There are many types of chocolate. Dark chocolate and milk chocolate are some favorites, but that’s just the beginning of the varieties. So, what makes them unique, and which ones are right for your sweet tooth?
Our guide to chocolate tells you everything you need to know about some of the most popular styles. Here, you’ll discover more about your favorite confections and learn which ones to try. Soon, you’ll have an even better appreciation for chocolate!
What Is Chocolate?
Do you know what makes chocolate distinctly delicious? Chocolate is a food product made from cacao. Cacao beans from the cacao tree are roasted and ground, then made into a liquid or solid. Chocolate has a flavor that perfectly complements desserts and treats. It’s also in delectable savory sauces like cacao nib pesto or mole. If you’re looking for a clever reason to eat more chocolate, it’s a natural source of caffeine and essential minerals like iron and magnesium. Some forms of chocolate are 100% non-dairy.
How Is Chocolate Made?
So, how is chocolate made? There are a lot of steps in harvesting cacao and making chocolate, yet a key step is when roasted cacao beans are ground into a pasty substance known as chocolate liquor. The liquor is then formed into various chocolate styles. Some of these include:
- Cocoa powder: Chocolate liquor is pressed to reduce its cocoa butter content. It’s then pulverized into a powder form.
- Sweet chocolate: Much of the chocolate you eat is mixed with sugar and additional cocoa butter to get its distinct flavor.
- Baking chocolate: Bitter chocolate is made by hardening the chocolate liquor paste. Molds help it get its form.
- Dark chocolate: Made with cacao beans and sugar. Less sugar means a more bitter taste. Dark chocolates do not have added milk solids.
- Milk chocolate: Recipes for this sweet chocolate call for concentrated milk in addition to sugar and more cocoa butter.
- White chocolate: Unlike other types of chocolate, white chocolate has no cocoa solids. It’s made from cocoa butter and sugar. It contains milk and usually has some vanilla.
- Plant-based chocolate: The newest kid on the block simply replaces any dairy ingredients with plant-based ingredients. For example, our plant-based chocolate uses oat milk powder, cashew butter, and coconut sugar instead of milk powder.
Now you have more knowledge about how chocolate is made. This guide will tell you even more about each of these chocolates. You’ll also learn about other styles and if they’re best for snacking or baking.
Common Types of Chocolate
When you become a chocolate fan, you’re sure to sample the different types. After all, popular styles of chocolate are found everywhere in bakeries and grocery stores. When you know the difference between the common types of chocolate, you can decide whether you want to enjoy them alone or create a shareable dessert. It can also help you determine which snacks are most nutritious and how to best get your chocolate craving. Some of the most popular chocolate varieties include:
Dark chocolate has simple main ingredients but a complex taste you won’t find anywhere else. Many chocolate purists and health nuts prefer it because it has less sugar than other varieties. It’s also plant-based because it’s missing the milk solids you’ll find in milk chocolate.
Much of the best dark chocolates for eating are made from at least 65% cacao, although we really like it if our fudgy varieties have more than a 70% cocoa percentage. Our Holy Fudge bar features a 75% cacao dark chocolate shell. If you’re into fruit-forward treats, our single-origin cacao from Peru, Born Fruity, has a 72% cacao dark chocolate shell and a satisfyingly crisp and tart finish.
Bittersweet and semisweet chocolate are considered dark chocolate types. Feel free to taste-test different dark chocolates to know which ones you like best. Whatever shape or cocoa percentage you choose, you’ll love that dark chocolate has a distinct snap that makes it fun to eat. And if you are wondering what the cacao percentages mean, it’s quite easy to understand: it’s the percentage of the total formula that is composed of cacao beans. The higher the cacao percentage, the lower the sugar content.
Besides being delicious, dark chocolates are naturally rich in antioxidants, which can help to prevent cell damage in the body. Dark chocolate can also help to boost your mood and promote cardiovascular wellness. Temper dark chocolate to make balls or truffles. Or get creative in the kitchen when you make dark chocolate brownies or tarts. Dark chocolate pairs well with fruit and nuts. It also goes well with flavors like amaretto and matcha. You can also enjoy dark chocolate in your morning coffee by using drinking chocolate to make a mocha.
Milk chocolate is beloved because it adds a creaminess to the cacao flavor. Sugar and milk are the star ingredients. Milk chocolate also has fewer cocoa solids than dark chocolate. Its mild yet velvety flavor is enjoyed by kids and adults alike. You’ll find plenty of milk chocolate in truffles and chocolate bars. You can also find milk baking chocolate.
Milk chocolate contains at least 15% cocoa, and usually less than 50%. Here at TCHO, we believe we can give a unique experience in quality and taste without the sacrifice of using dairy. Our delicious plant-based (yes, plant-based!) oat milk chocolate bars contain more than 40% cacao. Enjoy a crispy 47% cacao shell and the rich organic coffee flavor of our Choco Latte bar. Or experienced oat milk chocolate and vegan toffee with our Toffee Time chocolate bar.
When you’re not snacking on crisp bars or smooth truffles, use your milk chocolate for making mousse or fudge. You can also use plant-based chocolate for making chocolate pie or pudding. Pair milk chocolates with dark chocolate for a unique assortment worthy of a gift. We also have a brand new oat milk chocolate Oat My Gawd 46% which features caramelly and creamy flavor notes, the perfect plant-based milk chocolate substitute.
