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Chocolate. We categorise everything made with chocolate as chocolate. But what is true chocolate? When cocoa beans are ground with sugar and at times other ingredients like milk and cocoa butter, true chocolate is created. Before a bon-bon or a truffle, there is chocolate. And there are many types of chocolate. Some traditional, some modern. Let us take a look at them.

Traditional​

Dark chocolate:

Dark chocolate is chocolate created from just cocoa beans and sugar. They are created in different ways by different companies but essentially dark chocolates have a higher composition of cocoa in the form of cocoa beans, cocoa solids and cocoa butter.

Dark chocolate made by companies by Amul, Mondelez, Lindt amongst others are made by heavily processing the cocoa. Since they purchase low quality cocoa beans which are not fermented or dried well, processing is of importance. An industrial dark chocolate is made using cocoa butter and cocoa solids which are separated initially and then combined with sugar, Dutch processed cocoa powder (sometimes) and emulsifiers. Lower quality dark chocolates even have artificial flavours and hydrogenated fat added to them.

Artisan chocolate makers since the earlier times created chocolate from high quality cocoa beans and sugar. At times, vanilla would be added to the chocolate to make the flavour better. Unlike today, high quality cocoa beans were not as easily accessible. However, the aim was always to bring out the beautiful flavours of the cocoa beans without tampering with the quality.

Milk chocolate:

In the earlier days of chocolate, chocolate – which was mostly dark bitter chocolate was unpalatable. To make it better, milk powder (which was a new thing back then) was added to the dark chocolate. Milk reduced the bitterness of the chocolate while making the flavour richer. This unleashed the chocolate industry that remains to this day.

Industrial milk chocolate today is made by combining dehydrated milk in some form with cocoa solids, cocoa butter, hydrogenated fat or some other fat (to replace the cocoa butter), a high quantity of sugar and often times vanilla.  A lot of times emulsifiers and artificial flavours are added to make it taste better.

Good milk chocolate was always created with good quality milk would be sourced from a local milk producer and then dehydrated. Europe became the centre for good milk chocolate due to the good quality of milk available there coupled with the love for chocolate. Though at times the cocoa beans weren’t as good as they are today, they were still sourced fairly and then transformed into beautiful milk chocolate using only natural ingredients.

White chocolate:

Cacao bean can be separated into cocoa butter and cocoa solids. Originally, white chocolate was created by adding milk, sugar and at times vanilla to the cocoa butter.

Like milk and dark chocolate, ingredients are what separate the good chocolate makers from the industrial ones while making white chocolate. The good ones are flavourful and milky with a lot less sugar than the industrial ones. Often cocoa butter is replaced with vegetable oil and it’s only about the sugar than the true milky flavour. What should have been a surreal milky experience is more about the sweetness for most chocolate makers. It is no wonder why white chocolate has acquired a bad image for itself amongst the connoisseurs.

New age​

These include majorly craft chocolate makers or artisan chocolatiers. The bean to bar movement in chocolate is a part of this modern range of chocolate. Let us look at the new age chocolates.

Single Origin chocolate:

A cacao bean contains more than twice the flavour compounds as that of wine. When they are sourced from a single place – be it a country or even a single estate – they showcase the flavours of that region in the chocolate. These flavours embedded deep within, come from the flora, fauna, the soil, the weather and many more natural conditions that form the terroir. These cacao beans need to be handled delicately and fermented and dried perfectly to bring out the beautiful flavours. New age chocolate makers sources these beans from across the world and transform them into chocolate. They are created from just 2 ingredients – cacao beans and sugar. Sometimes it is 100% cacao beans. Due to how they are created, two chocolates made from the same bean can at times taste completely different. Each created to bring out certain flavours in the bean.

Unroasted chocolate:

Most cacao beans are roasted. However, there are some chocolate makers who prefer to not roast them. Unroasted chocolate can be a little more closer to the real flavour of the cacao bean than the roasted ones. The flavour is a lot stronger and they can often be more acidic than the ones that are roasted. If created in the right way, they can taste exceptional.

Rustic chocolate:

In ancient Mexico, cacao beans were crushed and stone ground by hand. Some chocolate makers like Taza in the United States are creating them for the modern world. Rustic chocolates can be grainy and have a bite to them. Unlike all chocolates that are ground for days, rustic chocolates are ground till they are made into a grainy disc. For people who love cacao nibs, this is the one to eat. The flavour is the closest to that of the cacao bean.

Innovative chocolate:

In the recent years, few new age chocolate makers began creating chocolate that was unlike any chocolate we have ever eaten. No boundaries exist here. Some made it from fruits, some from berries, some roasted chocolate like marshmallow, some replaced the milk in chocolate to create a vegan bar and the list goes on. They are different. They are unique. At times quirky. We call them ‘unchocolate’.

As we see, innumerable types of chocolate exist today. New age, industrial or traditional, the most important thing in a chocolate is the ingredients. A great chocolate maker transforms fabulous ingredients into even better chocolate. Who makes them does not matter as long as they are truly natural and taste fabulous.

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