Many different types of chocolate are available for consumption, but what is the real difference between them? Chocolates are classified by the percentage of cocoa in the mix and the other ingredients that are included. Some chocolates are only suitable for cooking, while others are made for immediate consumption. Below are the edible variations and how they are classified.
Semi-Sweet Chocolate - Made from unsweetened chocolate (chocolate liquor), but with the addition of sugar, cocoa butter, lecithin and vanilla mixed in. Semi-sweet chocolate must contain at least 35% unsweetened chocolate, and typically is less than 50%.
Dark Chocolate - The rules regarding classification of chocolate in this category vary throughout the world. However, the one constant is that this type of chocolate contains no milk solids, but has sweeteners and cocoa butter added to the mix. In Europe, dark chocolate must consist of at least 35% cocoa solids while in the U.S., it must have a 15% concentration of chocolate liquor.
Milk Chocolate - Like you'd guess from the name, milk chocolate is made with condensed or powdered milk. In Europe, milk chocolate must consist of at least 25% cocoa solids, while in the US, it must have a 10% concentration of chocolate liquer and a minimum of 12% milk solids. Milk chocolate is primarily used for eating and is the most popular form of chocolate in the U.S.
White Chocolate - The name given to white chocolate is a misnomer because it isn't really chocolate at all. Strictly speaking, chocolate is defined as any product 100% based on cocoa solid. White "chocolate" doesn't contain any cocoa solids and is made from cocoa butter, milk solids and sugar.
Couverture Chocolate - Chocolates under this classification are true gourmet chocolates that are rich in cocoa butter (upwards of 35%) which creates an extremely high fat content. Cocoa butter is the fat extracted from chocolate liquor. These chocolates contain a very high percentage of cocoa which is the solid powder left after the cocoa butter is extracted from the chocolate liquor.
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