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Accra, Ghana

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May 14, 2024

Ghana Chocolate Hub

…bringing you the updates on Ghana's cocoa value addition industry



Amelonado– The only variety of forastero cocoa with a mild and delicate flavor. Most forastero cocoas are bitter flavored. Amelonado is derived from the Arriba bean.
All Natural– This term refers to a chocolate product that contains no preservatives, no additives, no extenders — no junk, etc.
Allergens– This term is used by chocolate makers when a chocolate product may contain traces of peanuts, tree nuts, soy, gluten, and milk products.
Arriba – The name for a variety of forastero cocoa beans, grown in Ecuador, which produce mild-flavored cocoa. It is considered to be one of the world’s best.
Artisan chocolate – This term refers to chocolate produced by small chocolate makers–artisans–who understand their craft intimately. Artisan chocolate must be made under the care and supervision of a knowledgeable chocolate maker who could be defined as an artisan. If there is no artisan at a company, then the chocolate cannot accurately be called


Baking chocolate – This refers to milk, bittersweet, semisweet, and white chocolate sold in one-pound blocks for baking.
Bahia: An eastern Brazilian province that gives its name to a hybrid of the forastero cocoa bean. Bahia beans have a strong flavor. They are generally blended together with other beans.
Bain Marie: The French term for a ‘water bath’. It is the equivalent of a double boiler, melting the chocolate carefully using warm water so it will not burn.
Baking Bitter: Non-alcoholic, unsweetened chocolate liquor in its solid form (used as a baking ingredient).
Baking Chocolate: Pure, unsweetened, and often bitter chocolate liquor, pressed from the cocoa bean. Baking chocolate usually contains lecithin (an emulsifier) and vanilla (for flavoring).
Ballotin: The French term for a small, elegant box of chocolates (designed to prevent the chocolates from damaging each other).
Bean to Bar: A chocolate that is made by a single company or individual by starting with raw cocoa beans that they then roast (or not), winnow, grind, temper, and package themselves (as opposed to melting down existing chocolate to create new shapes or to add inclusions).
Bittersweet Chocolate: Bittersweet chocolate, not to be confused with semisweet chocolate or unsweetened chocolate, should contain at least 35% chocolate liquor and is primarily used for baking. All types of confections, desserts, & pastries can be made with bittersweet chocolate. It is regularly used by professionals to produce thin outer chocolate
coatings on truffles & other confections (due to the fact it contains more cocoa butter than regular chocolate). To make bittersweet chocolate, chocolate liquor is pressed from the cocoa bean during processing. Then cocoa butter, a small amount of sugar, vanilla, and usually lecithin is added. It has a strong, deep, tangy, slightly sweet flavor.
Bonbon: A small candy or sweet. (Bonbon is the French word for sweet.)
Brut (Bitter): A chocolate containing very little to no sugar. It is intended for baking, as only real chocolate fanatics will enjoy eating this very bitter chocolate plain. The solid cocoa content is in excess of 85%.
Bloom: Fat bloom is discoloration or gray film that forms on the outside of solid chocolate if it is stored at (or exposed to) temperatures higher than 25°C. It is caused by cocoa butter begins to melt, separating from the other ingredients, and rising to the surface. Fat bloomed chocolate can be re-melted and re-tempered to make it bloom-free. Sugar bloom is a white crust or rough blotches that form on the outside of chocolate that has been exposed to moisture. Moisture draws sugar to the surface, where it dissolves. Both blooms are purely cosmetic and do not mean the chocolate is spoiled.
Bonbon: A small candy or sweet. (Bonbon is the French word for sweet.)
Brut (Bitter): A chocolate containing very little to no sugar. It is intended for baking, as only real chocolate fanatics will enjoy eating this very bitter chocolate plain. The solid cocoa content is in excess of 85%.
Bloom – This refers to a whitish-gray discoloration due to a temperature or humidity change.
Buttercream– This refers to a flavored mixture of butter, sugar, and eggs.


