Think you’ve already tasted every kind of chocolate? Follow me on this journey to discover all the different types of chocolate, from the most common to the most exotic.
Since its origins, chocolate has been associated with exceptional properties, first and foremost that of improving mood.
We now know that this effect is due to the presence of two neuro-modulators, anandamide and theobromine, which are responsible for increasing endorphins in the brain. But who knows whether the ancient Aztecs had also noticed these effects: for them, it was the food pleasing to the gods. And we, like the ancient populations of Central America, continue to be bewitched by this product and to attach importance to it.
In fact, chocolate varieties have become part of our lives, appreciated by young and old alike, spread in every possible form; they are in all confectioners’ shops and not only: they have even arrived in some savoury recipes. An example? The chocolate aubergines, typical of mid-August in Campania.
Nowadays, there are certainly many chocolate types, and they are quite distinct in terms of price: but what do these differences depend on? Mainly on the quality of the raw materials used and the type of processing they have undergone, industrial or artisanal.
If you too are interested in the characteristics of each type of chocolate, follow me and I will tell you everything about them, from how many there are to where they can be enjoyed around Italy. 👇
Types of chocolate
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Is it possible to determine how many types of chocolate exist in the world?
To begin to answer this question, you must first be aware of an important distinction: there are four main types, and from their combination a whole series of derivatives, each one unique, are born.
These are: dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate and pink or ruby chocolate. The different varieties of chocolate can be distinguished on the basis of:
- colour and percentage of cocoa
- liquid, solid or powder form
- taste, from the most bitter to the most buttery and sweet
You should know that cocoa can be cultivated in all tropical countries. This means that this food can originate from a multitude of countries, first of all the Ivory Coast, followed by Ghana, Indonesia and Nigeria.
And after this brief general overview, let’s look in detail at the characteristics of each type of chocolate!
1. Dark chocolate
This type of chocolate owes its name to its ability to melt in the mouth. Moreover, to be sold as such, it must consist of 43% cocoa mass, i.e. the combination of dry cocoa and cocoa butter.
2. Extra dark
Extra dark chocolate, on the other hand, must have 45% cocoa mass and no more than 55% sugar in it. It is generally marketed with not less than 70% cocoa mass; it has an intense and strong taste, but not excessively bitter.
3. Milk chocolate
In addition to containing 25% dry cocoa solids, milk chocolate must contain 14% dry milk solids or derivatives, responsible for the softer, butterier texture.
This is a dark chocolate variety containing 90% cocoa mass. It has a pronounced bitter taste, very intense and therefore little used in confectionery. It is the best chocolate to be enjoyed pure.
The colour of this kind of chocolate is characterised by the absence of dry cocoa mass: this also makes it the only non-bitter chocolate. It contains no less than 20% cocoa butter and 14% dry milk solids, making it distinctly sweet and buttery.
6. Dulcey white chocolate
Unlike its ivory-coloured companion, dulcey white chocolate comes in a warm blonde colour, due to a higher concentration of cocoa butter: no less than 32%. Accidentally discovered from a prolonged melting of white chocolate, this variety is now celebrated for its roasted, less sweet notes and more velvety texture.
7. Gianduja chocolate
Originating in Turin in the 19th century, Gianduja is a mixture of cocoa and hazelnuts (40%); the local confectioners used to replace part of the raw material, which was difficult to find at the time, with the much cheaper round and gentle hazelnuts from the Langhe. The name of this chocolate derives from the popular Turin mask of the same name, which was responsible for distributing, during carnival, the first wrapped chocolate ever produced: the “gianduiotto”.
8. Pink or Ruby chocolate
The fourth type of chocolate was launched in 2017, following extensive work by the Belgian-Swiss company Barry-Callebaut. Pink chocolate has no added colouring agents and no chemical treatment: its characteristic colouring is due to pigments contained in the cocoa beans used, belonging to the Ruby cocoa bean species.
