Chocolate Terms A to Z

Roasted Cocoa Beans

Our Chocolate Glossary

Relax — this is just for fun, and there won’t be a quiz! What follows is a useful collection of key chocolate terms. Far from comprehensive, because a list of every expression used by cacao farmers, chocolate makers, and chocolatiers would fill many more pages than this.

But for a guide to the important words and how to use them, this is your place: What’s the difference between “praline” and “gianduja”? (None.) Is “cocoa butter” made with butter? (Nope.) When do you compliment a chocolate on its “good temper”? (When it has an even gloss and clean snap.) Read on for more…

Handy Chocolate Terminology

  • all natural: our chocolate contain no additives, no extenders — no junk, no kidding!
  • allergens: our products may contain traces of peanuts, tree nuts, and milk products
  • baking chocolate: milk, bittersweet, semisweet, and white chocolate sold in one-pound blocks for baking
  • bitter/unsweetened chocolate: chocolate liquid cooled and molded into blocks
  • bloom: a whitish-gray discoloration due to a temperature or humidity change
  • buttercream: a flavored mixture of butter, sugar, and eggs
  • caramel: fresh cream, butter, sugar, and vanilla, thick and creamy
  • chocolate liquid/liquor: a.k.a. cocoa mass, the basic raw material of all chocolate products, made from ground nibs (nibs are the “meat” of the cocoa bean)
  • cacao beans: the source of all chocolate, cacao beans (“cocoa” beans, once processed) grow in the fruit pods of the cacao tree, an evergreen which thrives in the region 20° north and south of the Equator
  • cocoa butter: the yellowish-white vegetable fat that is removed from chocolate liquid under high pressure
  • cocoa powder: what remains after most of the cocoa butter has been removed from chocolate liquid
  • couverture [koo-vehr-TYOOR]: a glossy chocolate used for enrobing (couverture is French for “blanket”)
  • dark chocolate: made by combining chocolate liquid, cocoa butter, and sweetener
  • dutched cocoa: cocoa powderwhich has been alkalized to reduce its natural acidity, make it darker in color, more chocolatey in flavor, and easier to mix with liquids
  • feuilletine [FOY-ah-teen]: a delicate, crispy French butter flake used in baking, pastry, and confectionery
  • ganache [gahn-AHSH]: a blend of chocolate, cream, and butter which forms the center of all truffles
  • gianduja [john-DOO-yah]:a combination of hazelnut paste and couveture chocolate
  • gluten: a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and other grains
  • kosher: Jewish dietary laws pertaining to the preparation and handling of food products; with the exception of our Blue Bandana Chocolate Bars, all of our chocolate products are certified kosher
  • milk chocolate: made by combining chocolate liquid, extra cocoa butter, milk or cream, and sweetener
  • nibs: the “meat” of the cocoa bean, separated from the shell after roasting and ground into cocoa mass
  • pistoles: milk, white, or dark chocolate chips for tempering
  • praline: a fine paste made from chocolate and ground hazelnuts, a.k.a. gianduja
  • semisweet and sweet chocolate: made by combining chocolate liquid with varying amounts of sweetener and more cocoa butter
  • temper: the visible appearance of chocolate, which varies by cooking method; “tempered” chocolate will have a high-gloss sheen and clean snap when broken
  • truffles: a velvety-smooth, flavorful ganache center enrobed in chocolate couverture
  • unsweetened/bitter chocolate: chocolate liquid cooled and molded into blocks
  • vegan: a term used to describe food that’s free of any dairy or animal products — many of our dark chocolate products are considered vegan, but may still contain traces of milk (because both milk and dark chocolate are processed in our factory)
  • white chocolate: made by combining sugar, cocoa butter, milk solids, lecithin, and vanilla; some don’t consider this chocolate, as it contains no chocolate liquor — others do, since it contains cocoa butter