Chocolate is the most popular food in the world, and its different types have different tastes, shapes, and compositions.
What are the types of chocolate?
Types of chocolate include milk chocolate, white chocolate, dark chocolate, red chocolate, bitter-sweet chocolate, liquid chocolate, coating chocolate, and compound chocolate.
Chocolate has always been among the most popular foods in all countries, and eating it is pleasant for all ages and tastes. Its identity goes beyond a food item and is known as a valuable and enjoyable gift.
The popularity of chocolate has caused many variations in it, and chocolate factories worldwide have always tried to have a more significant share of the hot market of this valuable food item by creating new flavors and combinations of chocolate. At the same time, this competition has increased the quality of chocolates throughout history. In this article, we introduce different types of chocolate, each with its structure, taste, and characteristics.
What is chocolate?
The main ingredient of chocolate is cocoa, The fruit of a tree with the same name that grows near the equator—the first uses of chocolate date back to 1,100 BC in Honduras. The Mayans and Aztecs dried cacao beans, pounded them, and mixed them with water to make a bitter drink called xocolatl. This drink was imported from South America to Spain in 1529 AD and then introduced throughout Europe.
Until about two centuries later, the use of chocolate drinks was limited only to the rich; Of course, Europeans reduced its bitterness by adding some sugar. In 1828, for the first time, the Dutch discovered the method of preparing cocoa butter and removing the bitterness of chocolate, paving the way for making today’s chocolate.
The first chocolate in today’s style was introduced by Joseph Fry in 1847. Since the beginning of the 20th century, due to the development of production and packaging technology, chocolates have become more diverse, cheaper, and more accessible to the public. Still, chocolate’s peak of abundance and popularity goes back to 1930, after the First World War. Chocolate, offered as food rations on the battlefields, became famous and popular among the general public by the soldiers returning from the war.
Today, Belgium is known as the largest chocolate producer in the world, and the city of Brussels is known as the world’s chocolate capital. In Belgium, more than 300 factories produce 170,000 tons of chocolate annually. Also, the Belgians, the Irish, Germans, and the Swiss have the highest chocolate consumption globally, about 11 kg per person per year.
The world’s chocolate production in 2022 reached about 7,000,000 tons per year. It is estimated that the income of the chocolate industry in the world will get more than 140 billion dollars per year by 2024. With the growth of the chocolate industry, the quality of chocolate production has improved significantly, and the number of high-quality and expensive chocolate brands has increased daily.
Currently, the world’s most expensive bar chocolate is produced by the To’ak company in Ecuador, a 50-gram piece of which costs $450. Ecuador in South America has 63% of the best cocoa in the world.
Milk chocolate is the most popular and abundant type of chocolate. Its main ingredients include 10-50% solid cocoa, cocoa butter, milk (in various forms, including boiled milk, milk powder, or condensed milk), and sugar. Milk chocolate is brown, lighter, shinier, and less brittle than dark chocolate. Due to the presence of milk in the ingredients of this chocolate and its reaction to heat, milk chocolate is not usually used in cooking and preparing desserts. Because of its pleasant and balanced taste, this chocolate matches the taste of many people worldwide.
White chocolate is a type of chocolate without solid cocoa. This chocolate only contains cocoa butter (at least 20%), milk, sugar, lecithin, and other additives.
White chocolate was first made in Switzerland in the 1930s as a substitute for cocoa butter. The white color of this chocolate is not due to the presence of milk but due to the absence of solid cocoa in it. In the preparation of white chocolate, odorless cocoa butter is usually used, which makes this type of chocolate not have a deep taste by itself; In fact, the taste of this chocolate is more related to flavorings (such as vanilla) that are added to its main ingredients. The amount of fat, milk, and sugar used in making white chocolate is very high, and it is not a good choice for people who favor healthy and low-calorie foods.
Dark chocolate is considered to be between 50 and 90% of its dry weight of cocoa. Due to having a large number of antioxidants and flavanols, dark chocolate can positively reduce blood cholesterol, improve cardiovascular health, protect the skin from the impact of sunlight, and prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia.
The higher the purity of the chocolate (the higher the percentage of cocoa), the more bitter and beneficial the chocolate. Dark chocolate does not contain milk; compared to milk chocolate, it has a darker color and a crisper texture; It has less cholesterol and sugar, and as a result, it causes fewer adverse side effects in the body.
According to research, about a third of all chocolate buyers in the world are in favor of dark chocolate; Of course, milk chocolate producers believe that this chocolate can be more beneficial than dark chocolate due to having more calcium and protein; But on the other hand, dark chocolate has a higher level of iron and antioxidants.
Red chocolate or ruby chocolate (meaning ruby, which is taken from the name of the cocoa bean) is the newest type of chocolate made in the world after dark, milk, and white chocolate, first introduced in 2017 by a Belgian-Swiss company. The pink color of ruby chocolate is entirely natural, and no additional color (natural or artificial) is used to make it. The taste of this chocolate is sweet and slightly sour, similar to the taste of berries, and its texture differs from the other three types of chocolate.
The production of red chocolate began with the discovery of Ruby Cocoa beans, which have a fruity taste and a ruby color. After that, it took more than ten years to obtain the current method of processing and baking dark chocolate; The production process of this chocolate remains a secret. The ruby cacao tree grows in Brazil, Ecuador, and Ivory Coast. The most crucial point in making red chocolate is that it is done without adding fruit flavoring.
