Categories of Chocolate Explained
Chocolate is divided into two distinct categories: real chocolate and compound chocolate.
Both real chocolate and compound chocolate are chocolate - the difference is the type of lipid (fat) or oil used in the production of the product.
Real chocolate contains cocoa butter, which is extracted from the cocoa or cacao bean. Cocoa butter is an expensive ingredient which has some unusual characteristics or quirks. Because of the nature of cocoa butter, real chocolate requires going through a special procedure during the melting process called tempering, which re-establishes the cocoa butter crystals, giving the cooled and finished chocolate the proper sheen, snap and taste. Additionally, and of vital importance, tempering prevents bloom, where the cocoa butter separates from the cocoa solids and comes to the surface, turning the chocolate whitish or grayish in color. If you are making candy or dipping items that won’t be consumed within a day or so, tempering is absolutely mandatory for all real chocolate.
Real chocolate is subdivided into three categories based on the quality of the product (quality of the cocoa beans) and most importantly, the cocoa butter content:
Regular Chocolate - typically in chocolate chip form, regular chocolate is sweetened with sugar, is generally made from moderate quality cocoa beans, and has a very low cocoa butter content and a high viscosity (thickness when in a melted state). Generally used in baking (i.e. chocolate chip cookies), regular chocolate holds its shape and is not the best choice when molding, dipping or enrobing.
Another form of regular chocolate is unsweetened blocks or bars of baking chocolate (also called plain chocolate), which generally has a relatively low cocoa butter content and doesn’t require tempering when used in normal baking applications.
Couverture Chocolate – the term couverture translates to "covering" and refers to the finest professional quality chocolate. It is produced with a high percentage of cocoa butter and uses premium cacao beans. It melts smoothly, making it ideal for specialty candy making and molding. When tempered and cooled, it forms an elegant glossy finish.
Ultra Couverture Chocolate – is equal in quality to couverture chocolate, but with an even higher cocoa butter content. Due to the higher cocoa butter content and very low viscosity, it is the perfect chocolate for dipping and enrobing. Few manufacturers are able to successfully produce this type of chocolate because of the difficulty in balancing the higher cocoa butter content while retaining superb taste and texture. When tempered and cooled, it forms a thin and elegant glossy shell.
Compound chocolate contains vegetable oil instead of cocoa butter and tempering is not required. Home hobbyists and professionals alike have utilized compound chocolate due to its ease of use and lower price.
Historically, quality and taste have been sacrificed for ease and price with compound chocolate. Now, with Cocoa butter replacement, Compound Chocolate has a solution for those that do not want to temper, the current technologies was able to create a Compound Chocolate with same applications characterstic of couverture chocolate however quality is sacrificed for ease of use since no tempering required.
Belgico™ couverture has a wide variety of dark, milk and white chocolate recipes to choose from – each with its own unique taste sensation, ranging from extra bitter to mild and aromatic. Each recipe carries the Belgico™ quality guarantee. That means that you can rely on the taste and quality of each fine chocolate produced and delivered, as they remain constant – today, tomorrow and always.
And with the variety of liquidity offered, you will easily find the perfect chocolate couverture that suits your application .
Couvertures & Sustainability Noble grade cocoa beans Criollo & Trinitario for our Cacao, Belgico™ Couvertures Superior aromatic Forastero cocoa beans for our Superfine & Classic Milk Couvertures .
Very few chocolatiers have gone so far as to become chocolate growers in order to understand the process better and to have complete control over the quality of the beans and guarantee the taste of their cocoa. Royal Gulf Chocolats, however, masters the inspections of every step in the chain of production. Their selectors, planters and sourcing experts over the world share the same passion and are working to ensure quality of a level that makes Belgico™ a chocolate truly exceptional.