Types of Chocolate: 4 Most Popular
For most of us, chocolate is that delectable food we turn to for an extra dose of energy, soothing comfort after a stressful day, or a mood-boosting snack. Chocolate has the wonderful quality of making a tough day just seem that much better with its rich sweetness and pleasing flavor. Whether you consider yourself a chocolate connoisseur or find yourself reaching for the same treat again and again, you know there are many types of chocolate that come in any variation of flavors, shapes, and sizes.
You can eat it by itself, baked into cookies and cakes, or enjoy it in your favorite candy bar or truffles. Our curiosity was piqued, so we decided to do some research on the subject. We surveyed the various chocolate options available and narrowed the list down to the 4 most popular types of chocolate favored by chocolate lovers everywhere. Trust us, you will not want to miss this.
Types of Chocolate FAQ
What Are the Different Types of Chocolate?
There are so many types of chocolate available that the choices are almost boundless. Most chocolates can be divided into several general categories. These are dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, and unsweetened chocolate. You can eat chocolate by itself in bar form, in truffles, cakes, cookies, pies, and a plethora of other sweet treats.
Unsweetened chocolate is perfect for baking, but you can make a mean crème brûlée or enhance your homemade blondies with white chocolate too. A dream to snack on, dark chocolate and milk chocolate are also easily woven into many delicious baking recipes.
However, there are other types of chocolate available, with some better eaten on their own and others best incorporated into baking recipes. Baking chocolate is an unsweetened chocolate in the form of straight chocolate liquor. Bittersweet chocolate is the darkest variety available, sometimes known as cacao.
You might be familiar with cocoa butter, a naturally occurring fat in cocoa beans that melts like a dream. Cocoa powder is a fan favorite for homemade chocolate cake and hot chocolate while cocoa nibs are derived from the middle of the cocoa bean.
Other types of chocolate include organic chocolate, grown free of chemicals, and raw chocolate, derived from unprocessed beans. When cocoa nibs are combined with an alkaline mixture to reduce their acidic components, this forms a milder kind of chocolate known as Dutch chocolate.
What Do Different Types of Chocolate Taste Like?
The taste of the different types of chocolate is the easiest way to differentiate each variety. For instance, dark chocolate can take on a more bitter taste, as it contains minimal ingredients and less milk fat than other varieties.
Milk chocolate is creamy and sweet, packed with milk solids and typically a higher sugar content than the dark kind. Unsweetened chocolate or baking chocolate is bitter, and as its name suggests, free of sugar. White chocolate is packed with cocoa butter, making it even creamier and sweeter than milk chocolate.
Types of chocolate like straight cocoa nibs, raw chocolate, and cocoa beans will always be far more bitter than processed chocolate masses, cocoa butter, or even organic chocolate. The more milk solids in your chocolate, the creamier and sweeter the taste will be.
How Do Ingredients Differ between Each Type of Chocolate?
The more processed certain types of chocolate are, the more ingredients they will typically contain. For instance, unsweetened chocolate is straight chocolate liquor while milk chocolate products can feature chocolate liquor, milk solids, sugar, emulsifiers, and a host of other ingredients.
Where Can You Buy Them?
You can buy the most popular types of chocolate from your local grocery store, candy store, or online as you prefer. For your shopping ease, each of the types of chocolate we selected includes Amazon links so you can select the kind you like best.
How We Reviewed
We reviewed each of the following types of chocolate based on their flavor, pros, cons, price, ease of purchase, and ingredients. While many of us have quite the sweet tooth, there are plenty of consumers that prefer a milder flavor profile when enjoying their chocolate.
To make sure there was something for everyone on this list, we chose different types of chocolate with varying levels of sweetness and ingredients so you can select what works best for you. We also wanted to select types of chocolate you can eat on their own or enjoy as part of your favorite candy or dessert. The choice is yours.
Overall Price Range of the 4 Most Popular Types of Chocolate
Each of the types of chocolate we reviewed can be purchased in a variety of forms, either to be eaten on their own or as part of a popular candy product. The overall price range of the chocolate we chose is around $4.00 to $12.00.
The quantity of chocolate you buy and the kind of chocolate you select will make a difference in price. For instance, if you buy a multi-pack of assorted chocolates, that will usually come at a higher price point than if you were to just purchase a bar or two of regular chocolate.
What We Reviewed
Our first choice as one of the most popular types of chocolate is dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is further subdivided into two separate kinds of chocolate, known as bittersweet and semisweet chocolate.
To be considered the dark variety, the chocolate must contain no less than 35% chocolate liquor. Semisweet has more sugar than bittersweet chocolate does, but other than that the two are very similar. Some types of chocolate of the dark variety are very bitter, composed of as much as 80% cocoa mass.
