In the early 19th century the Dutchman Coenraad Johannes van Houten discovered that the acid taste of cocoa was neutralized if he added alkali-potash to the nibs before they were roasted. Ever since the end of the 19th century all industrial chocolate makers have practiced this alkalization process to modify the flavor and the color of the final product. Another technical term for alkalization still used today is the ‘Dutch process’ or ‘Dutching’.

An antioxidant is a chemical that reduces the rate of particular oxidation reactions in a specific context, where oxidation reactions are chemical reactions that involve the transfer of electrons from a substance to an oxidising agent. Antioxidants are particularly important in the context of organic chemistry and biology: all living cells contain complex systems of antioxidant chemicals and/or enzymes to prevent chemical damage to the cells' components by oxidation. A diet containing polyphenol antioxidants from plants is required for the health of most mammals, since plants are an important source of organic antioxidant chemicals. Antioxidants are widely used as ingredients in dietary supplements that are used for health purposes such as preventing cancer and heart disease.

Bittersweet chocolate, not to be confused with unsweetened or semisweet chocolate, is primarily used for baking. A slightly sweetened dark chocolate, it has many uses such as making shiny chocolate curls as garnishes or rich, dense chocolate cakes. Both it and semisweet chocolate are required by the U.S. FDA to contain at least 35% chocolate liquor.

Brut (Bitter) In the U.S. the FDA describes this as chocolate that does not contain any sugar, though it may contain natural or artificial flavoring. This pure chocolate is intended for cooking as only real fanatics will enjoy this very bitter chocolate substance with a solid cocoa content in excess of 85%.

Bon Bon
A hard shell of chocolate filled with a variety of centers, called praline in Belgian. The full French term is bonbon de chocolat (or chocolats fourrés assortis for assorted filled chocolates). In France, a praline is a caramelized almond. To add to the confusion, the word truffle, which refers to balls of ganache rolled in cocoa powder or other coatings, is used by some to describe hard shells filled with ganache. Unfortunately, there is no governing body to standardize terminology; so consumers need to read the fine print to understand what they are buying.

Cacao (Kah KOW))
The name of both the tree native to Amazon forests (Theobroma cacao L.) and the unprocessed seeds (beans) from which chocolate is made. Americans refer to the bean as cocoa. The word cacao comes from the Olmec, a highly cultured civilization that preceded the Maya in the southern Gulf of Mexico area from 1500 and 500 B.C. Cacao is divided by quality into flavor or fine or special or sweet cacao, and bulk cacao.plant.

Cacao Mothers
Tall trees grown on plantations next to cacao trees to shade them from the sun. These trees are banana, rubber, or coconut palms depending on the location of the plantation.

Cacao Walks
Large groves or orchards of cacao trees.

Solid milk or dark chocolate pieces, which are sometimes topped with raisins, almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts.

A white sparkling wine associated with celebration and regarded as a symbol of luxury, typically that made in the Champagne

This word may be used to describe several different functions. A person who makes chocolates by hand in small batches is called a Chocolatier. A Chocolatier may be employed to evaluate beans and/or supervise the blending and roasting. In large companies, there may be as many as twenty. Chocolatiers will generally adjust blends, roasting times and other factors to create a final product that is consistent with prior products.

Describes a number of raw and processed foods that originate from the tropical cacao tree. It is a common ingredient in many kinds of sweets, chocolate candy, ice creams, cookies, cakes, pies, and desserts. It is one of the most popular flavors in the world. Chocolate is made from the fermented, roasted, and ground beans taken from the pod of the tropical cacao tree, Theobroma cacao, which was native to Central America and Mexico, discovered by ancient Mayas and Aztecs, but is now cultivated throughout the tropics. The beans have an intensely flavored bitter taste. The resulting products are known as "chocolate" or, in some parts of the world, cocoa.

Chocolate Liquor

Chocolate liquor is made up of the finely ground nib of the cocoa bean. This is technically not yet chocolate. This type of chocolate is also known as unsweetened chocolate and is also referred to cocoa mass or cocoa liquor.

