What comes to mind when people think chocolate is usually the creamy, sweet, melts-in-your-mouth milk chocolate that you see coating most candy bars and other delicious chocolate treats. Well, there’s cocoa in that too, but chocolate can come in many other forms as well.
Chocolate in its purest, least processed form is raw and that has the most nutritional value. Powdered cocoa, cocoa nibs, and chocolate liquor are all forms of pure chocolate. It’s chalked full of antioxidants and the purer you eat this stuff, the more nutrients you’ll get from it.
Unsweetened chocolate is a combination of cocoa solids and cocoa butter. Still fairly pure, this is the least processed form of chocolate aside from raw cocoa.
The next level of chocolate processing is bittersweet chocolate. Chocolate liquor with some sugar, a little more cocoa butter, and some vanilla are the basics to the bittersweet variety of chocolate. Semisweet is a little sweeter, but both of these types would be used for mostly baking purpose as they’re very bitter and rarely eaten as is.
The dark chocolate you’d be more inclined to eat is still loaded with nutrients and antioxidants, but this type of chocolate will be a combination of chocolate liquor or cocoa solids and added fats and sugars. The higher percentage of cocoa used, the more pure and bitter the chocolate will be.
Milk chocolate has the same components as dark chocolate but with varying levels of added milk products. Powdered or condensed milk is often the milk ingredient used for milk chocolate manufacturing. The milk greatly reduces the intensity of the chocolate flavour making it the much more popular choice in public consumption.
In some opinions of chocolate lovers around the world, white chocolate is not actually so much a form of chocolate as it is a confection. It contains cocoa butter which is where its chocolaty name comes from, but no cocoa solids. This type of chocolate offers the least nutrients and would be the least healthy of any form of chocolate.
Chocolate comes in all combinations of cocoa, milk, sugar, and fats. Whether you love the bitter bite of the purest dark chocolate or the milky sweetness of white chocolate, there’s a perfect combination of ingredients out there for everyone.