Published on November 1st, 2007 | by Stephanie Evans2
A Chocolate Glossary
Chocolate had made its way into our lives in the form of gifts, holiday treats, and simply sweet indulgences. Keep in mind that not all chocolate products are harvested and processed by equal standards.
An educated chocolate shopper needs to know all of the lingo as they go in search of a quality chocolate product. To prepare for your chocolate shopping experience, equip yourself with this short and important list of common terms:
- Cacao nibs. The meat of the roasted, husked cacao bean, broken into bits.
- Chocolate liquor. The thick liquid resulting from grinding the cacao nibs. ‘Liquor’ in this context simply means liquid—it is not alcoholic.
- Cocoa butter. The fat that can be extracted from the chocolate liquor. This extremely stable fat is solid at room temperature and is widely used in cosmetic products for its skin-moisturizing qualities.
- Cocoa powder. The dried powder left after the cocoa butter is extracted from the chocolate liquor. Dutch processed cocoa powder has had alkali solutions added to control flavor and color. Better quality cocoa powders will indicate that they are "non-alkaline" or "not Dutch processed" on the label.
- Chocolate. Solidified chocolate liquor, made into bars, chips, etc., and sold unsweetened or sweetened. The label must state what percentage is actual chocolate ("cocoa solids"). Unsweetened chocolate is 99% chocolate liquor. Bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate must have a minimum of 35% chocolate liquor. The remainder is mostly refined white sugar.
- Milk Chocolate. Contains between 10 and 20% chocolate liquor and milk solids. The rest is mostly refined white sugar – 80 to 90%.
- White Chocolate. Made by adding sugar, vanilla, and cream to cocoa butter; it has no chocolate liquor in it. Cocoa butter, like all saturated fats, should be consumed only in very small quantities.
Article Contributors: Debra Lynn Dadd