Cacahuatl: The Aztec word for cocoa bean. The word ‘chocolate’ is derived from ‘cacahuatl’.
Cocoa: The term “cocoa” generally refers to the raw materials of chocolate – the trees, pods, beans, and liquor (pure cocoa bean paste without sugar), before it processed into chocolate, cocoa powder, and cocoa butter. “Cocoa” and “Cocoa” are technically interchangeable; however, the chocolate industry tends to use “cocoa” to describe the raw
ingredient and “cocoa” to reference processed elements such as cocoa powder and cocoa butter.
Cocoa Bean: A part of the cocoa tree, found inside its pods, which is crushed to make chocolate.
Cocoa Butter: The natural vegetable fat within cocoa beans. Cocoa butter is extracted by grinding and pressing the bean. It melts at body temperature, giving chocolate its famously sensuous texture. Roughly 50% of each bean is made up of cocoa butter.
Cocoa Mass: Chocolate before cocoa butter, sugar, vanilla, lecithin, or any other natural or artificial flavoring is added. It is simply ground up cocoa beans.
Cocoa Mothers: Tall trees grown next to cocoa trees to shade them from the sun. The trees are generally banana, rubber, or coconut palms, depending on the location of the plantation.
Cocoa Pod: The fruit of the cocoa tree. Pods usually contain 20-40 cocoa beans.
Cocoa Walks: Large groves or plantations of cocoa trees.
Caraque: A name given by the Spanish to the criollo variety of cocoa beans when they were first brought to Europe.
Carraque: Solid milk or dark chocolate confections, sometimes topped with raisins, almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts.
Chocolate: Generally speaking, ‘chocolate’ is used to describe the familiar product we all know that is made from five basic ingredients: cocoa beans, sugar, cocoa butter, lecithin, and vanilla. More technically speaking, ‘chocolate’ refers to ‘chocolate liquor’; thus, ‘chocolate liquor’, ‘cocoa mass’ and ‘chocolate’ are all the same thing.
Chocolate Bark: A piece of flat, irregularly shaped chocolate, often containing chopped nuts and fruits. Chocolate bark can be made from all types of chocolate. Its exterior is rough, like tree bark.
Chocolate Coating: An inexpensive product used to replace real chocolate, made by removing some or all of the cocoa butter from chocolate liquor and replacing it with less expensive vegetable fat of some kind.
Chocolate Cremebrulee: Cold chocolate custard sprinkled with sugar. The sugar caramelizes when heat is applied, making the top crisp and brittle.
Chocolate Extract: A concentrated, natural chocolate flavoring (often used in recipes to replace chocolate, in an attempt to cut back on fat).
Chocolate Liquor: A thick, dark brown, and nonalcoholic chocolate liquid, created by pressing or finely grinding roasted cocoa bean nibs. It is the basis of all chocolate and is also referred to as cocoa mass, cocoa liquor, or chocolate paste. The chocolate liquor is cooled and molded into blocks (unsweetened baking chocolate). The term chocolate liquor has nothing to do with alcohol in any way but refers to the nibs being in the liquid state when they are ground.
Chocolate Makers: This term usually refers to small companies that produce chocolate in small batches from fermented and dried cocoa beans.
Chocolate Manufacturers: This term usually refers to large companies that produce a broad range of mass market chocolates from dried cocoa beans.
Chocolate Mousse: A rich, creamy dessert made with cream and beaten egg white, flavored with chocolate, and typically served chilled. It is often poured into a mold and stabilized with gelatin.
Chocolate Lover: One who appreciates the qualities of chocolate and feels that life would not be the same without it.
Chocolate Modeling Paste: A paste made by mixing dark, white, or milk chocolate with corn syrup. This paste is pliable and has a malleable texture similar to marzipan. Flowers, leaves, ribbons, & other decorations can be fashioned from thinly rolled chocolate modeling paste to decorate desserts and other confections.
Chocolate or Cocoa Percentage: The percentage of chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, & cocoa powder in chocolate. A higher cocoa percentage does not necessarily guarantee a higher chocolate quality. A 70% chocolate would contains roughly 30% sugar.
Chocolate Thermometer: This specially designed thermometer is an important tool when tempering chocolate, as extreme accuracy is required. Chocolate thermometers have distinct markings and reads in 1-degree graduations in the range of 40°F to 130°F.
Chocolatier: A well-trained specialist who creates both recipes and confections using fine chocolate. A chocolatier can also be employed to evaluate beans or supervise blending and roasting, in order to create a consistent final product.
Chuao: An isolated plantation, located in Venezuela, which dates back to the seventeenth century. This plantation grows one of the world’s most highly prized, flavorful varieties of the criollo cocoa bean. Criollo beans are very rare and are usually blended with other beans before being shipped.
Coating chocolate or Chocolate-flavored coating – Some or all of the cocoa butter is removed from the chocolate liquor and is replaced with less expensive vegetable fat of some kind to produce an inexpensive product to replace real chocolate.
Cocoa Beans: The source of all chocolate and cocoa. Cocoa beans are found in the pods (fruit) of the cocoa tree, an evergreen cultivated mainly within twenty degrees north or south of the equator. These beans are harvested to make chocolate.
Cocoa Butter: A natural, ivory or cream-colored vegetable fat, made up mostly of triglycerides and extracted from the inner nibs of the cocoa beans during processing. Cocoa butter is added back later in the chocolate-making process, as its distinctive melting quality is what gives chocolate its unique, smooth texture and rich flavor. Cocoa butter remains
firm at room temperature, melts at around 88 degrees F., and has a neutral taste. Since it melts below body temperature, it imparts a cooling, melt-in-your-mouth sensation. Cocoa butter is not a dairy product. Cocoa butter is polymorphic (“existing in or assuming different forms”), with approximately six somewhat overlapping crystallization and melting ranges. Cocoa butter is also rare in that it resists rancidity, and can be stored for
much longer periods of time than most vegetable fats without spoilage. Additional uses include pharmaceutical and cosmetic purposes.
Cocoa butter percentage – Mass market chocolates and cocoa powders often have much lower cocoa butter percentages than fine chocolate and high-quality cocoa powders because cocoa butter is an expensive ingredient. The higher percentages of cocoa butter in fine chocolate and fine cocoa powders have a positive impact on mouthfeel and flavor.
