When you step into a supermarket and head to the chocolate section, you might be surprised by the long list of ingredients you usually find in mass-produced chocolate. From vegetable oils to artificial flavorings, there is a lot that big chocolate companies add to their products to cut costs while making their chocolate more palatable (often to cover up the poor quality of their raw materials).
But when it comes to craft bean-to-bar chocolate, which is chocolate made from scratch by small-size artisan companies, here are the minimal ingredients you can expect in each kind of chocolate:
Dark Chocolate: cocoa beans and sugar.
Nothing else is needed when the cacao used is flavorful on its own. Usually cane sugar, coconut sugar, panela, honey, maple syrup or other natural alternative sugars are used instead of highly refined white sugar. Cocoa butter could also be among the ingredients, added to confer extra creaminess. Vanilla and soy/sunflower lecithin can also be found at the end of the list, but in rare occasions.
Milk Chocolate: cocoa beans, sugar and milk powder.
To the fine cacao and the sugar, milk is added to round off the more intense notes from the beans. Craft chocolate makers are getting creative and adding exclusive kinds of milk like goat milk, camel milk, milk from local farmers, or choose the opposite route with plant-based alternatives made of coconut, rice, almond or oats. Here vanilla can be found more often, to confer extra sweetness.
White Chocolate: sugar, milk powder and cocoa butter.
There are no cocoa solids here (the “brown” part of the beans), but only the fatty component which is the cocoa butter. Together with sugar and milk powder, these 3 ingredients create the perfect treat for those craving extreme sweetness and creaminess. Here vanilla is almost always a common flavoring.
So here is your daily reminder to always check the ingredients list whenever you shop for chocolate.