As the New Zealand chocolate industry is getting more well know, some mysterious chocolate jargon has started popping up. So I thought it might be a good idea to start a chocolate dictionary here. I will add new words in from time to time as they come up. But for now I will start us off with some of the basics. After all, this is a chocolate dictionary, not an encyclopedia!
In alphabetical order
Bean-to-bar: This term usually only refers to chocolate makers, they source their cacao beans directly from farmers. This enables them to ensure an ethical supply chain (also see Direct Trade). The chocolate maker is then involved in every step of the chocolate making process.
Cacao bean: The all-important pod from which chocolate is made. The three most commonly talked about varieties are Criollo (rare but fine), Forastero (common and robust), and Trinitario (a hybrid of Criollo and Forastero).
Chocolate: The finished product, made from cocoa solids, (usually) sugar and (sometimes) extra cocoa butter, milk and other flavourings.
Chocolate maker: Someone who processes cacao beans into chocolate. Some well known large chocolate makers include Valrhona and Callebaut. An example from within New Zealand would be Whittaker’s. Some smaller local chocolate makers that The Chocolate Tour works with include; Hogarth, Ocho and Wellington Chocolate Factory.
Chocolatier: Someone who uses the ready made chocolate from a chocolate maker for their creations. Often they make beautiful filled, dipped or otherwise flavoured chocolates. A chocolatier does not make cacao beans into chocolate like a chocolate maker does, although some chocolatiers are also chocolate makers. This blog will help explain the difference a little more.
Cocoa butter: Firstly this is not actually a butter. Cacao butter is the naturally occurring fat from inside the cacao bean. It helps to give chocolate its magical ability to turn into a delicious puddle. It liquifies just below human body temperature. Extra cocoa butter is sometimes added to give a smoother finish to chocolate.
Cocoa mass/liquor: Pure liquid cacao, the main ingredient in chocolate. Includes both cocoa solids and cocoa butter in their natural proportions. This is what is created in one of the first steps of making chocolate, before the cacao butter and cacao solids are separated for production.
Couverture: The chocolate end product made by the chocolate makers. Often it is made to be remelted into new products at a later date. This is usually what is used for filled and dipped chocolates. Common options come from Valrhona and Callebaut. However some bean-to-bar chocolate makers also make couverture for other chocolatiers to work with.
Direct trade: Means the chocolate maker sources directly from the farmer, rather than through intermediaries. And while this means more work for the chocolate maker it usually results in higher prices for the farmer than Fair Trade agreements offer.
Inclusions: These are ingredients added to the chocolate for added flavour and/or texture. Usually these are extras that are not needed to make chocolate. For example: nuts, berries, and caramel.
Single-origin: Made from cacao beans from a single geographical location (often from a single farm). Most bean-to-bar products are single origin, and many couverture chocolates are too.
Tempering: The process required to set couverture chocolate properly when making chocolates. This involves a tricky multi-step process of heating and cooling the chocolate. When done correctly, the chocolate crystals will line up and the chocolate will be better to work with. There are different methods of tempering, each suitable for different skill levels. Properly tempered chocolate should be glossy, set firmly, and should snap when broken.
Did I miss any?
If you have come across a word I haven’t listed, feel free to reach out and I will do some research for you + add it to the chocolate dictionary!