Shopping for Chocolate


As the top-selling dessert flavor, chocolate is on every pastry chef's shopping list.


But chocolate purchasing has taken a sophisticated and complex turn with the influx of more producers, upgraded product lines and premium brands.


Labels listing cacao content and the origin of the beans are further complicating the process. However, the basics are the same: operators can buy chocolate in many forms; powdered cocoa, pistoles (buttons), chips, chunks, pellets, bars and blocks. Each is categorized by its percentage of chocolate liquor (ground nibs or heart of the cacao bean).

Unsweetened chocolate is 99% chocolate liquor. This variety has no sugar added, making it very dark and bitter. It is used only in baking and cooking.

Milk chocolate replaces some of the chocolate liquor with milk or milk solids; it contains about 20% cocoa solids. Its sweeter flavor and smooth texture make it a favorite of the candy industry.

White chocolate is made from cocoa butter mixed with sugar, milk solids and vanilla. It contains no chocolate liquor.

Bittersweet is unsweetened chocolate with sugar, cocoa butter and vanilla added; it is 35% to over 70% chocolate liquor.

Semisweet chocolate is similar in its content of sugar, chocolate liquor and cocoa solids to bittersweet; it can be used interchangeably in recipes.

Cocoa is pulverized from cocoa solids that have had the cocoa butter removed.

Sweet or dark chocolate contains between 15 and 35 percent chocolate liquor; it's lighter in flavor than bittersweet and semisweet but has a similar dark color.


Couverture
is bittersweet, milk or white chocolate that has a higher percentage of cocoa butter. It's used in doughs and batters to add moisture and creaminess and has excellent coating qualities for candies and cake icings.

More From FoodService Director

Managing Your Business
business marketing concepts drawing

Sharp, smart marketing materials can make all the difference when it comes to drawing a big crowd for a menu launch or upcoming event. With more avenues to cover than ever and fewer resources to go around, operators offer their tips on making marketing work from start to finish.

Start with communication

Whether it’s an in-house marketing department, an outside agency or someone on staff wearing the marketing hat part-time, the right people need to be involved early and often. “Marketing doesn’t always have a seat at the table [like] it should in order to be truly effective,” says...

Menu Development
induction cooking nuts

Thanks to prolific fast casuals such as Chipotle, guests have come to expect a certain level of customization in their dining options. For almost 50% of Generation Zers, customization is a deciding factor when purchasing food, according Technomic’s 2016 Generational Consumer Trend Report . Taking customization even further, operations are handing over even more control to customers with both build-your-own and cook-your-own stations.

Elder Hall’s My Kitchen station at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., offers a daily rotating ingredient bar with items such as stir-fry,...

Menu Development
health food medicine stethoscope

For the last two years, Chris Studtmann has jockeyed between Northwestern University’s residential dining halls and athletic training tables in his role of executive chef, trying to meet the health and food preferences of both sides. Now, his team is taking best practices developed for the sports teams to the 20,000-plus student population, working with dietitians from the school’s contract company to better sync healthy menu choices with lifestyle needs.

Technomic’s 2016 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report shows younger consumers are especially tuned in to functional foods that...

Ideas and Innovation
trail mix

We’ve added fueling stations in our units for our workers who didn’t have time to eat or just need a snack. We have areas set up with trail mix, crackers, cookies and water. It helps us avoid people feeling or getting ill, especially when we get closer to exam periods and student workers are studying and not taking the time to eat.

FSD Resources