Chocolate Lover
One who appreciates the unique qualities of a truly fine piece of chocolate and feels that life would not be the same without gourmet chocolate.

Cocoa Beans
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.

Cocoa Butter
Cocoa butter is a complex, hard fat made up mostly of triglycerides, it remains firm at room temperature, then it contracts as it cools and solidifies. It is ideal for molding.

Cocoa Dance
After the beans are spread to dry, in some cacao-growing regions of Latin America women perform a ritual dance, shuffling through the beans to continually turn them. This helps the beans dry evenly. The cocoa dance is performed twice a year, after each harvest.

Cocoa Mass
Same as Chocolate Liquor.

Cocoa Pods
Between the blossoms of the permanently flowering cocoa tree we can see fruit at various stages of development. The egg-shaped cocoa pods measure between 15 and 30 centimeters (between 6 and 12 inches) and hang from the trunk and the largest branches. Each fruit contains between 30 and 40 beans of about 1 cm (about 0.5 inch) in length.

Cocoa Powder
The result of extracting cocoa butter from cocoa paste. Cocoa powder is used to prepare chocolate drinks or to sprinkle truffles and chocolate tarts.

Compound Coatings
In chocolate flavored coatings and compounds, part of the cocoa butter may be replaced by vegetable fat. Also a whole range of whey powders, whey derivatives and dairy blends are permitted where milk powder is prescribed in milk chocolate. However, there is hardly any difference between the production processes of ‘genuine’ chocolate on the one hand and ‘chocolate flavored’ coatings and compounds on the other. Some ingredients not used in chocolate may require adjustments of the production processes. For chocolate flavored products containing sorbitol or xylitol the mixing, refining and conching temperature settings need to be adjusted.

The processing step called ‘conching’ reduces the moistness of the cocoa mass and removes the volatile acids. At the same time, this step allows for specific aromas and smoothness to be associated with chocolate. Conching is the process where the chocolate is "plowed" back and forth through the liquid chocolate which smoothes the chocolate and rounds out the flavor, essential for the flavor, the texture and the overall quality of the chocolate.

Couverture is a term used to describe professional-quality coating chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa butter, at least 32%, and as high as 39% for good quality couverture. The extra cocoa butter allows the chocolate to form a thinner coating shell than non-couverture chocolate.

Criollo Beans
These are the ones that started it all. Europeans first stumbled across them in 1502 when Christopher Columbus came in contact with them. Grown in South America, these beans are known for producing the finest in chocolates. They grow in South America’s milder climates and require very rich soil. The beans themselves are considered the best for making chocolates because they are highly aromatic and have low acid levels, which helps create fine chocolate end products.

After roasting, the beans are crushed into small particles. It is at this stage that blending occurs (except for single origin chocolate): the chocolatier blends cacao of different varieties and origins to make the house recipes.

A blend of different types of cacao beans.

Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate must contain a minimum of 43% cocoa to be called "dark" according to European norms. A "70% cocoa chocolate" is considered quite dark while 85% and even 88% cocoa dark chocolates have become quite popular for dark chocolate lovers.

Dutch Process Cocoa
Cocoa powder which has been treated with alkali to neutralize the natural acids; darker in color and slightly different in flavor from natural cocoa.

In the early 19th century the Dutchman Coenraad Johannes van Houten discovered that the acid taste of cocoa was neutralized if he added alkali-potash to the nibs before they were roasted. Ever since the end of the 19th century all industrial chocolate makers have practiced this alkalization process to modify the flavor and the color of the final product. Another technical term for alkalization still used today is the ‘Dutch process’ or ‘Dutching’.

