Types of Chocolate
December 6, 2020
The history of chocolate dates back to around 4000 years ago in Central America. There, the Mayans and Aztecs would prepare a cocoa-based beverage called “Xocoātl,” which was also flavored with spices or vanilla. The cacao plant was considered to be of divine origin, so much so that today its scientific name is Theobroma Cacao, or literally “food of the gods.”
Since then, mankind's ingenuity and sweet tooth have given life to numerous recipes to transform cocoa beans into a wide variety of chocolate.
Today, chocolate is defined as follows by Directive 2000/36/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council relating to cocoa and chocolate products intended for human consumption: the product obtained from cocoa products and sugars which contains not less than 35% total dry cocoa solids, including not less than 18% cocoa butter and not less than 14% of dry non-fat cocoa solids.
White chocolate is easy to identify by its pure cream or ivory color. It is made from a combination of sugar, cocoa butter, milk, vanilla and lecithin (a natural emulsifier). The aromatic profile of this chocolate variety is predominantly sweet, with notes of milk and vanilla. High-quality white chocolate has a soft, rich, creamy texture—a characteristic that comes from its cocoa butter base. As it lacks the fruity, bitter complexity of regular chocolate, it pairs perfectly with flavors such as lightly salted pistachio (try it for yourself!).
White chocolate is unique because it does not contain cocoa solids. Cocoa powder is, as a matter of fact, the ingredient that provides chocolate with its brown color and the flavor we all love.
Milk chocolate is a classic that we have all known and loved since childhood. With its light brown color, intoxicating scent and enveloping flavor, it is considered the most popular type of chocolate!
Milk chocolate often features a flavor profile that can be defined as sweet, with notes of milk and caramel and a vanilla aftertaste.
This doesn’t mean that all milk chocolate is the same! Depending on the origin of the cocoa, nuances of different flavors can be obtained: our 47% Venezuelan milk chocolate bar, for example, features hints of nuts, ripe cherries, and milk.
Dark chocolate contains at least 45% cocoa, while extra-dark chocolate can contain between 70% and 100% cocoa.
Dark chocolate is certainly the most bitter chocolate variety, but it is also the one that offers the most health benefits.
Additionally, dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa does not contain dairy; therefore, it is the perfect variety for those who are vegan or lactose intolerant.
The aromatic profile and intensity of dark chocolate vary widely based on the origin of the cocoa: Ecuador for an intense flavor, Venezuela for exotic aromas, Peru for a delicate aroma, etc.
This old recipe is 100% Italian. Its creation can be attributed to Turin-based confectioners, who would mix the “Nocciola Tonda Gentile” hazelnut from Piedmont with one part cocoa, to lower chocolate production costs. This was all due to Napoleon, who had ordered the economic blockade of products from Britain and its colonies, which remained in effect until 1813. Hazelnuts were first used chopped into pieces, then toasted and ground into a fine powder to create an even creamier, tastier mix. The new chocolate was dubbed Gianduja, in honor of the Carnival mask, and gave life to the first wrapped chocolate treat in history—Gianduiotto!
This is the most recent variety, characterized by its typical pink hue, the result of a special cocoa fermentation process. The cocoa beans from which it is made are grown throughout the world, in places such as Côte d'Ivoire, Ecuador, Brazil and Madagascar. Ruby chocolate offers a different experience than other varieties: it is neither bitter nor sweet, but rather quite aromatic and slightly sour, with notes of fresh berries and tropical fruit.