Whether it’s for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or just because, chocolate is more of a necessity than an option.
There are many types of chocolate, from super sweet to extremely bitter, so finding your favorite is a delicious journey. To help you on that journey, please enjoy our complete guide to chocolate.
What are the different types of chocolates?
Perhaps the most well-known when it comes to chocolate, milk chocolate is what we turn to when we need a boost of sugar and flavor. Milk chocolate actually starts as dark chocolate, but then a large amount of sugar and milk are added for a rich, creamy texture.
The nice aspect of milk chocolate is that it is easily combined with other ingredients, including nuts and caramel. It is widely found and serves as the basis for most chocolate bars.
Dark chocolate is usually seen as an acquired taste. While most kids turn their nose up at this unsweetened chocolate, it is often a favorite among adults who are looking for a treat that isn’t loaded with extra sugar.
There are no milk products in dark chocolate and instead only includes cacao beans, sugar, soy lecithin, along with a few specific flavorings.
It is dry in texture although there are different percentages within the category so you can have a sweater, milkier taste with 70% dark chocolate than a very bitter taste with 95% dark chocolate.
While milk and dark chocolate use cocoa powder, white chocolate actually uses cocoa butter. This ingredient gives the chocolate its characteristic white color.
The cocoa butter is mixed with milk ingredients and sugar and the result is a creamy texture. White chocolate has a very subtle flavor and so it pairs nicely with other bold ingredients such as dark cherry and citrus fruits.
New to the scene, ruby chocolate only became available in 2017. It is made from ruby cocoa beans which only grown in Ecuador, Brazil, and the Ivory Coast.
While this looks like a pink chocolate, the taste is quite unusual. It is a mixture of fruity and sourness and can take a bit to get used to.
Raw chocolate is made from cocoa beans that haven’t been roasted. It does not have any additives including dairy products and sugar.
However, raw chocolate will often have sugar-substitutes, such as stevia and agave nectar. It is gluten-free and usually vegan.
Real chocolate uses cocoa butter in its process which increases its price. Compound chocolate, on the other hand, uses vegetable fat which is more low-cost.
Compound chocolate has a thin texture when melted and so it is often used to coat foods, especially chocolate bars. It has a subtle taste, although because of its ingredients, is not technically classified as chocolate.
To create the amazing cakes and confections that are always so popular, modeling chocolate is needed. This type of chocolate is created by combining melted chocolate with corn syrup.
The resulting product can be used to create different shapes and designs. Modeling chocolate is also often used with frosting or fondant to showcase a baker’s creative imagination.
The downside to modeling chocolate is that while it looks amazing, it isn’t always the yummiest. If you’re presented with a piece of cake with interesting designs, it may be best to eat around them.
Cocoa powder is created by grinding the seeds of pods found on a cocoa tree. Once the seeds have been dried and roasted, they are ground to a powder.
There are different types of cocoa powder although the version we are familiar with for baking purposes is not as acidic as the all-natural version.
Other Types of Chocolate
As you can tell from the name, bittersweet chocolate has a bitter taste to it, stemming from the fact that it has a higher content of cacao beans, usually around 50%. Therefore, it has less sugar in it than compared to semi-sweet chocolate.
Bittersweet chocolate is usually used in baking. It is often confused with semi-sweet chocolate and can be used instead, as long as you add a bit extra sugar to your recipe.
Despite its name, chocolate liquor doesn’t actually have alcohol in it. Instead, it is often kept in a liquid state.
To create chocolate liquor, cocoa beans are dried and roasted and then ground into a cocoa paste. This is then melted and kept at a liquid state.
When you go to purchase chocolate chips, they are often labeled as semi-sweet. It is a nice mix between bitter dark chocolate and super sweet milk chocolate.
Percentage-wise, expect semi-sweet chocolate to have about 50% of sugar that sweet chocolate does. It is a very versatile type of chocolate.
Sweet German Chocolate
Finding the right type of chocolate for your baking needs is all about understanding the ratio of cacao to sugar. Sweet German chocolate was created to remove a step in the baking process.
You can use this in your baking and not have to worry about adding extra sugar to make up for the bitter taste.
What are the top 10 chocolate brands?
While Ghirardelli has its headquarters in the United States, it was created by an Italian in the mid-19th century. The chocolates from this company are made with delicious, simple ingredients of the highest standards.
Their signature product may be the bite-sized chocolate pieces that come individually wrapped in colorful foil.
Patchi chocolates combine Belgium and Swiss flavors, making them a favorite around the world. However, it is a Lebanon-based company and indeed Patchi is the leading chocolate company in the Middle East.
You will often find boxes of different varieties of their chocolates, making it difficult to decide what to eat. It is customary to present a box of Patchi chocolates as a gift.
The Godiva chocolate brand has its origins in Turkey although it now has its headquarters in New York. The brand is named after the famous Lady Godiva who rode on a horse nude to protest the taxes her husband had imposed.
Godiva chocolates are famous for their truffles, which are composed of many different scrumptious flavors.
Anyone who has traveled to England knows that their chocolate is a bit different from American products. Cadbury chocolates are actually created with less sugar in England, instead relying on the true taste of cocoa to come through.
Cadbury chocolates can be found the world over, especially in chocolate bar form.
Originating in Belgium, Guylian is more popular in Europe than North America, but still delicious. Their signature pieces include seahorse-shaped chocolates and handmade wafers.
Mars is a classic chocolate bar brand that has actually been in existence for over 100 years. The brand began in England and is now incredibly popular in North America.
Inside a Mars chocolate bar, you will find nougat, caramel, honey, and almonds. All the delicious layers are then draped in velvety milk chocolate.
A trip through the airport isn’t complete unless you get a giant-sized Toblerone bar. Toblerone may be a chocolate brand but they are most famous for their pyramid-shaped chocolate bars.
Inside a Toblerone bar, you will find nougat, almonds, honey, and of course, chocolate. There are many varieties of Toblerone bars, including different types of chocolates as well as fruit and nut.
Is Christmas really complete if you don’t get to sample a Ferrero Rocher? These chocolates contain hazelnut, a wafer, and creamy milk chocolate.
Then, each individual chocolate is wrapped in gold foil. To complete the design, a hard plastic case is used to protect the chocolates, creating a very lavish look.
Lindt & Sprungli
Perhaps one of the best-tasting chocolate the world-over, Lindt & Sprungli is a chocolate company with exquisite standards. Their high-quality chocolate is wrapped in thin tin foil, producing an experience while eating it.
The chocolate from Lindt & Sprungli is made with the finest ingredients. There are plenty of options, including milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and many combinations of fruits and nuts.
If you’ve traveled through the chocolate bar aisle, you will undoubtedly have seen the classic Kit Kat. This chocolate bar is unique in that it comes in four easily separated bars. However, it’s hard to share something that tastes so good.
Kit Kats have a wafer centered that is covered in milk chocolate. It is always a favorite.
What is the best type of chocolate?
The best type of chocolate is one that leaves you satisfied. Chocolate is rich so you shouldn’t need to eat too much of it, although that can be hard to do.
For baking purposes, semi-sweet chocolate is versatile and can be used in muffins or cookies. Children may enjoy milk chocolate because of its high sugar content while adults may enjoy the bitterness of dark chocolate.
What would life be like if there were no chocolate? This sweet gift from nature exists in plenty of forms and it would be a dull world if we weren’t able to enjoy it.