Other Types of Chocolate
Of course dark and milk chocolate are not the only varieties that are enjoyed worldwide. On this page, you will learn about some of the more minor players in the chocolate world.
Although white chocolate was introduced by the Nestlé company in the 1930s, the U.S. government did not create standards to define this category until 2002. In that year, the government required a product to contain a minimum 20 percent cocoa butter, at least 14 percent milk powder, and no more than 55 percent sugar to legally be termed "white chocolate" rather than a "confection."
Despite this new "definition of identity" from the government, white chocolate is not technically chocolate at all, because according to the established definition, a "chocolate" must contain chocolate liquor. Certainly, most chocolate connoisseurs, aficionados, and purists refuse to recognize it as anything but a candy or confection. (While it is sometimes referred to as "white milk chocolate," which is perhaps closer to the mark, even milk chocolate must contain at least some chocolate liquor.) And the lack of cacao solids (the nonfat part of the cacao bean) means that white chocolate is not likely to provide the health benefits of true chocolates.
The labels of some white chocolate bars do list a percentage, much the way the labels on true chocolates do, but this percentage does not refer to the percentage of cacao in the bar. Instead, it refers to the amount of cocoa butter. The higher the percentage of cocoa butter, the richer and creamier the bar and the more likely it is to have at least a hint of chocolate flavor.
Couverture, or Coating, Chocolate
This type of chocolate is a professional-quality product used for coating. It's made with higher-quality beans that are ground to a finer particle size and has a higher cocoa-butter content (usually 36 percent to 39 percent) than do chocolate bars for eating, giving it a texture and consistency better suited for use as a coating for candies. Couverture is specially tempered so it will form a thin, smooth, shiny coating on hand-dipped candies. The extra cocoa butter makes it easier for the artisan to use and allows the chocolatier to produce a more delicate coating, or shell, than would be possible with noncouverture chocolate.
Couverture chocolate is usually sold in 2.2-pound to 10-pound blocks for professional chocolatiers and chefs, but some companies also produce smaller-size blocks and wafers for use by the at-home candy maker.
Chocolate lovers now enjoy a great variety of higher-quality chocolate. Keep reading to learn about qualities of chocolate.