Some types of chocolate are identified by the varying
quantities of ingredients found in chocolate--chocolate liquor, cocoa
butter, sugar, and sometimes milk and/or
These include: dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, and semisweet chocolate.
Other types of chocolate are distinguished by their countries of origin: Belgian chocolate, Swiss chocolate, German chocolate, French chocolate, Mexican chocolate, and Venezuelan chocolate.
There is also what some may call "specialty chocolate":
sugar free chocolate, gluten free chocolate, and kosher chocolate.
Chocolate is the product of a long refining process that begins with the cacao beans of the tropical tree Theobroma cacao.
Gourmet chocolate is chocolate that boasts quality ingredients, quality production, and quality craftsmanship.
How can I tell if my chocolate is gourmet chocolate or not?
The most common types of chocolate come in dark, milk, and white varieties.
Read on for more details...
TYPES OF CHOCOLATE BY INGREDIENTS
Dark chocolate is chocolate that contains chocolate liquor, sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla, and lecithin (an emulsifier). It is sometimes called "plain chocolate" because it is chocolate without milk as an additive.
Dark chocolate, with its high cocoa content, has recently been recognized for its health benefits. It's been found to contain a substantial amount of antioxidants that reduce the formation of free radicals in the body.
Sumptuous and exotic dark chocolate is rapidly becoming more widespread in candies, sauces, and gourmet treats.
Milk chocolate is produced by combining cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, milk, vanilla and sugar, and lecithin. The milk used is either condensed milk or dry milk solids, depending on the manufacturer.
Milk chocolate is typically much sweeter than dark chocolate, has a lighter color, and a less pronounced chocolate taste.
Milk chocolate is one of the most familiar types of chocolate and is known to be America's favorite.
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White chocolate is formed from a mixture of sugar, cocoa butter and milk solids, but no chocolate liquor or cocoa solids, the two primary ingredients in chocolate.
It gets its name from its primary ingredient, cocoa butter--the fat from the cocoa bean.
Because white chocolate does not contain cocoa solids, many countries do not consider white chocolate as chocolate at all.
White chocolate has gained popularity in recent years.
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Bittersweet chocolate is essentially a form of dark chocolate to which some sugar (typically 1/3), more cocoa butter, and vanilla have been added. It doesn't contain milk in either liquid or dry form.
Semisweet chocolate is basically a dark chocolate with a low (typically 1/2) sugar content.
Bittersweet chocolate usually has less sugar and more liquor than semisweet chocolate, but the two names are used interchangeably. One manufacturer’s “bittersweet” bar may taste sweeter than another’s “semi-sweet” bar.
TYPES OF CHOCOLATE BY NATIONALITY
Belgian chocolate is considered to be the gourmet standard; the pinnacle of high-quality chocolate by which all others are measured.
It's the quality of ingredients and an almost obsessive adherence to Old World manufacturing techniques that make Belgian chocolate so unique from other types of chocolate.
There simply is no comparison between a standard chocolate bar and a Belgian chocolate praline.
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Swiss chocolate is more a quality of chocolate than a type.
The Swiss are perhaps the European masters of chocolate and the pioneering chocolatiers in this country have refined the making of candy into high art. From small beginnings, these pioneers laid the foundation which upholds the reputation of Swiss chocolates today.
Swiss chocolates won numerous awards in the early 20th century,
which further cemented the country's reputation for fine chocolate.
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What is German chocolate?
Did you know that well-known German chocolate cake doesn't have anything to do with the country of Germany?
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Never heard of French chocolate before?
French chocolate is a delicious secret that the French kept for themselves for decades.
Like Switzerland and Belgium, France prides itself on the high
quality of its chocolate.
Skillful French maitres chocolatiers ("master chocolate makers") surpass
themselves creating unique pieces with passion and patience.
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Mexican chocolate is made from dark, bitter chocolate mixed with sugar, cinnamon, an assortment of spices, and sometimes nuts and chilies. It has a very distinctive and rich flavor.
Mexican chocolate is traditionally used in Mexican dishes or as a drink.
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Venezuelan chocolate is a unique experience.
Venezuela is the leading producer of the Criollo cacao bean--the highest quality bean available.
This gives Venezuela a special reputation for quality when it comes to chocolate.
SPECIAL TYPES OF CHOCOLATE
SUGAR FREE CHOCOLATE
Sugar free chocolate is chocolate made with an artificial sweetener.
It's been found to be of more benefit to diabetics--because of the sweetener used--than to dieters.
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GLUTEN FREE CHOCOLATE
Gluten is a protein occurring naturally in wheat, barley, rye and (debatably) oats. Gluten allergy is commonly called coeliac (or celiac) disease and sometimes coeliac (or celiac) sprue.
While chocolate itself doesn't contain gluten, it can be picked up residually in processing.
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The Kosher market has long been recognized by the food industry as a significant and worthwhile market to accommodate. Kosher chocolate is not left out of this market.
The processing of the cocoa bean into high quality kosher chocolate adhering to strict Kashrus requirements is a challenge, but undoubtedly worth the effort.
Companies today are willing to make additional efforts to provide kosher chocolate that meets the highest levels of Kashrus.