Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, truffles, pralines, dragées – everybody has their favourite. But there is one up-and-coming trend that is taking the world by storm – raw chocolate. This isn’t a new line of chocolate confections; it’s been around since the very inception of our favourite treat. But in terms of what the public wants to eat, it is a truly radical departure from all the established tastes and flavours we’ve grown used to over the years – and chocolate suppliers are racing to keep up with demand. |
From 60% to 100%
For many years, the demand for dark chocolate with higher concentrations of cocoa solids has been on the rise. If, in the past, we were used to dark chocolate with 60% cocoa solids, today more and more chocolate suppliers are finding robust demand for 72%, 80% and even 100% dark chocolate.
The higher the percentage of cocoa solids, the more intense the flavour of the finished product. Chocolate aficionados are constantly on the search for new products made from different blends of cacao beans that provide a new taste experience.
Today however, die-hard lovers looking for their cocoa fix are increasingly looking to their local chocolate suppliers for raw chocolate products.
How “Raw” is Raw Chocolate?
The chocolate we are used to eating comes from the cacao bean and undergoes a complicated process of fermentation, roasting, grinding and pressure to get the foundation of our chocolate – a fine paste known as chocolate liqueur. This is then mixed with varying percentages of dairy products, cocoa butter and other ingredients to get the product we are used to seeing on the supermarket shelf.
Raw chocolate isn’t, strictly speaking, the raw cacao bean. The process used for making the chocolate liquor is adapted so that the roasting stage is left out. Instead, the harvested beans are left to dry naturally and then cold pressed to separate the oil (cocoa butter) from the cocoa solids. This is because many people who see chocolate as a natural “superfood” feel that the heating process causes many of the bean’s natural ingredients with their anti-oxidant properties to break down and lose much of their nutritional value and health benefits.
What About the Taste?
Dark chocolate is also known as “bitter” chocolate – and for a reason. Regular milk chocolate contains a lower percentage of cocoa solids, more dairy products, sweeteners and other ingredients that give it its soft, creamy texture and sweet taste. Dark chocolate, on the other hand, contains a lower percentage of sugar and a higher percentage of cocoa solids which makes for a deeper, more intense taste – some even say it’s an acquired taste.
It can be assumed, therefore, that raw chocolate will have a very strong and bitter taste. But this is not necessarily true and manufacturers use cacao beans from different areas and different varieties (just like coffee) to produce a final product that is palatable and provides the customer with a unique taste experience.
Raw chocolate is still very much a niche product. If you want to try it but can’t find it in your local supermarket or sweet shop, ask them if they can get some in stock or perhaps even order online from one of the many chocolate suppliers stocking fine chocolates in the UK today.
Angelina Moufftard works for hf Chocolates, established wholesale sweets and chocolate 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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