What Are the Different Types of Chocolate?
Chocolate is among the most eaten foods in the world. It's available in various types and forms like bars and powder. It's also used as an ingredient in various recipes, drinks, cakes and pastries.
Chocolate can refer to foods derived from cocoa. The cacao seeds are fermented, dried, cleaned, and ground into chocolate liquor, from which chocolate may be made.
Unsweetened chocolate which is primarily used for baking contains cocoa solids and cocoa butter in varying proportions. Much of the chocolate consumed today is in the form of sweet chocolate, a combination of cocoa solids and fat as soft chocolate, often containing sucrose, milk products, and artificial sweeteners.
One of the health benefits of eating chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is it may reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease. While these reports about the benefits of eating chocolate are still inconclusive and ongoing, many scientific studies have shown the health benefits of eating dark chocolate.
Cocoa powder is made from pure cocoa beans, which you can think of as roasted cocoa beans. This is opposed to cocoa butter, which is a natural fat extracted from cocoa beans. Cocoa powder has been modified, but it's still predominantly natural and chemical free. It's most used for baking purposes.
Chocolate liquor is the product extracted from cocoa beans and contains cocoa solids, cocoa butter as well as a small amount of residual cocoa extract. It can be manufactured directly from cocoa beans, or by separating the husk from the beans, roasting the beans to form cocoa nibs, and grinding them into cocoa powder.
It's the base ingredient of all chocolate bars. Interestingly, chocolate liquor doesn't contain any alcohol.
Milk chocolate is often thought of as the original type of chocolate, and it is still the best selling type of chocolate today. Many people think of milk chocolate as the standard to which all others are compared.
It's right in between dark chocolate and white chocolate. It's not as bitter as dark chocolate but also not as sweet as white chocolate. It's often silky smooth and creamier.
The actual cocoa content of milk chocolate varies region to region. But most of them often contain milk, sugar and other additives like emulsifiers.
Dark Chocolate is another popular type of chocolate. Thanks to many published studies of its health benefits, it's growing in popularity among those who want to eat healthy chocolate.
It's the closest form to pure chocolate because it contains at least 70% cocoa. Sweeteners like sugar may be added albeit in small quantities. It's flavour is more intense and bitter than milk chocolate. But many people find it delicious.
Dark chocolate contains flavonoids which can improve blood flow to the heart and even lower blood pressure.
White chocolate, despite its name, is actually not chocolate. It might contain the same ingredients as milk chocolate except it doesn't contain any cocoa solids. Cocoa butter is the only cocoa ingredient used in making white chocolate.
It's probably the sweetest of all chocolates because it contains high quantities of sugar and artificial flavours like vanilla.
Next Up: What Is in Your Chocolate Bar?