Chocolate is one of the most popular and desirable confectionery items which people love all around the world, yet many people do not actually know much about chocolate which is a shame because it is incredibly interesting and there is a lot to learn. There are many different types of chocolate and it is interesting to know the difference and how they are made.
Unsweetened chocolate, as the name implies, is sugar which is 100% cacao with 0% sugar and held together by cocoa butter. It can be a little bit too bitter for many people which is why it is mainly used in baking.
Cocoa powder is similar to unsweetened chocolate in that it is 100% cacao but does not contain cocoa butter to hold it together which is why it is a powder. This is not to be confused with hot chocolate mix and again it is generally only used for baking.
Dark chocolate is chocolate which has over 70% cacao which means that it still retains a bitter taste but is much more pleasing to the palette and the flavour can vary depending on the bean. This also means that it can be used for both eating and cooking and it is a type that has become hugely popular in recent years due to the proven health benefits of dark chocolate. Dark chocolate contains a lot of nutrients that are good for your health (but keep in mind that it still has sugar so is best consumed in moderation).
Semisweet chocolate usually has a percentage balance of 60% cacao and 40% sugar which gives it a semi-sweet taste. This also means that it can be used for baking but many people enjoy simply to eat it too.
The most popular type of chocolate, milk chocolate typically has between 10% and 40% cacao which is mixed with sugar and milk solids. It is usually much softer in texture and melts easily which is one of the reasons that it is so popular as an eating chocolate. Vanilla is also often added for extra smoothness.
At the other end of the spectrum, white chocolate has no cacao and is made up of cocoa butter and sugar (and occasionally vanilla for flavouring). While some will claim that this is not technically a chocolate, it remains a hugely popular option for those with a sweet tooth.
These are the main types of chocolate that you will find in the supermarket. It is amazing the difference in taste, texture and use that you get with different chocolates and everyone seems to have their own favourite whether they prefer the more bitter taste or something much sweeter with more sugar.