Chocolate Terms from A to Z

Relax — this is just for fun, and there won’t be a quiz! What follows is a useful collection of key chocolate terms. Far from comprehensive, because a list of every expression used by cacao farmers, chocolate makers, and chocolatiers would fill many more pages than this. But for a guide to the important words and how to use them, this is your place: What’s the difference between “praline” and “gianduja”? (None.) Is “cocoa butter” made with butter? (Nope.) When do you compliment a chocolate on its “good temper”? (When it has an even gloss and clean snap.) Read on for more...

Glossary of Handy Chocolate Terminology

  • all natural: our chocolates contain no preservatives, no additives, no extenders — no junk, no kidding!

  • allergens: our products may contain traces of peanuts, tree nuts, soy, gluten, and milk products

  • baking chocolate: milk, bittersweet, semisweet, and white chocolate sold in pistoles or blocks for baking

  • bitter/unsweetened chocolate: chocolate liquid cooled and molded into blocks

  • bloom: a whitish-gray discoloration due to a temperature or humidity change

  • buttercream: a flavored mixture of butter, sugar, and eggs

  • caramel: fresh cream, butter, sugar, and vanilla, slow cooked in copper kettles until thick and creamy

  • chocolate liquid/liquor: a.k.a. cocoa mass, the basic raw material of all chocolate products, made from ground nibs (nibs are the “meat” of the cocoa bean)

  • cacao beans: the source of all chocolate, cacao beans (“cocoa” beans, once processed) grow in the fruit pods of the cacao tree, an evergreen which thrives in the region 20° north and south of the Equator

  • cocoa butter: the yellowish-white vegetable fat that is removed from chocolate liquid under high pressure

  • cocoa powder: what remains after most of the cocoa butter has been removed from chocolate liquid

  • couverture [koo-vehr-TYOOR]: a glossy chocolate used for enrobing (couverture is French for “blanket”)

  • dark chocolate: made by combining chocolate liquid, cocoa butter, and sweetener

  • dutched cocoa: cocoa powder which has been alkalized to reduce its natural acidity, make it darker in color, more chocolatey in flavor, and easier to mix with liquids

  • feuilletine [FOY-ah-teen]: a delicate, crispy French butter flake used in baking, pastry, and confectionery

  • ganache [gahn-AHSH]: a blend of chocolate, cream, and butter which forms the center of all truffles

  • gianduja [john-DOO-yah]: a combination of hazelnut paste and chocolate couverture

  • gluten: a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and other grains

  • kosher: Jewish dietary laws pertaining to the preparation and handling of food products; all of our chocolate products are certified kosher

  • milk chocolate: made by combining chocolate liquid, extra cocoa butter, milk or cream, and sweetener

  • nibs: the “meat” of the cocoa bean, separated from the shell after roasting and ground into cocoa mass

  • pistoles: milk, white, or dark chocolate chips for tempering

  • praline: a fine paste made from chocolate and ground hazelnuts, a.k.a. gianduja

  • semisweet and sweet chocolate: made by combining chocolate liquid with varying amounts of sweetener and more cocoa butter

  • temper: the visible appearance of chocolate, which varies by cooking method; “tempered” chocolate will have a high-gloss sheen and clean snap when broken

  • truffles: a velvety-smooth, flavorful ganache center enrobed in chocolate couverture

  • unsweetened/bitter chocolate: chocolate liquid cooled and molded into blocks

  • vegan: a term used to describe food that’s free of any dairy or animal products — many of our dark chocolate products are considered vegan, but may still contain traces of milk (because both milk and dark chocolate are processed in our factory)

  • white chocolate: made by combining sugar, cocoa butter, milk solids, lecithin, and vanilla; some don’t consider this chocolate, as it contains no chocolate liquor — others do, since it contains cocoa butter

Want to learn more about chocolate? Check out some interesting chocolate facts and information!