Cocoa Cake: The fairly dry, solid leftovers after hydraulic presses extract the cocoa butter from chocolate liquor. It is also called a press cake. Cocoa cakes are crushed, ground, and sifted to produce cocoa powder.
Cocoa Content: The amount of cocoa in particular chocolate. In general, the higher the cocoa content, the more intense the flavor, and the lower the amount of sugar present.
Cocoa Dance: In Trinidad and some regions of South America, women shuffle through cocoa beans spread out to dry. This ritual allows the beans to dry evenly, removes extra particles, and also polishes the beans. The cocoa dance is performed twice a year after each cocoa bean harvest.
Cocoa Mass: The finely ground paste of roasted cocoa beans. The paste is a very dark brown, partially fluid mass with a pleasant aroma. The cocoa butter within the paste provides moisture while the cocoa powder gives the paste its color, taste, & aroma.
Cocoa Nibs: Refers to the “meat” of the cocoa bean or the broken pieces of the fermented, dried, and usually roasted, cocoa bean, after the shell–actually the thin seed coat of the cocoa bean–has been removed. It may contain approximately 50% cocoa butter and 50% cocoa powder. Cocoa nibs may be eaten out of hand or ground into chocolate liquor, which itself may be used for chocolate making or pressing to extract the fat of the
cocoa bean, called cocoa butter.
Cocoa Pods: The fruit of the cocoa tree. The oval pods are irregularly shaped and are harvested year-round from continually flowering plants. Each pod measures between 15 and 30 centimeters (6-12 inches) and hang from the trunk and largest branches. Each fruit (pod) contains between 30-40 beans of about 1cm (roughly ½ inch) in length. The beans are surrounded by a white pulpy mass.
Cocoa powder – Once the cocoa butter has been hydraulically pressed from chocolate liquor, the remaining material is a compressed “cocoa cake.” This cocoa cake is then reground and sifted until it is a fine cocoa powder. Cocoa powder, though lower in cocoa butter than the initial chocolate liquor from which it is made, will still have from 10-22%
cocoa butter content, more flavorful fine cocoa powder will generally have a higher cocoa butter percentage. Cocoa powder is used to prepare chocolate drinks, for baking, and for flavoring. The powder contains all of the chocolate’s flavor and antioxidants.
Cocoa Shells: The loose cocoa bean covering, winnowed away after roasting, and usually discarded. Cocoa shells are full of flavor and can be used for teas or infusions.
Cocoa Solids: The total amount of cocoa in chocolate. It is usually expressed as a percentage. Cocoa powder is pure cocoa solids, as the fat has been pressed out of the beans.
Cocoa Tea: A traditional drink from the West Indies, made by melting mashed up and
roasted cocoa beans into milk.
Compound Coating: A coating material similar to chocolate that may contain cocoa solids but that has some or all of its cocoa butter replaced with other vegetable fats. It is also referred to as “no-temper chocolate” and it is not considered true chocolate.
Conching: Conching is a texture and flavor improvement process carried out by any of a variety of different machines called conches or refiner-conches. The process, which generally follows refining, takes place over the course of several hours to three days or more depending upon the machine, the chocolate maker’s vision regarding chocolate flavor
and texture, and the particular cocoa from which the chocolate is made. It is the final and key refining process to improve the texture, flavour, and aroma of liquid chocolate. Conch machines (so-called because the paddles of early conch machines resembled conch shells) are equipped with heavy rollers or rotating blades which knead the chocolate, plowing it back and forth. The resulting friction and aeration remove both acidity and moisture, as well as bringing about other chemical changes in chocolate to improve its flavor and aroma. Conching times vary widely, depending on the type of machine, the particular cocoa being used, and the desired end result. Some chocolates are not conched at all, whereas other chocolates are conched for several days.
Cotyledons: The part of the fresh cut cocoa beans that later become the nibs after the
cocoa beans are dried.
Couverture: A high quality coating chocolate that is extremely glossy. Couverture usually contains a minimum of 32% cocoa butter, which enables it to form a much thinner shell than ordinary confectionary coating. The more cocoa butter, the lower the viscosity; noncouverture chocolate is too thick to achieve an ideal shell consistency. Couverture
chocolate is usually only found in specialty candy-making shops, and is generally used as the shell of filled chocolates, to enrobe liquid fruit centers, or for molding and candy making.
Craft Chocolate: Small batches of chocolate made by independent companies that are
involved at every stage of production.
Criollo: One of the most celebrated and highly prized cocoa varieties, renowned for its delicate flavors. It is also the most susceptible to disease, has a lower yield per tree, and is one of the hardest cocoas to farm successfully. It is therefore one of the most expensive cocoas. The name is derived from the Spanish for ‘native’, dating back to when the Spanish first arrived in Central America. Most criollo beans come from Venezuela.
Crystallization: Sugar crystals form during the cooking process when the liquid the sugar is mixed into is saturated to its fullest point and cannot absorb any additional sugar. The sugar particles then stick to themselves. Whether chocolate fudge has a grainy or smooth texture is determined by controlling the sugar crystallization. If the mixture is stirred while warm, large crystals form, resulting in a grainy texture. If the fudge is stirred when cool, small crystals form, resulting in a smooth texture. Sugar crystallization also occurs when moisture accumulates on the surface of the chocolate and the sugar is drawn up. This condition is called sugar bloom, which is visible as white streaks and dots and grainy texture.
Cupuacu (Also Called Theobroma Grandiflorum): A fruit related to cocoa, native to the Amazon rain forest. A cupuacu pod is roughly the size and shape of a football, with skin like a kiwi. The seeds are buried within the moist pulp of the fruit inside the pods. The seeds are processed like cocoa beans to produce light-colored chocolate with a mellow, mild bittersweet flavor and fruity undertones. Cocoa butter is present in cupuacu as well. Cupuacu is processed into both powder and bars and can be used in the same ways as cocoa powder and chocolate.
Cuvee: A blend of different types of cocoa beans.