One of two chocolates-making techniques by taking the center of a certain chocolate or praline and covering it with a layer of outer chocolate by pouring liquid chocolate over it or by dipping the chocolate center by hand in liquid chocolate. (Contrasts with "molded" chocolates)

It is during fermentation that the cacao beans start developing their flavors. Fermentation is a natural, post-harvest process that converts the sugars in raw cacao beans to alcohol, kills the germ, and develops the necessary elements that modify the composition of the beans so they will yield the characteristic flavor and aroma of chocolate during roasting. Depending on the country, fermentation takes place in baskets, wooden boxes or cylinders stored away from light. The beans need to be turned to ensure an even fermentation. Depending on the varietal, the fermentation process lasts from 3 days 7 days.

Fève Or Fève De Cacao
The French words for cocoa bean.

Flavonoids are naturally-occurring compounds found in plant-based foods recognized as exuding certain health benefits. Flavonoids are found in a wide array of foods and beverages, such as cranberries, apples, peanuts, chocolate, onions, tea and red wine. There are more than 4,000 flavonoid compounds; flavonoids are a subgroup of a large class called polyphenols.

Fondant is the French word for dark or "Pure" chocolate. (Contrasts with milk chocolate or "Lait")

Forasteros Bean
They come from the Amazon region of South America. These beans are thought to account for about 80 percent of the world’s cacao production. Not considered as fine as the Criollo, these beans produce a weak aroma and have a bitter taste although they can be processed to create fine products.

A Ganache is a rich, silky chocolate mixture made by combining chopped semisweet chocolate and boiling cream and stirring until smooth. (Sometimes butter can also be added) The proportions of chocolate to cream vary, depending on the use of the ganache and can be flavored with fruits spices and different liquors. The result is a harmonious balance between the smoothness of the flavor and the intensity of the chocolate.

Gianduja is a delicious mixture of emulsified hazelnuts and cocoa mass, cocoa butter and sugar. Originally this was an Italian specialty.

Cacao is harvested throughout the year; but the main growing seasons are November-January and May-July.

A natural product extracted from the soy bean that is used as a thinner in chocolate. During the manufacturing of chocolate, lecithin controls flow properties through the reduction of viscocity.

A strong, sweet flavored alcoholic liquor, usually drunk after a meal.
ORIGIN mid 18th cent.: from French, ‘liquor.’

1 alcoholic drink, esp. distilled spirits.
2 a liquid produced or used in a process of some kind, in particular
• water used in brewing.
• liquid in which something has been steeped or cooked.
• liquid that drains from food during cooking.
• the liquid from which a substance has been crystallized or extracted.

Low Fat Cocoa
Cocoa powder containing less than ten percent cocoa butter.

Maltitol is a natural sugar-substitute based on a Malt-extract, which allows chocolate to keep a sweet taste without containing sugar. Maltitol has become a popular sugar substitute in many chocolate couvertures, especially Belgian chocolate sugar-free products.

Marzipan is a thick paste achieved by skillfully mixing melted sugar with finely chopped ground almonds. The outer shell of a marzipan is an envelope of milk, white or dark chocolate. The Lubecker method (known to be the world's best Marzipan) means that only pure almond and sugar are used, thereby delivering the fullest almond taste.

Medium Fat Cocoa
Cocoa powder containing between ten and twenty-two percent cocoa butter.

Milk Chocolate
The best known kind of eating chocolate. Milk chocolate is made by combining the chocolate liquid, extra cocoa butter, milk or cream, sweetening, and flavorings.

The flavor combination of chocolate and coffee.

A wooden spindle for frothing chocolate drinks. While it may seem like an Aztec invention, this wooden frother was developed by the Spanish in the sixteenth century: the top twists between the hands in a back-and-forth motion to beat the chocolate drink and make it frothy. The Aztecs generated froth by pouring the drink from one vessel into another.

A spicy, unsweetened chocolate sauce. The classic Mexican dish mole poblano, composed of turkey in mole sauce, is said to have been invented by nuns in the convent of Puebla, outside of Mexico City.

Wooden stick with rings attached to bottom; used to whip chocolate drink to create cap of foam on top.

Another technique for making chocolate consists of placing chocolate in molds to obtain a molded chocolate "shell" that is then filled with one or several unique fillings before being seals with another layer of chocolate. The typical Belgian Praline is produced by pouring a hazelnut praline filling in molded shapes.

