Cocoa and Types of Chocolate
When chocolatiers talk about chocolate, they can mean many different things. Some of them aren’t even chocolate at all, like “white chocolate”. Chocolate can be mass-produced or produced by small, artisanal processors (Lebovitz). Different manufacturers put different ingredients into the raw chocolate during processing. Organic chocolate has become very popular in recent times; organic chocolate is free of chemical pesticides and fertilizers and, since it is not grown in the areas that support child labor, are considered “Fair Trade” as well (Audet). Trader Joe’s Fair Trade Dark Chocolate melts beautifully and tastes great, especially in Flourless Chocolate Cake and Lava Cake.
Cocoa is the plant, and the product of the plant. It is grown mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, but there are a few places in the Northern Hemisphere where it is grown, like my home state of Hawaii (Jones).
Couverture is the chocolate most people think of when they say “chocolate”. It makes candies, frostings, pastries and other treats. It’s easier to melt than baking chocolate. Teubner says in The Chocolate Bible: “Couverture contains cocoa solids, cocoa butter, sugar, vanilla, and lecithin, and is delicious to eat without further processing (Teubner).”
Cocoa powder is very popular for things like hot cocoa and cake frosting. It is produced after the cocoa butter is separated from the ground cocoa nibs and can have a very low fat content, depending upon how it is processed. It is insoluble until treated with potassium carbonate, which alkalizes it (Teubner). The term “chocolate powder” can be used interchangeably with “cocoa powder”, but as a rule of thumb, if it says “chocolate powder”, it’s more likely to have sugar and milk solids added.
What is the difference between “dark”, “milk” and “semi-sweet” chocolate? Teubner says that it’s what’s in there along with the cocoa, and how much. “The higher the ratio (of cocoa liquor to sugar),...