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Types of Chocolate

Firstly you need to understand how chocolate made and what chocolate is. It is made from the cocoa bean which is dried, roasted and ground. The grinding produces cocoa liquor and from this two distinct items are extracted:

  • a fat that is called cocoa butter
  • a solid that is called cocoa mass and which is refined to make cocoa powder

Depending on what is then added to the cocoa mass the different varieties of chocolate are produced. Each has a different chemical make-up - the differences are not solely in the taste. Be sure, therefore, to use the kind of chocolate the recipe calls for, as different varieties will react differently to heat and moisture.

Chocolate liquor with much of the cocoa butter removed, creating a fine powder.

Alkalised cocoa powder (also known as Dutch processed cocoa) has been treated with an alkali during processing to produce a more mellow, less harsh-tasting but darkly coloured cocoa.

It can pick up moisture and odours from other products, so needs to be stored in a cool, dry place, in an airtight container. Depending on its production it may or may not have other ingredients added such as sugar.

Unsweetened Chocolate
Simply the cooled and hardened version of chocolate liquor. It is used primarily as an ingredient in recipes as by itself it does not taste very nice.

Bitter / Dark / Plain Chocolate
Cocoa mass, cocoa butter and sugar. Normally contains approximately 35% cocoa liquor.

Semi-sweet Chocolate
It has approximately 15% chocolate liquor, with extra cocoa butter and sugar added. Sweet cooking chocolate is basically the same with more sugar for taste.

Milk Chocolate
Cocoa mass, cocoa butter, milk or milk powder and sugar and vanilla added. Normally contains approximately 15 % cocoa liquor.

White Chocolate
This is not really chocolate at all, as it contains no cocoa solids, which leaves it the smooth ivory or beige colour. White chocolate is primarily cocoa butter, sugar, milk and vanilla.

White chocolate is the most fragile form of all the chocolates. Pay close attention to it while heating or melting it. It must be achieved slowly or it will burn and seize very easily.

Couverture is a special kind of cooking chocolate used by professional chefs. A couverture is simply a chocolate with a higher cocoa butter content (a minimum of 32% and often as much as 39%). This high cocoa butter content contributes fluidity, smoothness, strength and ease of handling. In most cases these chocolates also contain a high cocoa solid content which heightens the flavour.

The formula on couverture packaging may look like this: 70/30/38. This means that there is 70% cocoa solids, 30% sugar, and 38% total fat content.

70/30/38 : describes an extra bitter couverture and indicates 70% cocoa solids and only 30% sugar
60/40/38 : describes a bitter couverture which is the most frequently used
50/50/38 : describes semi-sweet
36/42/38 : describes milk chocolate couverture

There are two other main types: tempered and un-tempered.

Decorator's Chocolate or Confectioner's Chocolate
This is not really chocolate at all but a sort of chocolate flavoured candy used for applications such as covering strawberries. It was created to melt easily and harden quickly. If you want quick and easy use decorator's chocolate . . . if you want the real thing use real chocolate and patience.


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Food and Cooking Tips
from professional
Chef Tallyrand


Born and raised in Plymouth, Tallyrand started his initial training as a chef at Plymouth College of Further Education. It was here that he was to learn his love, his passion for food and the culinary arts. From here he headed to Germany to complete his apprenticeship as Commis de Gardemanger.

Germany gave him his first taste of cooking for the rich and famous, as half way through his first year, along with the Sous Chef and a Chef de Partie, he was whisked off to Cologne to help prepare meals for a political conference, where amongst other dignitaries they cooked for Mr Brehznev, the then powerful Russian leader. This was to prove to be just one of the many celebrities he was to cook for or get to know over the years . . .

If you would like to find out more why not visit Tallyrand's own web site www.tallyrand.info (link in main menu)

Email Hub-UK : info@hub-uk.com