The texture and other sensations of the chocolate in the mouth. In general, a good chocolate will be smooth and dissolve into liquid in the mouth. A less good chocolate will be grainy, gritty, or waxy (the latter may indicate that cheaper vegetable fat has been substituted for the cocoa butter).

The kernels of coca beans are usually called ‘nibs’ and are the basic ingredient of which chocolate is made, sometimes, the original dark and rich nibs are used to add texture to chocolate bars or chocolate deserts.

Nougatine is achieved by heating sugar until it caramelizes and mixing finely crushed roasted hazelnuts or almonds . Once this paste is achieved, it is put on a caramel roller and crushed into little pieces. Nougatine pieces are used as filling in certain chocolates and chocolate bars.

The word ‘organic’ refers to how these food products are produced. Organic production is based on a system of farming that maintains and replenishes the fertility of the soil. Organic foods are produced without the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. They are processed without artificial ingredients, preservatives or irradiation. Organic chocolate contains a minimum of 95% naturally grown and certified raw materials.

Pâte de Fruits
Pates de fruits are composed of sugar pulps and apple pectin. The fruit percentage is more than 50% of the total component.

Phenyethylamine (PEA)
This is a chemical found in chocolate, which is reported by some scientists to be a mood elevator and antidepressant. No conclusive evidence has been found to prove this.

Between the blossoms of the permanently flowering cocoa tree we can see fruit (pods) at various stages of development. The egg-shaped cocoa pods measure between 15 and 30 centimeters (between 6 and 12 inches) and hang from the trunk and the largest branches. Each fruit contains between 30 and 40 beans of about 1 cm (about 0.5 inch) in length.

A group of chemical substances found in plants, characterized by the presence of more than one phenol group per molecule. The polyphenols are responsible for the coloring of some plants—for example, the color of leaves in the autumn. Research indicates that a class of polyphenols has antioxidant characteristics with potential health benefits. These polyphenol antioxidants may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Sources of polyphenols include peanuts, green tea, white tea, red wine, olive oil, dark chocolate, and pomegranates, and other fruits and vegetables. Chocolate or Dark Chocolate that has been processed with alkali will not contain any polyphenols or antioxidants

Praliné is composed of richly flavored chocolate to which caramelized sugar (hot caramel), well-roasted, finely-ground hazelnuts (or almonds) and vanilla have been added. The praliné flavor is typical in many Belgian chocolates or "pralines."

Quetzalcoatl Tlalhuizcalpanticutli
Toltec god with long name and big heart. Gave man/womankind gift of chocolate.

Raw Cacao
The harvested, fermented and dried cacao beans, hand-sorted, graded, packed into jute bags and ready for processing. The bags weigh about 139 pounds (62.54 kg).

Another word for the cacao bean; also called grain.

Semillas de Cacao
Mexican for Cacao beans. (Also means seeds.)

Semisweet and Sweet Chocolate
Prepared by blending chocolate liquid with varying amounts of sweetening and added cocoa butter. Flavorings may be included. After processing, the chocolate is cooled. Sweet chocolate is usually molded into bars. Semisweet chocolate is also available in bar form, but most popularly as pieces. This is the generic term. Different manufacturers use different names such as blocs, squares, bits, etc. Chocolate is also granulated and known as "shot," used for decoration by candy makers and confectioners.

Single Origin Or Monorigin Cacao
Beans grown in one particular area or region. Also called origin cacao. The chocolate made from these beans is called single origin chocolate or grand cru chocolate.

Strong distilled liquor such as brandy, whiskey, gin, or rum.

The clear, crisp sound made from breaking a piece of chocolate from a bar. A good, clean snap is indicative of high cacao content and well-tempered chocolate. Milk chocolate which has lower levels of cocoa solids, and white chocolate which has no cocoa solids and is softer, don’t have the same clean snap (the higher the cacao content, the harder the chocolate). The opposite of snap is crumbly.