Dark chocolate
– Though not all of the following ingredients are necessary for a fine dark chocolate formulation, the chocolate should not contain any ingredients beyond: cocoa liquor, sugar, cocoa (cocoa) butter, lecithin, and vanilla.
Devil’s Food: A chocolate-flavored product that derives most of its flavor from cocoa butter instead of actual chocolate.
Double Boiler: A method to melt chocolate without burning it. The bottom pan, containing water, sits directly on the stove. Another pan sits inside the pan containing water. Chocolate, butter, sauces, etc. can be placed inside the top pan and melted without burning or curdling.
Dutched cocoa– This refers to cocoa powder that has been alkalized to reduce its natural acidity, make it darker in color, more chocolatey in flavor, and easier to mix with liquids.
Dutch Processed: A method of treating cocoa nibs with an alkalizing agent to reduce the chocolate’s natural acidity, mellow its flavor, and darken its color. In the early 19th century, Coenraad Johannes van Houten, a Dutchman, discovered that the acidic taste of cocoa was neutralized when he added alkali-potash to the cocoa nibs before they were roasted. Of note: Alkalizing destroys 60-90% of the antioxidants present in chocolate.


Emulsifier: A substance added to products such as chocolate to ensure consistency by preventing the separation of the individual components. Emulsifiers improve shelf life and impart a smoother taste to the chocolate. Lecithin and mono- and di-glycerides are types of emulsifiers.
Enrobing: The process of enveloping or coating individual chocolates or confections by pouring a thin coat of melted chocolate over them. Chocolates can also be enrobed by hand-dipping them into liquid chocolate. An enrober is a machine that receives lines of assorted centers (such as nuts, fruits, & nougats) and showers them with a waterfall of
liquid chocolate. Other confectionery machines create a hollow chocolate shell, which is then filled with a liquid or soft center before the bottom is sealed with chocolate.