White chocolate is a unique chocolate style because it does not have any cocoa beans. Instead, the main ingredient is cocoa butter. To make white chocolate, combine cocoa butter with sugar and milk powder. Other typical ingredients include vanilla and cream powder.
Some say white chocolate isn’t chocolate because it doesn’t have cocoa. However, it does meet the legal definition of chocolate in its regulated countries. White chocolate needs at least 20% cocoa butter to be authentic. It should also have less than 55% sweeteners like sugar.
And while traditional white chocolate isn’t vegan, TCHO’s new Choco Blanco 35% is entirely plant-based and vegan friendly. Our new plant-based white chocolate is the perfect substitute for any recipe calling for white chocolate. Chefs and foodies like white chocolate because it pairs well with everything from delicate raspberries to sweet macadamia nuts.
Bittersweet chocolate is a type of dark chocolate with around 70% cacao. The cocoa content gives it a deep and rich flavor like semisweet chocolate. It has that distinctly dry texture you’ll find with a high amount of cacao, and it crumbles easily, making it an excellent choice for drinking chocolate.
Since it tastes and melts like other forms of dark chocolate, you can swap it out in recipes for semisweet chips or chunks. Add it to mole or vegetarian chili for the perfect balance of savory and sweet. The dense, dark essence of bittersweet chocolate makes it a bold and tasty choice for making chocolate ganache. It’s also a perfect addition to a sophisticated cake or tart.
A semisweet chocolate is a type of dark chocolate that uses the sweetness of sugar to balance out its bitter flavor. It’s usually made of more than 60% cacao, which gives it a rich taste and a crumbly texture. It’s not as dark as bittersweet chocolate or authentic dark chocolate. It’s also sweeter than unsweetened baking chocolate.
Bakers can feel free to swap out semisweet chocolate for bittersweet chocolate for their recipe. A common place to find this type of chocolate is in truffles or cookie recipes. You’ll also find it in chocolate mousse and brownies.
Use semisweet chocolate chips to create breakfast muffins and scones. Or make cupcakes for a birthday party. Semisweet chocolate is an excellent addition to banana bread. You can also put it in a pumpkin loaf or a dessert bar. It’s a diverse treat that carries many confectionary mainstays and seasonal flavors.
Baking chocolate is also referred to as cooking chocolate. You may hear it referred to as “chocolate liquor.” It is not a chocolate chip but smooth chocolate used to enhance the taste of a dessert or dish. One of the most common types of baking chocolate is unsweetened chocolate. It’s made from pure cocoa beans, nothing else.
Baking chocolate is easy to work with because it’s velvety in texture and melts quickly. Unsweetened baking chocolate is considered 100% dark chocolate and features zero sugar, like our Dark & Bitter.
Some other forms of baking chocolate include bittersweet and semisweet. You can also find sweet baking chocolate. Unsweetened chocolate has many uses in baking, but you can use other types of chocolate to make your treats. The best uses for baking chocolate include anything from mouse to ganache-filled cake.
Other Types of Chocolate
These are some of the most popular forms of chocolate, but there are still other types you should know. Don’t forget the many uses for cocoa powder, an unsweetened chocolate product that helps to add flavor to treats and chocolate beverages. German chocolate is not really German at all. Instead, it’s dark baking chocolate with a higher sugar content than semisweet chocolate.
German chocolate uses European butter and cream, which has a higher fat content than other dark chocolates. You’ll see this unique chocolate style in cookies and cake. Ruby chocolate is on-trend chocolate with a pink hue and a citrus-forward flavor. It’s made from a particular type of cocoa bean that’s both acidic and tangy in addition to smooth and milky.
What Is Plant-Based Chocolate?
If you live a plant-based lifestyle, you may wonder how vegan chocolate differs from other forms of chocolate. Many chocolate types are naturally plant-based because they’re made from cacao beans from the cacao tree. It’s only when you add dairy ingredients like milk that the chocolate is no longer vegetarian or vegan.
Eating and baking with dark chocolate is an excellent way to know for sure that you’re snacking dairy-free. Of course, you can also indulge in oat milk chocolate. Get the creamy milk chocolate taste you love without sacrificing your plant-based preferences.
What Makes It Craft Chocolate?
Now that you know more about plant-based chocolate, you’re probably curious about craft chocolate, too. Craft chocolate has a rich history starting in San Francisco in the 1990s. Back then, small-batch chocolate makers wanted to create an alternative to mass-produced confections on store shelves.
These days, the craft chocolate movement stresses quality products and responsibly sourced ingredients. The best way to make excellent craft chocolate that makes everyone feel good is to have deep relationships with our partners along the supply chain. TCHO prides ourselves on single-origin offerings that we cultivate along with our farming partners for years at a time. Craft chocolate is chocolate that is made with care, and we believe in living by these principles.
Discover Your New Favorite Chocolate
Chocolate is one of the most diverse and delicious products in the world. Now that you know more about the different types of chocolate and how to work with them, you can make an unforgettable treat of your own. You’ll also learn more about which varieties make a great snack.
No matter which types you like best, you can get your chocolate fix with plant-based chocolate and responsibly sourced sweets. So enjoy those truffles and chocolate cookies guilt-free! Eating chocolate has many benefits, and there are endless ways to explore its diverse flavor. Start with one of the chocolate types on this list and find your new snacking or baking buddy.