The Ghirardelli Chocolate Glossary
bittersweet chocolate: Dark chocolate that contains a minimum of 35 percent chocolate liquor and less than 12 percent milk solids. Bittersweet and semisweet both fall under this definition, but bittersweet is also often used for chocolate with a minimum of 50 percent chocolate liquor.
cacao content: Cacao content refers to the amount of chocolate product that's made of the three cacao components (chocolate liquor, cocoa butter and cocoa powder)
chocolate liquor: The ground up center (nib) of the cocoa bean (otherwise known as unsweetened chocolate) in a smooth, liquid state. It contains no alcohol.
cocoa beans: Seeds from the pod of a Theobroma tree, native to the dense tropical Amazon forests. Commercially grown worldwide in tropical rainforests within 20 degrees latitude of the equator.
cocoa butter: The fat of the cocoa bean. It's not a dairy product.
cocoa powder: The cocoa solids resulting from pressing cocoa butter out of chocolate liquor. May be natural or dutched.
compound: Known as confectionery coating. A blend of sugar, vegetable oil, cocoa powder and other products. Vegetable oil is substituted for cocoa butter to reduce the product cost and to make the coating easier to work with.
dark chocolate: See sweet chocolate.
dutch process: A treatment used during the making of cocoa powder in which cocoa solids are treated with an alkaline solution to neutralize acidity. This process changes the color of the cocoa and develops a milder chocolate flavor.
fat bloom: The result of inadequate tempering or temperature abuse of a properly tempered chocolate. Visible as a dull white film on the surface of the chocolate with the possibility of a soft or crumbling texture on the interior. It is a visual and textural defect only. The product is fine to eat.
milk chocolate: Chocolate with at least 10 percent chocolate liquor, 12 percent milk solids and 3.39 percent milk fat, combined with sugar, cocoa butter and vanilla
nib: The center (meat) of the cocoa bean. When ground, the nib becomes chocolate liquor.
semisweet chocolate: Also known as bittersweet chocolate. Contains a minimum of 35 percent chocolate liquor and less than 12 percent milk solids.
sugar bloom: Visible as a dull white film on the surface of the chocolate. Dry and hard to the touch, sugar bloom is the result of surface moisture dissolving sugar in the chocolate and subsequent recrystallization of the sugar on the chocolate surface. Typically caused by cold chocolate being exposed to a warm, humid environment with resultant condensation forming on the product. It's a visual and textural defect only. The product is fine to eat.
sweet chocolate (dark): Chocolate that contains a minimum of 15 percent chocolate liquor and less than 12 percent milk solids with varying amounts of sweeteners and cocoa butter
tempering: A process of preparing chocolate that involves cooling and heating so it will solidify with a stable cocoa butter crystal formation. This process is used to prepare chocolate for coating and dipping. Proper tempering and cooling is required for good surface gloss and to prevent “fat” bloom.
unsweetened chocolate: Same as “chocolate liquor.” The chocolate liquor is cooled and molded into blocks that can be used for baking.
white chocolate: Contains at least 20 percent cocoa butter, 14 percent milk solids and 3.5 percent milk fat. It contains sugar, cocoa butter, milk solids and fats, and flavorings. White chocolate is white because it contains no cocoa powder or chocolate liquor (unsweetened chocolate).