Feuilletine– This is a delicate, crispy French butter flake used in baking, pastry, and confectionery.
Fermentation: An important step of the cacao harvesting process, during which the sweet pulp (mucilage) inside the cacao pods naturally heats up and creates a chemical change in the beans. Naturally occurring yeasts develop within the pod. The yeasts convert the sugars inside the pulp, allowing the pulp to break down and creating natural enzymatic changes within the beans. The proteins are converted to amino acids, which cause the development of chocolate’s characteristic aroma and color.
Fondant Chocolate: French for dark or pure chocolate. Fondant is chocolate with a velvety smooth, fluid texture with no trace of bitterness. Fondant chocolate has become the standard for modern, high-quality chocolate due to its being extremely smooth and palatable.
Forastero: The heartiest, most widespread, and highest-yielding cacao. Forastero cacao, which originated in the Amazon but is now grown largely in Africa, has a strong and bitter flavor and is generally blended with other varieties of beans. It is the mainstay of the world’s cacao bean crop, as up to 90% of the world’s chocolate is either made from or is blended with forastero cacao. Forastero is derived from a Spanish term for ‘foreigner’, as it originated from outside the Central American trading regions.
Frosting: A sugar-based mixture used to coat or fill cakes and pastries. (It is also called icing). It is generally thin enough to spread, but thick enough to stick to the item being coated. Frosting does not always contain chocolate (but of course the best ones do!)
Fudge: A type of confection, usually extremely rich and often chocolate flavored. Fudge is generally made by boiling sugar in milk to the soft-ball stage, and then beating the mixture during the cooling process so it acquires a smooth, creamy consistency.


