We’ve learned so much about chocolate since embarking on our Chocology journey. Everything we learn, of course, enhances our chocolate products. But we also love sharing what we learn with you, our customers.
About a year and a half ago, we shared some terms we were learning about chocolate in our chocolatier course. Since then, we’ve learned a whole lot more.
We thought it fitting to pass that knowledge on to you! Ever heard the word “bloom” when referring to chocolate? How about “Couverture” or “Theobromine”? Read on to learn more about one of the world’s favorite foods. . .Chocolate!
BITTERSWEET –Contains at least 35% chocolate liquor for bittersweet. Other ingredients include extra cocoa butter (in some cases), sugar, lecithin and spices.
BLOOM Also called fat bloom—A dull, white film appearing on the surface of chocolate. This is either due to re-crystallised sugar, caused by excess humidity, or fat caused by temperature fluctuations. Neither of these have much affect on the taste.
CACAO BEAN – The seeds of the fruit, called Pod or Cabosse, produced by the Theobroma cacao tree, pronounced kah KOW.
CHOCOLATE - Chocolate is the product that is made from the roasted seeds of cocoa pods. The seeds are ground and processed into either liquid or solid forms and then mixed with sugar, vanilla, lecithin and other flavorings to form ‘chocolate’. Having been consumed in liquid form for thousands of years, it has only been eaten in solid forms since 1847.
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 (also called grue) 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 consists of the tiny stem and unfurled leaves.
COCOA POWDER – Ground cocoa cake. Cocoa powders can have different percentages of cocoa butter.
COUVERTURE - Chocolate containing at least 32% cocoa butter. The high cocoa butter content can make the chocolate taste better in your mouth (more about that later) and produce a more satiny finish for a beautiful chocolate. Couverture comes from the French word couvrir - to coat or cover and is pronounced koo-vehr-TYOOR. Sometimes referred to as fondant chocolate.
ENROBING - The thin, hard covering of an enrobed bonbon. This is the term used to describe the method of coating hand-formed or moulded interiors, with a thin coat of chocolate.
GANACHE - A smooth combination of chocolate and cream or butter, or both. Ganache has many uses, and forms the essential foundation for chocolate truffles, where it is combined with anything from liqueurs, nuts or fruits to spices or herbs.
LECITHIN - A natural product derived from the soybean that acts as an emulsifier in the manufacture of chocolate.
MARZIPAN - A sweet paste made from a combination of finely ground almonds, sugar and egg whites. Marzipan can be flavored and is often colored to produce traditional ‘marzipan fruits’.
MILK CHOCOLATE - Contains at least 10% chocolate liquor. Other ingredients include sugar, lecithin, milk or cream powder, and spices such as vanilla
ROASTING - This is the first step in producing chocolate from cocoa beans. The heating process, typically around 30 minutes, develops the flavor and aroma of the cocoa beans before they are ground.
SNAP - The clean crisp sound made when chocolate is broken. A clean ‘snap’ indicates a high cocoa content and a well tempered chocolate.
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.
THEOBROMA CACAO - The scientific name for the cocoa tree. The tree that produces the cacao pod (cabosse) with its cocoa beans (seeds) inside. A combination of the ancient Greek word ‘theobroma’ meaning ‘food of the gods’ and the old Aztec word ‘cacahuatl’ which the Spanish invaders called ‘cocoa’.
THEOBROMINE - Theobromine, along with caffeine, is a stimulant and one of the many compounds that are found in chocolate.
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 a chocolate covered blog post!
~ The Chocology Team