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Chocolate Glossary

Cocoa butter that supplements the amount of cocoa butter naturally inherent in the cocoa bean. Chocolate with added cocoa butter is correctly labeled in terms of its ‘% cacao’, and, any added cocoa butter is included in this percentage, since it is also a derivative of the cacao bean. Chocolate with NO added cocoa butter may be labeled in terms of its ‘cacao mass’.

A chocolate that is at least 35% chocolate liquor may be called either semisweet or bittersweet, the choice being left to the manufacturer.

In artisan style chocolate making, this process normally occurs after roasting, winnowing and grinding. During these steps, beans are kept separate so that each can receive the treatment optimal for that bean type.

Cocoa butter from within the chocolate that rises to the surface when the chocolate is exposed to warm temperatures and then cooled. (The chocolate may be remelted and retempered to return it to its bloom-free state.)

Percentage in a chocolate derived from the cocoa bean inclusive of added cocoa butter. The ‘cacao’ excludes sugar, vanilla beans, soya lecithin as well as any other flavors or additives, natural or artificial. The raw, agricultural ingredient used to make chocolate. Also see ‘Cacao Mass’. (While ‘Cacao’ and ‘Cocoa’ are technically interchangeable, the chocolate industry tends to use the former to describe the raw ingredient, and the latter to reference elements such as cocoa powder and cocoa butter.)

Chocolate derived from cacao exclusive of added cocoa butter as well as sugar, vanilla beans, soya lecithin and any other natural or artificial flavoring or additive (i.e. just the ground up cocoa bean). Applied correctly, the term describes chocolate that includes no added cocoa butter. Synonymous with ‘Chocolate Liquor’.

Under US standards of identity, ‘chocolate’ refers to ‘chocolate liquor’, thus technically speaking, the terms ‘chocolate liquor’, ‘cocoa mass’ and ‘chocolate’ are all the same thing. More generally speaking, ‘chocolate’ is used to describe the familiar product we all know that is made from five basic ingredients: cacao beans, pure cane sugar, cocoa butter, soya lecithin and vanilla beans.

Comprised of 52-54% (50-60% legally) cocoa butter (fat) and 46%-48% cocoa solids (cocoa powder). Chocolate liquor (the American term for ‘cocoa mass’) results when cacao nibs are ground into finer and finer particles. It does not contain any alcohol.

The part of the cacao bean that is fat. A process of pressing chocolate liquor separates cocoa butter from cocoa powder. White chocolate is pure cocoa butter. Cocoa butter is not a dairy product.

The solids that remain once cocoa butter is extracted or pressed from chocolate liquor.

The final and key step in chocolate flavor development. A concher is used to simultaneously churn and cook the chocolate allowing it to develop different flavors while also smoothening the ground chocolate even further. Depending on the flavor and chocolate style desired (French, Belgian or Swiss for instance), different lengths of time and temperatures may be used in conching, and innumerable flavor characteristics may be achieved.

(leaf seed) The part of the fresh cut cacao bean that later becomes the nib when the cacao bean is dried.

Chocolate containing NOT less than 32% cocoa butter. Fine quality chocolate. The term is defined for legal purposes only in France, although this French definition has become an accepted standard worldwide.

A chocolate that contains at least 10% cocoa mass (chocolate liquor) and 12% whole milk.

The part of a cacao bean that, once roasted, is ground into cocoa mass (chocolate liquor). Raw, this part of the cacao bean is referred to as the cotyledons.

Dried cacao beans arriving from their origin country must first be roasted before being winnowed. The optimal roasting time and temperature depends on the bean variety, bean size, moisture content, season of the year and flavor desired, among other factors.

A chocolate that is at least 35% chocolate liquor may be called either semisweet or bittersweet, the choice being left to the manufacturer.

After winnowing, cacao nibs are slowly ground down into smaller and smaller particles. The stone grinding machine, or melangeur, is a hallmark of the artisan French chocolate making process and is no longer found in larger factories.

Sugar from within the chocolate that rises to the chocolate’s surface when the chocolate is exposed to moisture, such as the condensation that develops on the chocolate’s surface when it is taken from the refrigerator. (Chocolate should not be refrigerated for this reason. The chocolate may be remelted and retempered to return it to its original bloom-free form.)

The process of warming chocolate, mixing it to a perfect consistency and then cooling it with carefully controlled mixing and hold times to 85°-88°F for milk chocolate or 88°-90°F for dark chocolate, such that the crystals that form in the cocoa butter are uniform throughout the product.

Cocoa mass (chocolate liquor) that generally contains 50-58% cocoa butter (and 42-50% cocoa solids), and no sugar. It may contain vanilla beans and soya lecithin (emulsifier).

The process of crushing the roasted beans into small pieces called ‘nibs’ and removing the outer shells, or ‘hulls’. Removing the hulls in their entirety is crucial to attaining perfect chocolate flavor.

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