Ganache– This refers to a blend of chocolate, cream, and butter which forms the center of all truffles. The chocolate and cream ratio varies; more chocolate than cream yields a firm ganache, whereas more cream than chocolate makes a softer, more velvety mixture. Ganache is the most common filling for bonbons and is the only filling for classic truffles. The term was allegedly created when a 19th-century apprentice knocked some cream into a tub of chocolate. His boss called him ‘un ganache’ (an imbecile)!
Gluten- This refers to a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and other grains.
Ganache Beurre: Ganache beurre is made by adding butter to ganache and beating until the mixture is light and fluffy. It is used to fill or frost cakes and other pastries.
Gianduia: A commercially blended mixture of roasted hazelnuts or almonds and chocolate, with a velvety smooth texture and a subtle flavor. It is used to flavor a wide variety of desserts, pastries, and confections, including ice cream. Gianduia was originally created in Turin, Italy, home of the famous Italian hazelnuts.
Gianduja: A silky smooth blend of chocolate, very finely ground hazelnuts, and sugar.
Grinding: Mechanical process of pulverizing roasted cocoa bean nibs into a smooth liquid known as chocolate liquor.
Guayaquil: A variety of trinitario cacao beans that are grown in western Ecuador. Guayaquil beans have a sweet flavor and blend well with other beans.


Ibarra Chocolate: A brand of sweet Mexican chocolate, used primarily for making hot chocolate. This chocolate is in the form of 3-inch round tablets that are packaged in octagon-shaped, cylindrical, bright yellow, and red boxes.
Inclusion: A flavor or food added to chocolate. Peppermint sticks and blueberries are two forms of inclusions.
Interior: The term used for the insides or centers of confections that are usually enrobed with chocolate.


Kosher- This refers to Jewish dietary laws pertaining to the preparation and handling of food products.


Lecithin – A naturally occurring extract (from sunflower or soya) that is often added to chocolate as an emulsifier, decreasing the viscosity of chocolate and therefore helping to control its flow properties by making it thinner and smoother. Lecithin, when added, is generally added during the end of the conching process. It is generally used within mass-market chocolate to allow a reduction in the amount of necessary cocoa butter for a given formulation. Some fine chocolate makers use lecithin while others do not – that is the personal choice of the chocolate maker.
Low Fat Cocoa: Cocoa powder containing less than ten percent cocoa butter.


Magra: A hand tool used by inspectors on cocoa plantations in Africa. It is used to open cacao pods lengthwise so the cacao beans can be classified into various grades by their appearance. The magra has a blade that is suspended in a frame, which drops swiftly to split open the pods.
Malitol: A natural sugar substitute based on a malt extract, which gives the chocolate a sweet taste without containing sugar. Maltitol is a popular sugar substitute in many chocolates couvertures, especially in Belgian chocolate sugar-free products.
Maragnan: Another variety of the forastero cacao beans. Maragnan beans, grown in Brazil, have a strong flavor and are generally blended together with other beans.
Maya: The pre-Colombian people who planted and cultivated the first cacao plantations in the Yucatan region of Mexico about 600 A.D. These plantations made the Mayans wealthy and established them as significant traders.
Melanger: A small machine used to grind cacao beans, usually with a grinding element made of stone instead of stainless steel.
Metate: The concave curved stone slab used by the Aztecs to grind cacao beans into paste. The same method was used in Europe until the late 19th century.
Milk Chocolate: Arguably the best kind of eating chocolate, milk chocolate is made by combining chocolate liqueur, extra cocoa butter, whole milk or cream, and a sweetener such as sugar. It may also contain various flavorings (vanilla, etc.)
Mocha: A delicious flavor made by combining chocolate and coffee. Mocha flavoring is used extensively in drinks, desserts, and confections.
Mole Poblano: A classic Mexican dish composed of turkey in a spicy, savory chocolate sauce.
Molinillo: Also called a molinet, this wooden beating tool was developed by the Spanish in the 16th century. Chocolate pots, created by the French in the 17th century, were designed with a center hole in the lid to hold a molinillo. One end of the molinillo is fat and round with several deep, carved grooves. To use this tool, you twist your hands in a back-and-forth motion to “whisk’ the chocolate drink and make it frothy.
Molding: A technique for making chocolate, which consists of piping or pouring chocolate in molds to obtain a chocolate “shell”. The shell is then filled with fruits, liqueurs, creams, or ganaches before being sealed with another layer of chocolate.
Mucilage: The white pulp surrounding the cacao beans in the pod. The mucilage, contrary to its rather unappealing name, is quite tasty. Many different kinds of drinks, both fermented and non-fermented, are made in Central and South American from mucilage pulp.


