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Wonderful World of Chocolate
...cacao content! 
21st-Jan-2007 10:22 am
Hello again! A quick reminder - anyone can post a factoid or a fun product review or ask a question in their own post, or make a comment about mine. I don't want to be the only voice in the room, and I love feedback. But I definitely enjoy talking about chocolate, so on we go!

My username for LiveJournal is obviously cacaocontent, so I thought I'd add a little bit about that in today's post. (For starters, some people say cocoa beans and others say cacao beans, and most people use cocoa to refer to baking or drinking chocolate. I'll use cocoa here to talk about the beans.) Most people who enjoy dark chocolate know that there are different percentages of cocoa content available, and that higher percentages mean more cocoa intensity and less room for other ingredients not derived from the beans, like sugar or milk products. But did you know that the percentage includes cocoa butter as well as cocoa solids? Both brand A and brand B might have a 75% bar, but brand A could have 45% cocoa butter and 30% cocoa solids, while brand B could have 30% cocoa butter and 45% cocoa solids - so two different 75% bars won't necessarily taste the same. This is an incredibly convenient excuse to try more chocolate, don't you think? (Cocoa solids are also called cocoa mass, or sometimes just cocoa.)

Additionally, most milk chocolates have a cocoa percentage somewhere in the thirties, which still refers to the combined amount of cocoa butter and cocoa solids, but there are milk chocolate options with percentages of 41, 45, 50, and even 65! My preference is for the 40-45% range, which offers a richer chocolate flavor and still has the familiar sweetness and creamy milk texture. And finally there is white chocolate, which is not considered real chocolate by some, because its cocoa content is made up entirely of cocoa butter (no solids). I still think it tastes chocolatey, and cocoa butter comes from cocoa beans, too, so I don't exclude it from the chocolate family.
21st-Jan-2007 06:09 pm (UTC)
I should be very interested in trying the higher-percentage milk chocolates, which I've never adequately explored before as a confirmed dark chocolate snob. However, don't we all deserve to expand our horizons? Particularly where Chocolate is concerned? [grin]

I am happy to find someone who shares my views about "white chocolate." The pure cocoa butter contributes its own section of the total taste palate of fine chocolate and thus deserves recognition. "White molding candy" or whatever euphemism you prefer is a mere art supply, not a foodstuff.
21st-Jan-2007 07:18 pm (UTC)
I haven't even tried that 65% milk chocolate bar yet, but the 50% bar was pretty intense. It's like a dark chocolate that happens to have milk in it - and that specific example I linked also has single origin beans, so there are lots of other flavors going on there as well. It's quite complicated!

I love dark chocolate myself, but I find that if I want dark, I don't want milk in it, and if I want milk, I want that 45% bar. But of course those are my personal preferences, and you're absolutely right that they're well worth exploring - thanks for your comment!
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