then, then you’re most likely enjoying milk chocolate in all its glory.

Dark milk chocolate

This is a newer variety of milk chocolate and has a higher proportion of cocoa content. So, where milk chocolate has about 30 to 45% of cocoa content, dark milk chocolate has 45% and above. Several of the fine chocolate bars you see today are made of this type of chocolate.

Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate has a gorgeous deep brown, almost black colour, and a strong aroma. This variety of chocolate is a lot less sweet than milk chocolate and is largely made up of just two ingredients – chocolate liquor and sugar. At times, vanilla can be added for a hint of flavour or an emulsifier is added to improve the chocolate’s viscosity. Good quality dark chocolate will contain at least 50% chocolate liquor and no dairy products. It will also make a sharp snapping sound when broken in half.Although an acquired taste, a lot of people tend to enjoy a slab of dark chocolate after meals or with coffee. It’s also used to prepare desserts and confectionery treats.

Bittersweet or extra dark chocolate

This is dark chocolate, but with a higher percentage of cocoa content – usually 66% and above. Bittersweet chocolate gained popularity as consumers’ awareness about cocoa percentages increased. Health and fitness afficionados began praising the health benefits of chocolates with 70% cocoa content and higher. Soon, bittersweet chocolate became the go-to chocolate for all those who wanted to enjoy the dessert, minus the calories. Semisweet chocolate has a similar percentage of cocoa content, but is sweeter than bittersweet chocolate and less sweet than dark chocolate.

Semisweet Chocolate

As the name suggests, this type of chocolate falls somewhere between being a bittersweet chocolate and dark chocolate. However, there isn’t any official demarcation that helps you figure out whether a chocolate is semisweet or not. As a base indicator, you can safely assume that any chocolate containing 35 percent cocoa solids can be considered too be semisweet.  

As far as usage is concerned, semisweet chocolate is usually reserved for baking. However, before you use it, it is best to check the recipe’s ingredient list to see if it calls for semisweet chocolate or baking chocolate. Since this chocolate variety already has a quantity of sugar in it, along with the inherent bitterness of chocolate, it is perfectly suited to whipping up delectable desserts. From mousses and truffles to cakes and brownies, there’s nothing you can’t make using semisweet chocolate. Simply make sure to adjust the sugar levels accordingly and you’re good to go!

White chocolate

This chocolate has an ivory colour. It is made by combining cocoa butter, milk, vanilla, sugar and an emulsifier. White chocolate is sweet and has a strong vanilla flavour. Good quality white chocolate will have a soft, creamy texture and won’t be too hard. Ever wondered why white chocolate is white and not brown? Well, that’s because it does not contain any cocoa solids – a component of the cacao bean that gives chocolate its brown colour and chocolatey flavour. But it is still considered to be chocolate since it contains cocoa butter, which is derived from the cacao bean.

Ruby chocolate

When ruby chocolate hit the culinary scene in 2017, it created quite a buzz. It’s a big deal even today because of its unique pale pink colour. Ruby chocolate is usually referred to as the fourth chocolate after the other three types of chocolate - dark, milk and white. It is made from the ruby cocoa bean – cocoa beans that grow under unique climatic conditions found in Ecuador, Brazil and Ivory Coast. Ruby chocolates have a berry fruitiness and sour, tangy and tart flavour notes. They also have a silky smoothness that’s unique to this variety of chocolate.

Unsweetened Chocolate 

Do you enjoy baking a warm, ooey-gooey chocolate cake on a rainy day or for a loved one’s birthday? Or maybe you want to get into baking to unwind and take a break from life’s stressors. Regardless, one of the things you’ll have to stock in your pantry if you plan to bake a bunch is unsweetened chocolate. As the name suggests, unsweetened chocolate contains no sugar at all. Instead, it is made from pure chocolate liquor derived from ground up cocoa beans. Out of all the types of chocolate out there, this is perhaps the best suited for all your baking adventures. No meant to be consumed as is, you can effortlessly incorporate this chocolate into recipes used for baking or cooking. It blends well with other ingredients without overpowering their flavours and helps you concoct delectable, sweet treats. Whether you use it to make luscious ganache or finger-licking cake batter, unsweetened chocolate is a pantry essential.   

Couverture Chocolate 

Have you watched a cooking show on TV and ‘oohed’ and ‘aahed’ at the confectionery delights whipped up on screen? Or maybe you’ve been to a bakery or patisserie and been awestruck by baked good featuring chocolate rendered in new and innovative ways. Regardless, if you want to recreate these culinary masterpieces at home, or maybe experiment and have fun, all you need is couverture chocolate. While you can get away with using regular chocolate, the results won’t be the same.  

Couverture chocolate, on the other hand, contains a higher percentage of cocoa butter than different types of chocolate. So, it tends to melt quickly and evenly, creating a smooth and pliable substance. You can manipulate melted couverture chocolate to make tempered chocolate and candies. Although it is a bit on the pricier side, the end results make it a worthwhile investment. And when you’ll whip up desserts featuring shards of tempered chocolate or decadent truffles and clusters, you won’t think much of the cost.

Cocoa powder

Cocoa powder is made by subjecting cocoa liquor to high pressure so that the cocoa solids in it separate. The cocoa solids are then crushed into a powder. Cocoa powder essentially contains 100% cocoa and that’s why it’s so bitter to taste. Unsweetened cocoa is used for baking chocolate cakes and desserts and even for making hot chocolate. Dutch-processed cocoa is a darker cocoa powder with a deeper chocolate flavour. It is often the go-to ingredient for bakers making chocolate desserts.

All of Theobroma’s chocolate cakes and desserts are made using pure, high-quality chocolate. That’s why you get to enjoy the rich taste of chocolate in every bite. This is what sets our chocolate creations apart from what you find in the market. We have a wide selection of chocolate-based desserts made from all types of chocolate. This includes cupcakes, tarts, cakes, brownies, croissants, almond rocks and hot chocolate. Walk into a nearby store to treat yourself to our delicious baked goodies, or you can order them online from the comfort of your home. Remember, don’t settle for less when you can get the best!

Updated on Jan 18, 2024