The Different Types of Chocolate


The percentage of cocoa and the use of different ingredients create several distinct types of chocolate:

  • Dark chocolate. Made of sugar, cocoa butter and cocoa press cake. The cocoa quantity must be equal or above 43%.
  • Milk chocolate. The cocoa content must be equal or above 25%; the milk content must be equal or above 14%; and the sugar content must be below 55%. There are also milk chocolates with a cocoa percentage of only 50% or above. Milk chocolate is sweeter and creamier than dark chocolate.
  • White chocolate. Milk, cocoa butter and sugar are the only ingredients (there’s no cocoa!). The cocoa butter content must be at least 20%, milk at least 14% e sugar not more than 55%.
  • Gianduia chocolate. Developed in Piedmont, Italy, toward the end of 1800 when some chocolatiers in Turin decided to mix cocoa with local hazelnuts processed into a cream. They obtained a product that is very buttery and has a nutty flavor. Gianduia chocolate is made of about 32% cocoa, and 20% to 40% hazelnuts.

    The percentage of cocoa written on chocolate bar labels usually indicates the amount of cocoa powder, press cake and added cocoa butter. The minimum cocoa quantity required to call a product Chocolate is 35%, but a 100% cocoa chocolate bar cannot exist because it must have at least 1% of sugar in its composition.

    The amount of cocoa is an important factor in determining the quality of the chocolate, however, we cannot say that the higher the quantity of cocoa, the higher the quality of the chocolate. A quantity of cocoa between 60% and 85% makes the chocolate well-balanced; below that the chocolate may be too sweet, and above that it may be too bitter or astringent. This also depends on the quality of the cocoa: A very fine cocoa can result in a balanced chocolate also with a 85% cocoa quantity, but in most cases a 70% cocoa quantity is considered ideal.