Dark chocolate – sweet
Dark-sweet chocolate is a sweetened dark chocolate that must contain at least 35% pure cocoa in its ingredients, according to the US Food and Drug Administration rules. This number is at least 43% in Britain, But there is no specific recipe for the amount of sugar used. Also, milk is not used in the production of bitter-sweet chocolate. The taste of this chocolate and its level of bitterness is different in different brands, But usually, in terms of anger, it is between milk chocolate and dark chocolate. Bitter-sweet chocolate with varying cocoa percentages is used in cooking and preparing desserts.
Liquid chocolate is melted chocolate. The degree of softness of this chocolate should be to the extent that it can move smoothly like liquids, But at the same time, its concentration should be so that it does not spread. Liquid chocolate can be made by melting chocolate. Adding cream and chocolate in equal proportions can also obtain liquid chocolate with a lighter texture. This type of chocolate is used to prepare various cakes and desserts.
Covering chocolate or couverture chocolate is a professional and very high-quality chocolate, with at least 31% cocoa butter and 35% solid cocoa, which has a very soft texture and melts quickly. This chocolate is not used for general consumption, and due to its high concentration and smooth and uniform structure, it is mainly used for making cakes and sweets in confectioneries. Coverture chocolate is produced in three types: bitter, milky, and white.
Compared to other types of chocolate, couverture chocolate has more cocoa butter and higher quality. The higher amount of cocoa butter in the coating chocolate composition makes it easier for this chocolate to change its shape when heated and to be able to spread on various cakes and desserts. These characteristics also cause the high price of this type of chocolate.
To create a thin layer of chocolate on biscuits and other edibles, they are dipped in chocolate coating or passed under a layer of falling melted chocolate. This chocolate gets a shiny appearance after drying.
Compound chocolate is not included in the definition of “real chocolate” according to the standards of some countries. One of the criteria of real chocolate is using cocoa butter as a fatty substance. But in preparing compound chocolate, other cheap oils such as coconut or palm oil (palm kernel oil) are used instead of cocoa butter. Also, cocoa powder is used in compound chocolate instead of pure chocolate extract (chocolate paste), obtained in preparing cocoa butter.
Compared to real chocolate, compound chocolate has a fattier taste, lower quality, and lower nutritional value and melts in the mouth more slowly. This type of chocolate is mainly used to prepare chocolate chips, chocolate ice cream coating, and other industrial food products with chocolate coating.
Gianduja chocolate is a type of European chocolate in which the paste of oily nuts (usually hazelnuts and sometimes almonds) is used. This chocolate is produced in two types: dark (without milk) and milk. Jaindoya chocolate was initially made in Italy and is named after an Italian show character. There should be at least 30% of hazelnuts in the ingredients of Italian Jaindoya chocolate. This chocolate is also used as a flavoring in other types of chocolate.
Eating most chocolates with a sweet and pleasant taste is caused by sugar; however, it is delightful and valuable. If it is too much, it causes serious harm to the body and causes heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
Substituting sugar-free chocolates with the same taste but without the possibility of causing illness is a good option for chocolate lovers. The ingredients used in these chocolates as sweeteners instead of sugar should be natural sweeteners (such as fruits, honey, or stevia) to not be harmful. Stevia is a plant whose ingredients have sweetening properties and is one of the best alternatives to sugar in food products. The sweetness of this plant is much higher than sugar, and its calories are close to zero; A small amount of stevia can be used instead of a large amount of sugar in food ingredients.
Nowadays, artificial sweeteners are also widely used in the food industry, which have little calories and nutritional value, and a small amount of them creates a delightful taste in foods; This issue can help health by reducing sugar consumption; But the high consumption of these substances, beyond the allowed daily dose, may cause the occurrence of other diseases in the long term.
The difference in taste and structure between “cocoa chocolate” and “pure cocoa” is mainly due to the presence of cocoa butter in chocolate. Cocoa butter is the fat extracted from the seeds of the cocoa tree, which is used to improve the quality and taste of chocolate. Cocoa butter gives a softer texture to chocolate, and its melting point is almost equal to body temperature; So, when chocolate is placed in the mouth, it starts to melt.
When the cacao tree is five years old, the pods are removed from the tree, and about 50 cocoa beans are removed from each pod. After carefully removing the skin of the seeds, they are exposed to heat, and then the oil of the roasted grains is extracted under pressure, which is the cocoa butter. What remains from this process is a brown substance, which is the pure extract of chocolate and the main ingredient for preparing dark chocolate.
The cocoa butter in its natural state is pale yellow, fragrant (with a spicy chocolate aroma), and rich in antioxidants. To reduce the smell of cocoa butter, hot steam is usually injected into it so that the final product is suitable for use in some cosmetics and chocolates that want the aroma of other additives to be felt more than cocoa; Of course, this also reduces the taste and valuable nutrients in cocoa butter.
Cocoa powder is a bitter red-brown substance obtained naturally from the roasted seeds of the fruit of the cocoa tree, Buddha seeds that have been oiled and ground. Cocoa powder turns into chocolate after adding cocoa butter, sugar, and other ingredients.
Another method of preparing cocoa powder is the “Dutch method.” In this method, to reduce the acidic nature of cocoa powder, cocoa beans are washed with an alkaline solution; This will cause the sour taste in the cocoa powder to disappear and its color to darken.