9. Raw Chocolate
To know what raw chocolate is, you first need to know a small detail about “normal” chocolate: the latter is roasted during the production process, raw chocolate is not! This different processing allows the cocoa to retain cleaner, more delicate aromas and gives the chocolate more acidity.
10. Flavoured Chocolate
Following the ancient customs of the Maya, flavouring chocolate is still widely practised by leading manufacturers. The most commonly used flavouring is vanilla, in pods, but it is also possible to find chocolate flavoured with cinnamon, coffee, chilli and even pepper. Moreover, chocolate also combines perfectly with certain flowers, such as jasmine. And how can we forget the classic combination with candied citrus peel?
11. Modica chocolate
The secret of this particular process is to keep the temperature below 40 degrees. The roasted cocoa beans and granulated sugar are beaten, without being reduced to powder, on a lava stone and the resulting paste is rough and irregular. These characteristics are then passed on to the chocolate, which has a grainy, crumbly texture. The amount of cocoa present must be 65%, but can be as high as 90%. It should not be confused with raw chocolate, precisely because here the cocoa beans are roasted.
12. Mi-doux chocolate
This is a hybrid chocolate variety between milk and dark chocolate; it has a shiny brown colour and aromatic notes reminiscent of roasted coffee and liquorice.
13. Surfin chocolate
Just like mi-doux chocolate, Surfin chocolate is a combination of milk and dark chocolate, but with a distinctive tobacco aroma and a very persistent bitter taste.
And now that you know all about this extraordinary food and its varieties, keep following me to learn about its main application: chocolates!
Different Types of chocolates
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1. The praline
The praline originated from the ingenuity of a Belgian pharmacist who used to hide the most unpleasant-tasting medicines under a layer of chocolate. It was his grandson who later thought of replacing the medicine with creams of various kinds.
Spheres traditionally made of dark chocolate, butter and cocoa. They owe their name to their resemblance to truffles belonging to the mushroom kingdom.
A typical cube-shaped chocolate composed of three superimposed layers: the outer two are made of gianduja chocolate, while the middle one can be made of hazelnut, coffee or lemon chocolate.
Included among the traditional food products of Piedmont, gianduiotti are made from gianduia chocolate and are typically in the form of a prism with a rectangular base.
5. The Cuneesi
Originating in Cuneo, these Italian chocolates consist of two meringue wafers containing rum-flavoured custard and covered with a layer of dark chocolate.
6. Baci perugina
Born from Luisa Spagnoli’s idea of mixing hazelnut processing waste with other chocolate, placing a whole hazelnut on top before covering it.
7. The Boero
Also known as the “favourite”, the boero is made from a cherry in alcohol wrapped in a thick layer of dark chocolate.
8. The Napolitains
Small chocolate bars, about five grams each, specially designed to be served with a good coffee.
9. Covered peel
Although not a true chocolate, covered peels are a widely appreciated traditional product; especially in the winter months when citrus fruits, the main type of peel used, are in season.
10. Coloured chocolates
Coloured chocolates often use sugar-based icings and colouring agents, natural or artificial, for the final outer coating to achieve certain hues.
Interesting facts about the different types of chocolate
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_ Are you familiar with the terms “superior”, “fine” and “very fine”?
These indicate that the content of the main ingredients is higher than that indicated in the basic recipe.
_ And what is the best-selling type of chocolate in the world?
Establishing this is difficult, but you will certainly agree with me that milk chocolate is definitely more popular than dark chocolate, especially among children: the biggest consumers.
Undoubtedly, the numerous literary and cinematic works, which have made children and adults alike dream, have also contributed to its fame. After all, who among us does not dream of finding a golden ticket inside a chocolate bar in order to visit Willi Wonka’s factory?
We have come to the end of this little guide, but don’t stop there! Here’s some final advice: wouldn’t you like to take a nice trip through Italy to discover the different types of chocolate? Or why don’t you get your hands dirty by participating directly in a cooking class? Remember these tips and enjoy! 👩🍳😋
Cover photo: pixabay, 5671698
Featured photo: pixabay, realworkhard