+ A Breif History
For thousands of years, chocolate was a drink. We have much evidence from as early as 3,500 BC from pottery designed to hold liquids. These pottery contained traces of the alkaloids found in chocolate.
When the Spanish first encountered the Maya and the Aztecs, they were intorduced to chocolate as a drink. There is evidence of Mesoamericans using chocolate as an ingredient in gruels and foods, but nothing substantial that they ate it as a solid.
When chocolate entered Europe in the 16th Century, it was a drink much like coffee and tea which entered around the same time. The Europeans would take their chocolate hot, and some even boiled it as they did in England. Since cacao is about 50% fat, much of this fat would separate from the water and form a film that would float to to the top. Chocolate makers would have to skim off this fat, which was very labour intensive.
Then, in 1828, Van Houten in Holland invented a cocoa press, which squeezed much of this fat out from the seed. The result was a container of the fat (cocoa butter), and a cocoa press cake, which was everything left over, including some fat. This press cake was pulvarized into cocoa powder. This powder was much easier to mix with hot water. One problem, they had a waste product with no real use for it: cocoa butter.
About 20 years later in 1847, Fry & Sons in Bristol, England combined the left over cocoa butter with the cocoa powder, and let it set into a solid bar. They invented the worlds first eating chocolate.
How we can classify chocolate today
Traditional Drinking Chocolate:
This is how the South Americans and Mesoamericans were consuming chocolate, as well as Europeans before 1828. For thousands of years chocolate was taken as a drink, with a plethora of ingredients mixed in depending on who was making it. Chocolate was a drink, taken like coffee or tea. It was used as an ingredient in desserts and foods as well, but generally not eaten as a solid.
This all changed in 1828 when Van Houten invented the cocoa press. The result was cocoa powder and cocoa butter.
Cocoa Powder Drinking Chocolate:
Cocoa powder has been used to make drinking chocolate since the 19th Century. Today, we also used it as a flavouring in desserts such as cakes, creams, and cookies. Most "chocolate" flavoured processed foods use cocoa powder, not chocolate, for its flavour. Cocoa powder is much cheaper than chocolate.
Whole Nib Chocolate
This is chocolate which was invented by Fry & Sons. Initallly they combined the left over cocoa butter and cocoa powder, but eventually just ground up the whole nibs with sugar to make the worlds first eating chocolate.
Dark chocolate is just this, ground up cocoa nibs and sugar, and that's it. Some makers may add extra cocoa butter, maybe lecithin, but whole nib chocolate is dark chocolate.
Now, the flavour of this dark chocoalte comes from the cacao seeds (their genetics) and how they are processed (fermented, roasted, and refined). The aromas such as "cherry", "hazelnut", or "toast" comes from the cacao itself, not by having those ingredients added to it.
Flavoured Whole Nib Chocolate This is when the whole nib and sugar is combined with another major ingredient, which makes it "flavoured" chocolate. This ingredient can be hazelnuts to create gianduja or milk powder to create milk chocolate. The list is endless really.
It all started in the 19th Century when Cafarrel combined chocolate and hazelnuts to create gianduja. After the "chocolate bar" was invented by in 1847, a Swiss chocolate maker Daniel Peter combined forces with Henri Nestle (a chemist who invented milk powder) and combined milk powder with cocoa beans and sugar to create milk chocolate.
Today, we see cocao nibs and sugar combined with an array of ingredients: almonds, cashews, goat milk powder, camel milk powder, tea leaves, fruit powders, and the list goes on.
Whatever "type" of chocolate they are called, they all boil down to combinging cocoa beans and another flavoured ingredient. Sometimes they don't even add sugar.
Flavoured Cocoa Butter Chocolate Cocao butter on itself isn't that tasty. Although, if not deodorized, it has a cocoa aroma to it, even if mixed with sugar isn't very palatable. Even when it is mixed into dark chocolate, makers try not to add too much or you can begin to "taste" it.
It was likely the Swiss who first invented a form of flavoured cocoa butter chocolate: white chocolate. White chocolate is essnetially cocoa butter, sugar, milk powder, and vanilla.
Today, we can see many ingredients added to cocoa butter and sugar such as: matcha green tea powder, freeze dried fruit powders, nuts, sesame seeds, and the list goes on.
Whole Nib Chocolate
Ingredients: Cocoa bean + Sugar
Sugar doesn’t always have to be included, such as 100% dark chocolate bars, which is cocoa nibs roasted, ground, and refined into chocolate.
Whole Nib Flavoured Chocolate
Milk chocolate, Gianduja, Almond Bar, Earl Grey Tea Bar
Ingredients: Cocoa Bean + Sugar + Flavour Ingredient
Cocoa Butter Based Chocolate
White Chocolate, Black Sesame Bar, Fruit Bar, Nut Bar
Ingredients: Cocoa Butter + Sugar + Flavour Ingredient
Traditional Drinking Chocolate
Ingredients: Cocoa Beans, Water, Other flavour Ingredients
Cocoa Powder Drinking Chocolate
Cocoa Powder, Sugar, Milk (Dairy or Non-Dairy Milk)