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Understanding Common Chocolate Terms

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Couverture

Chocolate that contains at least 30% cocoa butter, which facilitates dipping. The more cocoa butter, the lower the viscosity; non-couverture chocolate is too thick when tempered to achieve the ideal nice thin shell on a dipped confection.

Chocolate Makers vs Chocolatiers

The difference between these two terms is the level of involvement in the chocolate process. Chocolate makers turns cocoa beans into chocolate. They buy the cocoa beans, roast and grind them into chocolate. Chocolatiers then buy the couverture (the final product from the chocolate makers process) and utilize it for their truffles, bites, bars, and other creations.

Artisan Chocolate

Artisan chocolate is hard to define, because there really isn’t a definition for it. Artisan can be loosely defined by no mass production, no assembly line, handcraft/handmade, never large quantities produced, supervision of a chocolate maker/artisan that ensures quality and innovation.

Single Origin

Single origin means that the cocoa beans used to create the chocolate is from one single source or origin. This usually means a single country, however, it can be mean a single estate or plantation.

Cocoa vs Cacao

Raw cacao powder is made by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans. The process keeps the living enzymes in the cocoa and removes the fat. Cocoa looks the same but it’s not. Cocoa powder is raw cacao that’s been roasted at high temperatures. Roasting changes the molecular structure of the cocoa bean, reducing the enzyme content and lowering the overall nutritional value.

Theobroma cacao tree varierties

There are three varieties. Criollo, forastero, trinitario.

Bloom

There are 2 different kinds of bloom that can form on the surface of chocolate. Both are temperature-related and both make the chocolate look suspect and unappetizing. With fat-bloom or cocoa butter bloom, the chocolate loses its gloss. This is when a grayish-white or tan film forms on the surface. While bloom diminishes the appearance of the chocolate, it does not alter the taste and is not harmful.

Sugar bloom is caused by condensation, due to excessive moisture. The moisture combines with the sugar in the chocolate to create a syrup. Large sugar crystals remain on the surface of the chocolate when the moisture evaporates.

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