Chocolate Basics

A traditional Belgian term that refers to an elegant, small box containing chocolates. The box is specially designed to prevent its delicate contents from being damaged.

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

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.

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 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.

A naturally occurring fat in cocoa beans. It plays an essential part in the making of chocolate. It is added to the cocoa paste to increase the smoothness and glossiness, making it easier to mold. The high cost of cocoa butter has prompted chocolatiers to replace it with vegetable and tropical fats. At Daniel Chocolates we use only pure cocoa butter and never any vegetable or hydrogenated fats.

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

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 beverages or baking.

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 is chocolate without milk additives. A bar of dark chocolate typically contains more than twice as many antioxidants and fewer calories than a bar of 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, ranging from 66% to 82%.

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.

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.

see Chocolate Bloom

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.

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

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

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

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.

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

Bittersweet and semisweet are used interchangeably. This is sweetened chocolate that is heavy on cocoa solids and light on sugar, giving it a rich, intense chocolate flavor. Bittersweet generally contains more cocoa solid than semisweet.

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.

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

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 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.