Chocolate is very sensitive to temperature and humidity. Ideal storage temperatures are between 15 and 17 degrees Celsius (59 to 63 degrees Fahrenheit), with a relative humidity of less than 50%. Chocolate should be stored away from other foods as it can absorb different aromas. Ideally, chocolates are packed or wrapped and then placed in proper storage areas with the correct humidity and temperatures.

Tablette Or Chocolat En Tablette
The French word for chocolate bar.

A chemical found in chocolate which stimulates heart muscle and the nervous system.

Mythological Rain God who nourished cacao trees with water.

Tempering is the process of bringing the chocolate to a certain temperature whereby the cocoa butter reaches its most stable crystal form. There are several forms in which the butter can crystallize, only one of which ensures the hardness, shrinking force and gloss of the finished product after it has cooled. If the chocolate is melted in the normal way (between 40 and 45°C) and then left to cool to working temperature, the finished product will not be gloss. Proper tempering, followed by proper cooling produces a nice shine and good eating properties.

The botanical description for cocoa. The name "Theobroma," comes from the ancient Greek words for "god" (Theo) and "food" (Broma).

Less common for chocolate making than the Forasteros and not as fine in quality as the Criollo, the Trinitario is considered a hybrid bean from the cacao tree. This bean combines the taste of the Criollo with the higher yields of the Forasteros and is grown in South America, various Caribbean islands and a few other locals.

A confection made of chocolate (ganache), butter, sugar, and sometimes liqueur shaped into balls and often coated with cocoa. Truffles are made by heating a rich blend of butter, cream, chocolate, and often a flavoring, delicately shaping it, and enrobing it with chocolate couverture.(milk, dark or white) Different truffle textures can be created by rolling the center ganache in cocoa powder, powdered sugar, or finely chopped nuts. Truffles, originally named after the exotic French mushroom because of its visual resemblance, are either hand-rolled chocolate or domed with a piped center.

Unsweetened Chocolate
Solid chocolate made from 100% chocolate liquor, with no sugar or emulsifiers added. Top quality 100% cacao bars are excellent for eating if one likes intense cacao flavor. Note: some people in the trade refer to chocolate liquor as unsweetened chocolate.

The flavor extract derived from the vanilla bean, the pod of a tropical orchid. The pods are harvested green and cured, turning brown when heated in ovens. Each pod contains numerous seeds. Vanilla extract is made by chopping or macerating beans, then mixing them with ethyl alcohol and water, aging the solution, and filtering out the solids. Pure vanilla extract must be 35% alcohol by volume. Vanilla is native to southern Mexico, although the majority of today’s supply comes from Madagascar (known as bourbon vanilla); secondarily from Tahiti (the finest and rarest); Mexico is the third largest source. Almost all fine chocolate is enhanced with vanilla. Just as with cacao beans, vanilla from different parts of the world has different flavor complexities, and specific vanillas are paired with specific chocolates to achieve different results. The Madagascar bean (Bourbon bean) is very thin and very rich in sweetness. It has a thick oily skin that covers many small seeds that provide a strong vanilla aroma. The Mexican bean is not as thin and not quite as sweet as the Madagascar bean. The bean has a somewhat earthy aroma and is more mellow in flavor than the bourbon bean. The Tahiti bean is plumper in size, darker in color, and the least sweet of the beans. Its thin-skinned pod covers fewer seeds than the other varieties and they have a slightly fruity aroma. While the orchid family is the second largest family of flowering plants with approximately 20,000 species, the Vanilla genus is the only group that produces anything edible.

White Chocolate
White chocolate is not considered real chocolate, because although it has cocoa butter (at least 32% to be considered of good quality), it does not have chocolate liquor. White chocolate is made from cocoa butter, milk, sugar and vanilla.

Mythological goddess of Love who adorned the cacao trees with flowers.

Pronounced cho-kwa-tel, the Aztec word for chocolate. It means bitter water. The original chocolate beverage was an unsweetened drink mixed with maize and flavored with pepper and other savory spices. The word used by the Mayas and Olmecs was cacahuatl.