The 99%

People think of chocolate in many ways. For some its candy and for others it’s a health food. Often many craft chocolate bars are made up of only two or three ingredients — Cacao, Cane Sugar and either Cocoa Butter or an inclusion like Almonds. Gaining more popularity these days are 100% bars that actually taste great. This is decidedly based on the quality of the beans, and how they are fermented and roasted.

On the other hand, a Snickers Bar Ingredients are: Milk Chocolate (SUGAR, Cocoa Butter, Chocolate, Skim Milk, Lactose, Milkfat, Soy Lecithin), Peanuts, Corn Syrup, Sugar, Palm Oil, Skim Milk, Lactose, Salt, Egg Whites and Artificial Flavor.

In speaking with clients, I often find that they don’t understand what the percentages on a chocolate package mean. It’s simple math…

A two ingredient 70% chocolate bar contains 70% Cacao and 30% Sugar. A 99% bar means that 1% is Sugar.

A 65% bar is 65% Cacao and the remaining 35% could be made up of Sugar, Pecans, Cocoa Butter, Salt, etc. depending on the formula.

Chocolate Challenge II: What is the percentage of “other ingredients” in these bars?

  1. 56%
  2. 85%
  3. 72%
  4. 95%
  5. 80%

Whoever guesses correctly first, will get a bar of craft chocolate from one of my favorite makers (this time from France).

Below are examples of a chocolate tasting sampler package I designed 360° showcasing 7 Heirloom Cacao’s.

Each chocolate was made from a particular bean using only Cacao and Sugar, allowing the taster to truly experience that bean’s flavor profile.

Photo Credit: Valerie Volinski

A Chocolate State of Mine

Apparently chocolate consumption is way up, so I thought it was a perfect time to share more about its wonderfulness.

Chocolate challenge: Where in the USA do you think Cacao grows? (Hint, there are 6 answers, think broadly).

Whoever guesses correctly first, will get a bar of craft chocolate from one of my favorite US makers.

Chocolate is made from Cacao (Theobroma Cacao), AKA Food of the Gods, AKA Cocoa.

Cacao is a tree fruit and gets its start as beans from a pod. Like coffee, it only grows in a very limited area 20° North and South of the equator from the Tropic of Cancer to the Tropic of Capricorn, known as the Cocoa Belt.

How it got from milky white, goopy beans to chocolate as we know it is quite a miracle. The beans are harvested, fermented, dried, roasted, winnowed, conched and finally tempered. Tempering is what gives chocolate the shiny look and snap sound when you break into one.

Interesting tidbit I learned when I was on the island of St. Lucia at Boucan, the Hotel Chocolat plantation — because cacao flowers are very tiny and have no smell, they are pollinated by ants and very small flies instead of bees.

See examples of the Zora Chocolate Maker logo and also chocolate packaging I created for the Ashanty Chocolate company.