Chocolate Basics Glossary

Ballotin
A traditional Belgian term that refers to an elegant, small box containing chocolates.  The box is specially designed to prevent chocolates from getting damaged.

Bittersweet 
Sweetened chocolate that is heavy on cocoa solids and light on the sugar giving the chocolate a rich, intense flavour. Bittersweet chocolate generally contains more cocoa solid then semi-sweet.

Butter Cream
A filling created by a blend of butter and natural flavourings mixed together to give a fine, light mousse.

Cacao
Cacao is the plant and all its products.  However, industry members often use the term “cocoa” to refer to the plant and its seeds.  Cocoa is also used to describe the content of cocoa (cocoa liquor and cocoa butter) in chocolate.

Chocolate Bloom
A condition when the cocoa butter in the chocolate separates out from the other ingredients, floats to the top, and crystallizes.  It appears as white dots and streaks or as a dull, gray film on the chocolate.  This is only a cosmetic effect and does not mean that the chocolate is spoiled.

Cocoa Bean
Cocoa bean is the seed of the cacao tree. These seeds (40-50) are held in the cacao fruit called the pod.  The seeds undergo a highly complex process to become chocolate. They are usually blended with different beans from other regions to create the rich chocolate flavours. A cocoa bean usually contains 55% cocoa butter and 45% cocoa solids.

Cocoa Butter
A naturally occurring fat in cocoa beans. It plays an essential part in the making of chocolate, being added to the cocoa paste to supplement its natural cocoa butter content to increase its smoothness and glossiness to make coating easier to mold. The high cost of cocoa butter has however, prompted chocolatiers to replace it with a proportion of vegetable and tropical fats. At Daniel le Chocolat Belge, we forbid the use of vegetable / hydrogenated fats in any of our recipes.

Chocolate Liquor / Cocoa Liquor
Also known as cocoa liquor and cocoa mass. After cocoa beans are roasted and the outer hulls removed, the remaining inner center (nibs) are ground to form this thick, dark, nonalcoholic paste called chocolate liquor. It contains about 55% cocoa butter and 45% cocoa solids.

Cocoa Solid
This is not to be confused with cocoa liquor or chocolate liquor. Cocoa solid is the solid portion that remains after the cocoa butter has been pressed out of the chocolate liquor. It is usually ground into cocoa powder and used for beverage or baking.

Cocoa Powder
The portion of chocolate liquor that remains after most of the cocoa butter is removed.  It is the powder form of cocoa solid. At Daniel le Chocolat Belge, we use the richest cocoa powder that contains up to 24% cocoa butter.

Dark Chocolate
Dark Chocolate is chocolate without milk additives. A bar of dark chocolate typically contains more than twice as many antioxidants as a bar of milk chocolate and it harbors fewer calories than milk chocolate. It is required to have a minimum of 35% cocoa liquor according to European rules while only 25% by the U.S. Government.  Daniel le Chocolat Belge offers a wide range of high quality dark chocolates with various cocoa contents from 56% to 82%.

Dutch Processed Chocolate
Dutch processed chocolate refers to chocolate liquor or cocoa powder that has been treated with alkalized salts to reduce the acidity in flavour and give it a darker colour. The process, which came to be known as “Dutching”, was invented in Holland by the chemist Coenraad Van Houten.

Fairtrade
A working definition of Fairtrade would be “a guarantee that producers are paid above world price according to criteria laid down by the Fairtrade Labeling Organization (FLO)”. The FLO currently has fairtrade criteria for cocoa, coffee, tea and sugar. It ensures that the farmers are paid a higher premium price for their products than the commercial price.

Fat Bloom – see Chocolate Bloom

Ganache
A smooth mixture of chocolate and cream, often used as a filling for truffles. Because of the high water content in whipping cream, ganache has a relatively short shelf life, which is the reason that few chocolatiers use pure ganache as a filling. At Daniel le Chocolat Belge, we are proud to offer a wide variety of fresh and preservative-free ganache chocolates.

Gianduja
A filling made of ground, roasted and caramelized hazelnuts (or a blend of other nuts) with chocolate added for the smooth texture.  It is a kind of praliné, but gianduja has less percentage of hazelnuts in the recipe, at minimum 20% and contains more cocoa butter.

Lecithin
A natural product derived from soy beans that is commonly added to chocolate to give it a smooth, fluid consistency. It helps to maintain an emulsion between the cocoa butter and sugar. For purity reasons, our lecithin is GMO free (Genetically Modified Organism).

Maltitol
Maltitol is a natural ingredient and contains no additives or artificial ingredients. It is derived from maltose, a sugar component of corn. Maltitol has 90% of the sweetness of sucrose (table sugar) and nearly identical properties. Because it has fewer calories (about half the calories of sugar), it does not promote tooth decay and has a somewhat lesser effect on blood glucose. Although it is commonly referred to as “sugar alcohol”, it does not contain any alcohol. Because of its sugar free and reduced calorie attributes, maltitol is highly suitable for reduced calorie, diabetic and low carbohydrate diets. The recommended daily consumption is no more than 50 grams and may cause a laxative effect if to much is consumed.

Marzipan
A filling made out of a blend of finely-ground almonds and sugar. Often used as a filling for chocolates.

Mendiant
A thin wafer of chocolate base garnished with a mix of nuts and dried fruits.

Milk Chocolate
Milk chocolate is chocolate liquor with milk powder or condensed milk added. It is made of about 50% sugar, 20% cocoa butter (in addition to the cocoa butter contained in the chocolate liquor), at least 12% milk solids, and at least 10% chocolate liquor. At Daniel le Chocolat Belge, our milk chocolate contains a minimum of 27% cocoa butter.

Praliné
A French term that refers to a filling made of ground caramelized almonds or hazelnuts. At Daniel le Chocolat Belge we offer over 10 varieties of pralinés made with 100% natural nut paste.

Semisweet
Bittersweet and semisweet can often be used interchangeably. This is sweetened chocolate that is heavy on cocoa solids and light on the sugar, giving it a rich, intense chocolate flavor. Bittersweet generally contains more cocoa solid than semisweet, but check the percentage of cocoa content and adjust sugar as necessary.

Sugar Bloom
Sugar bloom is caused by condensation. The water from the condensation dissolves the sugar in the chocolate. When the water evaporates, the sugar remains on the surface in the form of large, irregular crystals. To avoid direct condensation, chocolates leaving a cold room should be stored in a warmer room for a certain amount of time before opening the packaging.  Sugar bloom will affect the texture of chocolate, making it grainy.

Truffle
In Belgian, it refers to an irregularly shaped, often oval confection of ganache, coated with chocolate and usually finished with a cocoa powder exterior.

Unsweetened Chocolate
Unsweetened chocolate is pure chocolate liquor, also known as bitter or baking chocolate. It is unadulterated chocolate: the pure, ground, roasted chocolate beans impart a strong, deep chocolate flavour.

Vanilla
Vanilla bean is split open and steeped in liquid. Tiny black grains that fill the inside of the bean contain the potent vanilla flavor. Natural vanilla is a good indicator of high quality chocolates.

White Chocolate
White chocolate is an oxymoron, because white chocolate has no chocolate liquor. High-quality “white chocolate” is made like milk chocolate (minus the chocolate liquor) with sugar, cocoa butter, and milk solids. At Daniel le Chocolat Belge, our white chocolate contains a minimum of 28% cocoa butter.