Wow, Madeline and I have been learning a lot about chocolate lately!
In addition to all we are discovering in our chocolatier class, we are getting ready to make a big announcement on Sunday about our upcoming fudge line. We’re also gearing up to participate in the upcoming Long Island Chocolate Festival! There’s a lot to learn and since we are a company based on the study of chocolate, this is a good thing!
We’re so excited about the knowledge we’ve acquired and naturally we love passing all of this new information on to you.
So, this week we decided to create a chocolate glossary, for all you chocolate lovers out there! Did you ever wonder what the difference was between a cocoa nib and a cocoa bean? Or maybe you thought that a cacao bean and a cocoa bean were the same thing. Have you ever been at the grocery store trying to decide between semi-sweet, bittersweet or milk chocolate chips but didn’t really understand the difference? What about tempering? What exactly is that and how is it done? Well, read on. You’re about to find answers to many of the questions you’ve always had about chocolate.
Chocology Chocolate Glossary
- Bittersweet Chocolate –Contains at least 35% chocolate liquor for bittersweet. Other ingredients include extra cocoa butter (in some cases), sugar, lecithin and spices.
- Cacao Bean – The seeds of the fruit, called Pod or Cabosse, produced by the Theobroma cacao tree, pronounced kah KOW.
- Chocolate Liquor – The ground cacao nibs, which contain their inherent cocoa solids and cocoa butter (approximately 50%). The term “liquor” comes from the Latin term liquor meaning “liquid” which is what happens to roasted cocoa beans when they are ground into a paste. Correctly pronounced as “licker”.The heat of the friction in the grinding process melts the cocoa butter making the mass “liquid” until it cools and hardens. Sold in the consumer market as “unsweetened” chocolate (also referred to as Cocoa Liquor, Liquid, Solid, Mass, Masse, Pate de Cacao). The liquor can be compressed to release the cocoa butter and separate it from the cocoa solids – the result is called cocoa cake or presscake. Liquor can be made from a blend (or “cuvee”) of different cocoa beans. “Varietal”, “Single Origin”, or “Vintage” are all labels for blends or single bean formulations that come from a specific region and are often named by the area or tree species from which they are grown.
- Cocoa Bean – In the industry, once cacao beans (or seeds) have gone through the fermentation process, they are then called “cocoa beans.”
- Cocoa Butter – The pale yellow vegetable fat in the cocoa bean with a melting point of 84 – 95 degrees F. (32 – 35 C) Its crystallization properties demand that chocolate containing cocoa butter be tempered in the final process before cooling.
- Cocoa Nib – Cocoa beans break into smaller particles/sections called nibs after they are dried and roasted. These natural breaks are caused because the inside of the cocoa bean is not a solid mass but consist of the tiny stem and unfurled leaves. Also called grue.
- Cocoa Powder – Ground cocoa cake. Cocoa powders can have different percentages of cocoa butter.
- Milk Chocolate – Contains at least 10% of chocolate liquor. Other ingredients include sugar, lecithin, milk or cream powder and spices such as vanilla.
- Semisweet Chocolate – Contains at least 15% chocolate liquor. Other ingredients include extra cocoa butter (in some cases), sugar, lecithin and spices.
- Tempering – The heating-cooling-heating of the chocolate in order to stabilize the cocoa butter fatty acids. Referred to as temperage in France.
- White Chocolate – Contains at least 20% cocoa butter. Other ingredients include sugar, milk and vanilla. Since it does not contain any chocolate paste, white chocolate is not considered a chocolate product.
We hope this glossary gives you a little bit better understanding of chocolate, one of the world’s favorite delights. It sure has helped us to understand our business better and our appreciation of all that goes into making chocolate has expanded tremendously!
Would you like to learn more about chocolate? Did we answer all of your questions in the glossary or do you have more? Let us know in the comment section. Or send us a Tweet or comment on Facebook. We may use your questions as a basis for another chocolate covered blog post!
We have a great week planned! To celebrate the days leading up to our first chocolate festival on Sunday, we will be giving away sweet treats to our loyal followers. Share our message through your favorite social media and to show our gratitude, your name will go into a daily drawing. We’re excited. SHARE AND WIN!
Oh, and if you’re in the area, come see us this Sunday at the Long Island Chocolate Festival! We’ll be announcing our new fudge line, so you won’t want to miss it. It’s sure to be a fun chocolate filled day!