Naccional: Also known as the arriba bean, this is a variety of the forastero cacao beans cultivated in Ecuador. Arriba beans produce delicate & flavorful cocoa and are considered to be one of the world’s best beans.
Natural Process: Non-alkalized chocolate liquor, or cocoa that has processed without an alkaline (Dutch process) treatment.
Nibs: The inner kernels or meat of the cacao bean, the basic ingredient from which chocolate is made. These dark, rich pieces remain when the shells detach from the cocao beans after they are winnowed and roasted. Nibs are ground to produce chocolate liquor. Sometimes, nibs are kept intact and are used to add texture to chocolate bars or desserts.
Non-Alkalized Cocoa Powder: Natural process cocoa powder, manufactured without the use of alkali. Non-alkalized powders are usually yellowish-brown in color and have a fruity, acidic flavor.


Organic: A term used to refer to food products that are grown and produced naturally, without the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Organic production is based on a system of farming that maintains and replenishes the fertility of the soil. Organic foods are processed without artificial ingredients and preservatives. Organic chocolate contains a minimum of 95% naturally grown and certified raw materials.


Para: A variety of the forastero cacao bean, cultivated in the Brazilian state of the same name.
Patisfrance: A brand of premium quality chocolate and couverture used by professionals.
Pistoles – Originally this French word referred to gold coins in use in European countries until the late 19th century. Now, in the world of chocolate, pistole refers to the coin shaped pieces of couverture.
Pods: The egg-shaped fruit of the permanently flowering cacao tree. Cacao pods measure between 15 and 30 centimeters (6 to 12 inches) and hang from the largest branches and the trunk of the tree. Each pod contains between 30 and 40 cacao beans.
Polishing: A cosmetic process involving cleaning the fermented and dried beans in preparation for market.
Praline: A paste composed of crushed and finely ground (hazel)nuts, caramelized sugar, vanilla, and richly flavored chocolate.
Press Cake: Product that remains after most of the cocoa butter has been removed from
the chocolate liquor. The press cake is pulverized to make cocoa powder.


Quetzalcoatl: The mythical plumed serpent god worshiped by the Aztecs. Quetzalcoatl supposedly provided his worshippers with cacao, which they considered to be divine. He was supposed to return to earth in the year “one reed” bringing treasures. When Cortes landed in the 16th century, in the year “one-reed,” he was mistakenly thought to be
Quetzalcoatl and warmly welcomed by Montezuma, the Aztec ruler. This ultimately led to the destruction of the Aztec people by the Spanish.


Roasting: The process of heating cocoa beans to develop the characteristic taste and aroma of chocolate. The length of the roasting process and its temperatures vary, though for those familiar with coffee roasting, cocoa roasting times and temperatures can generally be said to be significantly longer and lower. Fine chocolate manufacturers generally do not roast every origin of cocoa beans in the same way, but try to find the combination of time and temperature that best enhances a particular origin’s flavor. The optimal roasting time and temperature depend on the bean size, variety, moisture content, season of the year, and the desired flavor, among other factors.


Seize: A term used when melted chocolate becomes stiff and lumpy. It occurs when too much liquid comes into contact with chocolate when it is heated, or when the chocolate itself is overheated. Semisweet Chocolate: A minimum of 35% chocolate liquor with extra sweetening and cocoa butter added. Semisweet chocolate is usually sold in pieces or chips but is also available in bar form. Also called bittersweet chocolate.
Sheen: The shine or gloss on couverture and eating chocolate. High-quality chocolate usually has a bright sheen, whereas a chalk-like appearance may either be an indication of poor quality or that the chocolate has been exposed to extreme temperatures. Temperature changes cause the cocoa butter to separate and rise to the surface, causing “bloom”. Bloom does not affect the taste, only the appearance.
Snap: A technical term describing one of the characteristics of well-tempered chocolate. Chocolate should break cleanly and crisply, with a sharp snap, and should not be crumbly or soft.
Stone Grinding: After winnowing, cacao nibs are slowly ground down into smaller and smaller particles. The stone grinding machine, or “melangeur’, is a hallmark of the artisan French chocolate-making process. It is no longer found in larger factories.
Sugar Bloom: See “Bloom”.
Sweet Chocolate: A chocolate similar to semisweet, only containing more sweeteners and a minimum amount of chocolate liquor (15%). Sweet chocolate is used mostly for decorating and garnishing.


