“Chocolate” is a food obtained by the mixture of two ingredients derived from the cacao bean: Cacao paste, also known as cacao mass, cacao solids or cacao liquor, and cacao butter. Then, sugar is added to give it some sweetness.
For a bar to be real chocolate, most of its ingredients need to come from cacao.
There are many terms used today like “gourmet chocolate,” “dark chocolate,” “bittersweet chocolate,” “craft chocolate,” “artisan chocolate,” or "fine chocolate" used to refer to a good chocolate bar. They should only have two ingredients: cacao and sugar. Some dark chocolate bars have only cacao, that is, they are 100% cacao.
They are also produced through the already established methods to elaborate a dark chocolate bar (look for details in “how is the best chocolate made?”). The challenge is to highlight the aromatic properties of the cacao beans resulting in a delicious bittersweet chocolate bar using these two ingredients. These features to be highlighted come from:
- The environment or land where the cacao tree grew,
- The seed itself (depending on its variety), and
- The steps followed for the preparation of the final product.
The idea is that a “gourmet chocolate” producer uses his abilities to uncover the cacao properties and not to use other ingredients to “hide” defects, aromas, or unwanted tastes.
This definition does not necessarily dismiss any other chocolates made with more ingredients besides cacao and sugar. There are other elements that, ideally, shouldn’t be part of the chocolate, but are used to highlight the aromas and tastes of the chocolate. These include vanilla, vegetable lecithin, solids from milk, salt, nuts, or fruits. It is up to the bittersweet chocolate consumer to decide which is his favorite dark chocolate.