Cocoa and Chocolate Products

Cocoa and Chocolate Products

Cocoa and chocolate products include both semi-finished goods as well as end-consumer products. Semi-finished goods include, for example, cocoa masses, cocoa powder, and chocolate flavour coating. These are products which are of course also used in the household, but in terms of sheer volume their use in industrial manufacturing is far more significant.

Chocolate and chocolate products are processed goods. Depending on their respective formulation (recipe), they are made of cocoa beans, cocoa butter, cocoa mass, cocoa powder, and sucrose (table sugar). The only exception is white chocolate which lacks the darkening tone of the missing cocoa powder. 

Chocolate products include dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, pralines and filled chocolates, hollow chocolate figures such as Father Christmases and Easter rabbits, chocolate bars, and many other goods.

Depending on the individual product declaration – for example milk chocolate, fine dark chocolate, dark chocolate – chocolate and chocolate products have various minimum requirements regarding their respective cocoa content. Milk, milk products, nuts and other ingredients may also be added.

Information on the product group Chocolate at the BDSI is available by clicking here.

Who invented chocolate?

It is considered certain that cocoa was already known to the Native Americans of South America, both as a staple food and luxury food, a millennium before Europeans discovered America. Regarded as a gift from “Quetzalcoatl” – the feathered god of the wind – cocoa beans were highly valued by the Toltecs. In the 12th century, the Toltecs were overthrown by the Aztecs, who gladly adopted the Toltec cocoa culture and even used the seeds of the cocoa pod as a means of payment.

Since Columbus, who landed in central America in 1502, had shown little interest in cocoa, it was left to Hernando Cortez to return to Europe with the first cocoa after his conquest of the Aztec Empire.

However, the unsweetened cocoa preparations so loved by the Aztecs did not exactly please the palate of the Europeans since their taste was very accurately described by its Aztec name “xocoatl” – a combination of the words “xococ” (meaning sour, bitter, spicy) and “atl” (meaning water). Not until honey or cane sugar was added did cocoa products begin their triumphant progress throughout the world. And so, over the course of time, Aztec xocoatl developed into what we today call chocolate.

What is the best way to store chocolate?

In a cool, dry, dark, and odourless environment: this simple formula best describes how to store chocolate properly.

For chocolate to retain its tastiness for long periods of time, it should not be exposed to any severe temperature fluctuations. A storage temperature of 12 to 18°C is the optimum ambient temperature for chocolate. Under no circumstances should chocolate be stored in the fridge or freezer, for then it begins to crumble and loses its glossy finish. Nor does chocolate like moisture, which may cause white streaks (so-called fat bloom) on the surface of the chocolate. Although this does not affect the taste, it does not exactly look nice.

White chocolate in particular is odour-sensitive. Hence chocolate should never be stored close to strong-smelling foods. Otherwise chocolate might pick up the smell of cheese, sausage, or fish.

If chocolate is exposed to air and light, this causes a so-called oxidation of its fats. This causes a strong change in taste and an unpleasant smell. To avoid oxidation, chocolate should be stored in a dark place and in an airtight container.

Is white chocolate made without cocoa?

No, chocolate cannot be made without at least some cocoa. However, white chocolate is made of only cocoa butter and not the cocoa powder. To give chocolate its eponymous “white” colour, the dark cocoa powder is extracted from the cocoa mass. Milk and sugar make up the other ingredients of white chocolate.

Where did the praline get its name from?

The Count of Plessis-Praslin, a Marshal of France serving under Louis XIV in the 17th century, had a German cook who served his master caramelised almonds. The cook simply named them after his employer, turning Praslin into praliné. The name was later passed on to chocolate products in the course of the 19th century

Is it true that left over Father Christmases are melted down to make Easter Bunnies at the start of January?

No – Father Christmases are not melted down to make Easter Bunnies. No matter how many tall stories are repeated by “inventive” tellers of tales. Producers of Father Christmases and Easter Bunnies always manufacture their seasonal articles from freshly made chocolate mass. Anything else would simply not meet the quality standards.

Who is more popular – the Easter Bunny or Father Christmas?

The Easter Bunny has now overtaken Father Christmas in the popularity stakes. The latest figures for all hollow chocolate figures show that 220 million chocolate bunnies were produced by the confectionery industry in 2019 and 145 million chocolate Santa Clauses in 2018.