It would be impossible to miss the three varieties of chocolate on the market- white, milk and dark chocolate products are on sale everywhere! Each type of chocolate is defined by the amount of cocoa solids (cocoa fat and cocoa powder) they contain.
So, at what point is dark chocolate classified as “dark”? What defines a chocolate as “milk”? And is white chocolate technically even chocolate? Read on to discover the answers to these questions, and more…!
Under UK legislation*, there is no minimum for the cocoa content of dark chocolate; you can find chocolate classified as “dark” with as much as 100% or as little as 50% cocoa solids. The remaining % comprises sugar and other ingredients, including emulsifiers.
Emulsifiers, such as soya lecithin, or sunflower lecithin (E-322), are commonly used in all types of chocolate, because they bind together the fat with the other ingredients. This improves the viscosity of the liquid chocolate, making it easier to work with, and also prevents the fat separating and causing the chocolate to bloom (when the white cocoa fat separates and becomes visible on the surface of the chocolate).
Emulsifiers are not essential to chocolate making, although it’s hard to find chocolate made without them because they help the chocolate making process and prolong the shelf life of the finished product.
100% Cocoa Solids
100% chocolate contains just cocoa powder and cocoa fat, which is derived from grinding cocoa beans. As this chocolate contains no sugar, it has a very intense, bitter flavour and is an acquired taste!
70% Cocoa Solids
At this level, you will still experience a rich flavour, but not as intense as a higher percentage would give you. 30% of the chocolate will comprise sugar, and possibly other ingredients. It is this % and above that is deemed to be better for you, in small quantities.
As the cocoa solids used decreases, the quantity of sugar and other ingredients increases, creating a much sweeter “dark” bar.
UK legislation* states that milk chocolate must contain at least 25% cocoa solids to be legally called milk chocolate.
Good quality milk chocolate typically contains cocoa solids (cocoa fat and powder), sugar, and milk solids. Typically, an emulsifier is used- usually soya lecithin. Many manufacturers also bulk out their milk chocolate with additional fats to save costs.
(Side note- if you’re off to the States, be aware that under US legislation, milk chocolate only needs to contain 10% cocoa solids, so you’ll be eating a lot more sugar and fat!)
White chocolate doesn’t contain cocoa solids, only cocoa fat and sugar. The lack of cocoa powder means chocolate purists don’t think of white chocolate as chocolate. However, legally in the UK as long as white chocolate contains a minimum of 20% cocoa butter, it can be sold as ‘chocolate.” The main ingredients are: sugar, cocoa butter, milk solids and emulsifiers.
WHAT ABOUT ENJOY! CHOCOLATE?
Almost all** our chocolate is classified as Dark, at 70% or above. It is ‘couverture’ chocolate meaning that we use a higher ratio of cacao butter to cacao powder, which reduces the bitterness and increases “creaminess”.
We use as few ingredients as possible in our recipes; for example, our plain 70% and 85% chocolate contain just three ingredients- cocoa powder, cocoa butter and coconut sugar. As a free-from brand, we absolutely don’t use emulsifiers because they are allergenic! Instead, we decrease the shelf life of our chocolate.
All this means that our chocolate costs a little more because we source the very best quality ingredients, and avoid fillers and potential allergens.
*The Cocoa and Chocolate Products (England) Regulations 2003 (legislation.gov.uk)
**With the exception of our low sugar choc bars.