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What Are Different Types of Chocolate?

Chocolates covered in coconut flakes.
A selection of dark, milk, and white chocolate candies.
Chocolate.
Cocoa butter is used to make chocolate.
Whole milk is an ingredient in milk chocolate.
Cocoa beans are fermented before being roasted and ground into a powder to cut down on the natural bitterness of the bean.
Baking chocolate is often bittersweet or unsweetened with a higher percentage of chocolate liquor and very little sugar.
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  • Written By: A Kaminsky
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 20 July 2014
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Loved by the world, and especially by women in bad moods, the sweet, delicious substance known as chocolate has become popular only in the past 175 years or so. The Aztec Indians drank a hot concoction made from cocoa beans, but it did not resemble the beverage as we know it. In fact, the first solid chocolate bar was sold in England in 1847. It also comes in many forms — some familiar, some less so.

Chocolate is made by harvesting the pods from the cacao tree and allowing them to ferment for about a week. The beans are then shelled from the pods and either sun-dried or machine dried. The latter method takes less time, but produces a lower grade of chocolate.

After being dried, the beans are then graded, roasted and ground. The ground beans are pressed to release the fat, or cocoa butter, and the result is cocoa mass or "liquor." The cocoa liquor is then used to make various kinds of chocolate.

Milk chocolate is probably the most familiar type. It is produced by combining cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, lecithin, whole milk, vanilla and sugar. A good-quality product should have at least 33% cocoa solids. Most mass-produced varieties have less, however. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has set standards on what percentage of cocoa solids a particular type must have in order to be labeled and sold as that variety.

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Some is best for eating, and some for cooking. Some types, like couverture chocolate, can be used for baking, eating or coating candies. This is usually considered the highest quality, and it has a high percentage of cocoa butter, making it smooth and easily tempered. Couverture is also expensive, making it more suitable for candy-making than for general baking, for which very a high-quality is not required.

Baking chocolate is often bittersweet or unsweetened, which means it has 60 to 100% cocoa liquor, very little sugar and a much lower cocoa butter content than other varieties. It may also have a grainy texture, which does not matter when it is melted and used for baking. Compound chocolate is sometimes used in place of couverture, since it is less expensive, having vegetable fat in place of some of the cocoa butter. Cocoa powder is also a familiar sight in the grocery aisle and has a wide variety of uses. Eating chocolate is meant strictly to be eaten in bar form.

White chocolate is not considered chocolate by the FDA, and so has no guidelines for its composition. The best is composed of cocoa butter, whole milk powder, vanilla, sugar and lecithin. Some lower grades include a lot of vegetable fat, but the best kind uses only cocoa butter.

Willy Wonka's chocolate river from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory may be a fantasy, but author Roald Dahl had the right idea: everyone loves chocolate.

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Discuss this Article

anon315241
Post 3

Godiva chocolates use cheap hydrogenated oils. Read up on them. They are evil.

latte31
Post 2

I agree with you. Godiva chocolate is the best. I also buy their Valentine chocolate hearts for my husband and my kids.

I love this chocolate so much that I used the thin medallion chocolates as favors for my wedding. They are the best chocolate candy that I have ever tasted.

I also love the Harry and David chocolate gift baskets. I sometimes buy their Chocolate Jewel box that has dark chocolate clusters, chocolate malt balls, and the Bing cherry chocolates for the gift for my daughter’s teacher.

They make great gifts for people that you have to buy a gift for but you don’t know well. These are nice gifts to buy several of in case you need to give an unexpected last minute gift. I always buy extra and what I don’t need I take to holiday parties which works out perfect.

sunshine31
Post 1

I love dark chocolate. They say that dark chocolate has built in antioxidants that are good for your heart.

Antioxidants also make your skin appear younger and suppler. In addition, they say that eating chocolate releases endorphins that you experience when you are happy so eating chocolate could be a mood enhancer.

I love gourmet chocolates like Godiva. They make the best chocolate truffles. I have even tried their sugar free chocolate bars and they are delicious.

You can’t even tell that they are sugar free. I sometimes buy their chocolate gift sets for Christmas for my kid’s teacher.

I really love their chocolate Santa’s. I always buy some and put them in my children’s stocking.

They also have a really nice assortment of Easter candy. I usually get the store to make a basket for my kids. Sometimes they will combine plush toys with the candy making it a really nice chocolate gift for any child.

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