If you’re a dark chocolate fan, you likely already know the difference between cocoa and cacao, or where cocoa beans come from. But do you know what a cacao nib is? What about bloom? Whether you’re an aspiring Lindt Maître Chocolatier or you just love chocolate, here are some common terms to help take your chocolate knowledge to the next level.
Once cocoa beans are roasted to develop their fine aromas, they are cracked open and separated from their shell during a process called winnowing. What’s left of the bean is a small, seed-like solid called a cacao nib, which is eventually ground to make chocolate.
A vegetable fat that composes just over half of the cacao nib. It has a very low melting point, which is just below body temperature and can be extracted when cacao nibs are ground into a liquid cocoa liquor. When the liquor is pressed, the butter separates from the cocoa solids and can be used in a variety of ways, including to make white chocolate.
Conching is the intense mixing of heated, liquid chocolate, which helps to evenly distribute the cocoa butter with the cocoa particles, and is responsible for Lindt’s trademark silky-smooth chocolate texture. The process also helps to further develop the chocolate’s deep flavour and aromas.
A white veil that can develop on the surface of chocolate, caused by the chocolate’s cocoa butter content separating. This can happen naturally over a long period of time, especially in warm conditions, or when it is melted and resumes a solid state without being tempered correctly.
A type of water bath, similar to a double-boiler, used to heat chocolate, which ensures a gentle, gradual heat that allows the chocolate to melt without burning or seizing.