Chocolate - Sweet Ambrosia


Chocolate, sweet chocolate, the most sublime of tastes. Whatever other edible delicacies may tease our senses of taste and smell, I cannot think of a single one that has the power to lure as does chocolate.

There are several different tastes of chocolate. People have their personal preferences and will stand strong in their beliefs. Some of these forms of chocolate are as follows:
  • CHOCOLATE LIQUOR is made by grinding the center of the roasted cocoa bean (nib) to a smooth liquid known as chocolate liquor. After cooling, the chocolate liquor is molded into blocks known as unsweetened BAKING CHOCOLATE. There is approximately 53% cocoa butter in the liquor and blocks. Baking chocolate has no sugar but vanilla is sometimes used as a flavoring. Baking chocolate also goes by the name of BITTER CHOCOLATE.
  • SWEET or DARK CHOCOLATE is a generic name for chocolate with 15% to 35% chocolate liquor. It has a maximum of 12% milk solids. Cocoa butter, sugar, and vanilla are added as the beans come from the grinding mill. BITTERSWEET and SEMISWEET CHOCOLATE belong to this category. There must be a minimum of at least 35% chocolate liquor. Fat content is around 27%. Its flavor ranges from fruity to earthy with barely any milk or dairy flavor. The flavor is determined more by bean blend than its dairy components.
  • BITTERSWEET or SEMISWEET CHOCOLATE is the darkest of chocolate meant for eating. It has the highest percentage of chocolate liquor, at least 35%, with additional cocoa butter for easier melting. As above, flavor is more dependent upon the cocoa bean blend. This is my personal favorite of all categories of chocolate.
  • MILK CHOCOLATE is the most common taste of chocolate for consumption, consisting of chocolate liquor into which cocoa butter, milk, sweeteners, and flavorings have been added. It has minimums of at least 10% chocolate liquor and 12% milk solids with a strong milk and/or caramelized flavor. It is generally used for garnishes and candy coating.
  • COCOA is the powdery remains of chocolate liquor. Most of the cocoa butter is removed, making for the least fatty form of chocolate. Cocoa includes dutched chocolate. Its colors run the gamut from light tan to red to black.
  • DUTCH CHOCOLATE, in its chocolate liquor or cocoa powder forms, is treated with an approved alkalizing agent so that its color, flavor, and dispersability in liquids are modified. If it is given extreme treatments it will turn to a black cocoa powder.
  • CHOCOLATE FLAVORED COATING consists of vegetable fats other than cocoa butter that are blended in with cocoa powder. Like many chocolate products, chocolate flavored coating uses sugar, milk, and flavorings. The use of fats other than cocoa butter enables lower production expenses. On the other hand, it is easier to use than genuine chocolate. It might leave a waxy feel in your mouth. It is my least favorite form of chocolate flavoring because of its artificial texture.
  • WHITE CHOCOLATE is mostly used as a coating. It is not a true chocolate because it contains cocoa butter but no nonfat chocolate solids. Akin to milk chocolate in its basic makeup, it contains sugar, cocoa butter, milk solids, and flavorings. It has a sweet, milky taste, with colors varying from pure white to yellow white. I personally find white chocolate overpoweringly sweet.
Whatever form or taste it takes, chocolate remains an ambrosia from the gods.


©2007 Terry Kaufman for Niftykitchen.com
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