Temper– Refers to the visible appearance of chocolate, which varies by cooking method; “tempered” chocolate will have a high-gloss sheen and clean snap when broken.
Tempering – Tempering is a process in which the temperature of the chocolate is manipulated to allow for a controlled crystallization of the cocoa butter to occur, thus allowing the cooled chocolate to have a good “snap,” glossy sheen, and proper mouthfeel. In addition to book knowledge, fine chocolatiers must develop a highly refined understanding
of the tempering process through experience, because only this experience ensures that each chocolate product is perfectly tempered, even when automatic or semi-automatic tempering equipment is used.
Terroir – The French term terroir has been used in the wine industry for ages and is also relevant when speaking of cocoa. It refers to the various ways a particular place can have an impact on a given population of cocoa, such as the effect of general and micro-climates in the area, soil composition, and even the unique microbiology of the growing area and fermentary.
Theobroma: The botanical description for cacao. The name comes from the ancient Greek words “god” (Theo) and “food” (broma), or “food of the gods”. Tree to Bar: The term used to describe the very small band of chocolatiers who grow cacao in addition to making chocolate from the bean.
Trembleuse: A special cup created in the early eighteenth century to prevent chocolate beverages from spilling. At that time, chocolate was so expensive that only the privileged could indulge. The trebleuse is placed in a holder in the center of a saucer that keeps it erect and steady.
Trichocolate Terrine: A cold, molded dessert with three layers, each flavored separately with dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate. It can be made of a creamy velvety mousse, ice cream, or custard, and is generally molded in a loaf pan. When unmolded and sliced across the width, the three distinct chocolate layers are displayed.
Trinitario: A fine hybrid of forastero and criollo cacao beans. Criollo, forastero, and trinitario are the main three types of beans used to make chocolate. Trinitario beans are hardier than forastero beans and have a more delicate flavor than criollo beans. The particular flavor characteristics are determined by the soil where the beans are grown.
Originally developed in Trinidad, trinitario beans are also grown in the West Indies.
Truffle: An often round or oval-shaped candy made of a rich blend of butter, cream, chocolate, sugar, and flavoring, shaped into balls and often enrobed with chocolate or dusted with cocoa powder. Different truffle textures and variations are created by rolling the center ganache in anything from chocolate sprinkles to powdered sugar and finely
chopped nuts or adding fruits, nuts, creams, or liqueurs to the mix. Truffles were originally named after the exotic French mushroom because of their visual resemblance.


Unsweetened Chocolate: Cocoa mass that usually contains 50-58% cocoa butter, 42-50% cocoa solids, and no sugar. It may contain vanilla and an emulsifier (such as lecithin).


Varietal: Describes the type of bean (such as criollo, forester, or trinitario) used in the chocolate. Varietal chocolates are those made from a single type of cacao bean.
Viscosity: A measure of the flow and thickness of melted chocolate, which determines its ability to enrobe (coat) confections. Melted chocolate has varying degrees of viscosity depending on the type (white, milk, dark) and whether or not it is couverture, which contains a higher percentage of cocoa butter than regular chocolate.
Vegan- This is 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: A confection containing sugar, vanilla, milk, & cocoa butter. It must
contain at least 32% cocoa butter to be considered good quality. White chocolate does not
contain chocolate liquor, and therefore some do not consider it real chocolate. It is often
used as a coating and is the most fragile form of chocolate.
Winnowing: The process of breaking, shaking, and blowing roasted cacao beans to remove the outer shells (or “husks”). The small pieces of roasted beans are called “nibs”, which are ground to make chocolate.


Xocoatl: The original name the Aztecs, Incans, and Mayans gave to a drink they brewed from cacao beans. “Chocolate” is derived from this word.