When we were kids, we loved to go to the corner shop or supermarket and buy our favourite treats. Then, everything in the shop was a “sweet”. Fruit gums, boiled fruit drops, fruit pastilles, mint humbugs, sherbet and chocolate – everything came under that one, all-encompassing heading. Even today, as adults, many of us continue to think of these things as being part of the same category. |
But diehard chocolate lovers have a problem with this categorisation of their favourite treat. For them, and also for suppliers of wholesale sweets and confectionery, there is a world of difference and any suggestion that fine chocolate can be equated with a boiled “fruit drop” is unthinkable.
It’s All in the Definition
“Sweet” is a generic term for “a small shaped piece of confectionery made with sugar” – Oxford English Dictionary. Let’s take this definition one step further and say that sugar is its major ingredient.
The same dictionary defines chocolate (the sort sold by suppliers of wholesale sweets) as: “A food in the form of a paste or solid block made from roasted and ground cacao seeds, typically sweetened and eaten as confectionery”. Just as we did with “sweets”, let’s agree that cacao has to be a major part of this product’s ingredients.
Now it’s clear that fruit pastilles or mint drops are sweets, but a bar of chocolate or a truffle just don’t fit into the same category.
But now we begin to get into the grey areas. Chocolate, in order to meet our definition (remember the above?), has to have cacao solids and cocoa butter. But you can buy bars that only contain 4% to 6% of cocoa solids and cocoa butter – do they still meet the definition as a product prepared primarily from the cacao bean? That’s a subject that has caused many an argument.
Then we have a compound alternative – this contains no cocoa solids or cocoa butter – it may look like the real thing, but it very definitely isn’t. And what about confectionery that is coated with a thin layer of chocolate covering a sugary filling, or maybe nuts or dried fruit? How do we classify them?
A Question of Taste
For the true aficionado, the more cacao solids and butter, the better. That’s one of the things that makes good quality chocolate so expensive – the raw material. While sugar is cheap, cacao bean prices have been steadily rising, especially since the Chinese discovered the brown ambrosia and developed a habit for the sweet, dark treat. And if we’re talking about high quality products produced from cacao beans from in specific locations, or fair trade or organic products, the prices just keep getting higher.
Having said that, many aficionados are prepared to pay the extra money to enjoy the rich flavours produced by their favourite brand. Suppliers of quality wholesale sweets will go the extra mile to bring the public as wide a selection of fine chocolate products as possible because they also appreciate the richness and pleasure gained from eating the top-quality products.
Thankfully, there are many large as well as smaller, boutique companies manufacturing great chocolate products using quality raw materials from around the globe, combining them with new ingredients to make unique and mouth-watering treats.
Angelina Moufftard works for hf Chocolates, established wholesale sweets suppliers with decades of experience supplying sweets and high-end chocolates to retailers across the UK. Working with the most dedicated suppliers from France, Spain, Germany, Holland, Belgium, the USA and the UK, hf Chocolates' great tasting and beautifully packaged products add panache to any sweet display.
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