Other dark chocolates have a combination flavor with a hint of bitterness and pleasing sweetness. These selections usually contain anywhere from 65% to 70% cocoa mass. So, if you prefer a sweeter taste, choose dark chocolate with a lower ratio of cocoa mass.
Certain types of chocolate that fall into the dark category are very subtle and silky smooth while others have a delightful fruity flavor. The way the original cocoa beans are sourced and processed has the greatest effect on the ultimate flavor of the dark chocolate, even more so than the amount of cocoa mass it contains.
Dark chocolate ingredients include chocolate liquor, sugar, cocoa butter, an emulsifier like soy lecithin, vanilla, and additional flavors based on the manufacturer. Some dark chocolates contain milk fat while others are dairy free.
Milk chocolate is an altogether different story from dark chocolate. This selection from the 4 most popular types of chocolate is infinitely sweeter and creamier, making it all too easy to overindulge. To be considered milk chocolate, the chocolate must contain no less than 12% milk and at least 10% chocolate liquor.
When looking at any milk chocolate ingredient label, milk and chocolate liquor are also known as cocoa butter and cocoa solids, respectively. The more premium varieties of milk chocolate may contain as high a quantity of cocoa as 30% to 40%.
Besides milk and cocoa, milk chocolate is rich with sugar content. Milk chocolate often incorporates vanilla for extra sweetness along with an emulsifier like soy lecithin. Milk chocolate is not only delightfully sweet but is much softer and has a lower melting point that dark chocolate.
This added sweetness and melting capability are due to its higher dairy content, making it sugary instead of bitter. Milk chocolate can be enjoyed by itself, in your favorite candies, or baked into cookies for a yummy treat. Be careful, though, because it is easy to overload on milk chocolate due to its intoxicating flavor.
Milk chocolate ingredients include chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, sugar, an emulsifier like soy lecithin, vanilla, flavorings, and dry milk solids.
White chocolate is one of the most unique types of chocolate, partly because it is free from the cocoa solids that usually comprise chocolate. White chocolate is made primarily from sugar and cocoa butter. To be considered white, the chocolate needs to have a minimum of 20% cocoa butter and 14% milk solids, cream, or milk in it. Many white chocolate products also contain vanilla.
White chocolate is just as sweet as milk chocolate if not sweeter because it does not contain cocoa solids. It is also very creamy, melts well, and can be used for baking. The biggest difference in flavor between white chocolate and other types of chocolate is that it is free of any bitter or fruity elements.
White chocolate has more of a floral flavor palate, with a pale yellow or ivory appearance from the pure quantities of cocoa butter it contains. It still has a pleasantly mild flavor, sacrificing none of the creamy texture you hope to find in your chocolate. You can eat it on its own, but it really works well when woven into a cake or cookie recipe or enjoyed in truffles.
White chocolate is primarily cocoa butter, featuring other key ingredients like milk solids, vanilla, lecithin, and sugar. Some white chocolate products have added flavorings too.
Our last choice as one of the 4 most popular types of chocolate is unsweetened chocolate. Before going any further, it is worth mentioning that you should not expect to reach for unsweetened chocolate as a comforting treat after a long day at the office.
Consisting of straight chocolate liquor, unsweetened chocolate is meant to be used for baking and cooking alone. It is incredibly bitter, far more than some of the darkest of dark chocolate varieties. However, it bakes well and pairs perfectly with recipes that require tons of sugar like brownies, fudge, or puddings.
Unsweetened chocolate is truly chocolate in its most unadorned form, usually made from only cocoa butter and cocoa solids. You can usually purchase several bars of unsweetened chocolate at a time, making it an easy and economical choice to meet your baking needs.
Baking chocolate is straight chocolate liquor derived from ground, pure cocoa nibs. Certain manufacturers may weave more cocoa butter into their products, but chocolate liquor is the main ingredient for baking chocolate in its purest form.
Ready to try one of the 4 most popular types of chocolate? If you want to stay budget conscious and diet friendly and do not mind the somewhat bitter elements in dark chocolate, stick with semisweet and bittersweet chocolate to get your sugar fix. Certain kinds of dark chocolate are rich with antioxidants, so a little every day can give you an extra boost of energy and immunity at the same time.
If you have a sweet tooth and do not mind spending a little more, there are plenty of milk or white chocolate products on the market to suit your needs. Finally, if you are a baking enthusiast and do not feel like snacking on chocolate by itself, unsweetened chocolate is the perfect solution for you. It is economical and easy to weave into many dreamy chocolate recipes.