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Amelie Chocolat Blog

Chocolate Dictionary

Chocolatier of discerning quality; suppliers of fine continental chocolates.

A dull, white film appearing on the surface of chocolate. This is either due to re-crystallised sugar, caused by excess humidity, or fat caused by temperature fluctuations. Neither of these have much affect on the taste.

Chocolate is the product that is made from the roasted seeds of cocoa pods. The seeds are ground and processed into either liquid or solid forms and then mixed with sugar, vanilla, lecithin and other flavourings to form ‘chocolate’. Having been consumed in liquid form for thousands of years, it has only been eaten in solid forms since 1847.

The fruit like pods that grow on the cocoa tree. The pods are oval in shape and contain approximately 30 to 40 seeds each. There are three strains of cocoa beans: CRIOLLO, FORASTERO and TRINITARIOS.COCOA BUTTER
The naturally occurring fat in the cocoa beans. It is essential in the manufacture of good quality chocolate.

Also known as cocoa mass, this is the substance that is produced when cocoa nibs are ground. It is neither liquid nor does it contain any alcohol. It is ‘pressed’ to extract cocoa butter.

The part of the cocoa bean that remains once the shell has been removed.

A term used to describe superior quality chocolate with a minimum cocoa butter content of at least 31%. The higher the fat content, the better the chocolate melts in the mouth, has a cleaner break, is more ‘fluid’ and is characterised by a pleasant, full chocolate flavour.

The variety of cocoa tree that produces the finest quality cocoa in terms of flavour and aroma. At the time of Spanish exploration of the New World, it was the predominant type of cocoa. However today, Criollo accounts for no more than 5% of the world cocoa crop. It is considered to be ‘the prince of cocoas’ and is used to produce only the finest chocolates.

Also known as sweet, semi-sweet or bitter-sweet chocolate, depending on the percentage of cocoa liquor. Good quality dark chocolate should contain a minimum of 50% cocoa solids (cocoa liquor and cocoa butter), mixed together with sugar, lecithin and vanilla.

This is the term used to describe the method of coating hand-formed or moulded interiors, with a thin coat of chocolate. This is often used in order to decorate chocolates.

Fondants are made with sugar, water and glucose. It consists of sugar crystals in a sugar syrup and is often flavoured with fruit. It is then enrobed in a coating of tempered chocolate.

The variety of cocoa tree that produces approximately 75 to 90% of the world’s cocoa today. These trees grow in all chocolate growing regions, however an estimated 70% comes from West Africa. The tree is hardy, adaptable and quite resistant to disease. However the flavour produced by the beans is less superior than the Criollo.

A smooth combination of chocolate and cream or butter, or both. Ganache has many uses, and forms the essential foundation for chocolate truffles, where it is combined with anything from liqueurs, nuts or fruits to spices or herbs.

A finely ground smooth mixture of, usually, milk chocolate and hazelnuts. Gianduja can also be flavoured.

A natural product derived from the soybean that acts as an emulsifier in the manufacture of chocolate.

A sweet paste made from a combination of finely ground almonds, sugar and egg whites. Marzipan can be flavoured and is often coloured to produce traditional ‘marzipan fruits’.

Also known as Montelimar, after the French town famous for its manufacture, it is a mixture of egg whites, sugar or honey and nuts or candied fruit.

A round or square French confection made with sugar, natural fruit pulp and pectin. The fruit should comprise at least 50% of the content, giving a strong flavour.`

A mixture of ground nuts, sugar and chocolate, praline is very similar to gianduja and very often flavoured. The term ‘praline’ has become the generic term for Belgian chocolates.

This is the first step in producing chocolate from cocoa beans. The heating process, typically around 30 minutes, develops the flavour and aroma of the cocoa beans before they are ground.

The clean crisp sound made when chocolate is broken. A clean ‘snap’ indicates a high cocoa content and a well tempered chocolate.

The process of cooling and heating chocolate, therby bringing it to the temperature where the cocoa butter reaches its most stable crystal form. This gives chocolate its shiny appearance and brittle texture.

The scientific name for the cocoa tree. A combination of the ancient Greek word ‘theobroma’ meaning ‘food of the gods’ and the old Aztec word ‘cacahuatl’ which the Spanish invaders called ‘cocoa’.

Theobromine, along with caffeine, is a stimulant and one of the many compounds that are found in chocolate.