When you buy chocolate from industrial brands (made on a large scale and usually very cheap), the list of ingredients you can expect on chocolate products is usually pretty long and often includes questionable and unclear ingredients.
When it comes to craft bean-to-bar chocolate, which is chocolate made from scratch by small/medium companies, here are the minimal ingredients you can expect in each kind of chocolate:
Dark Chocolate: cocoa beans and sugar.
Nothing else is needed when the cacao used is flavorful on its own. Fine cacao has intrinsic tasting notes that craft chocolate makers want to preserve and highlight. This is why they don’t add much to the cacao. Usually cane sugar, coconut sugar, panela, honey, maple syrup or other natural alternative sugars are used instead of highly refined white sugars. Cocoa butter could also be among the ingredients, added to confer extra creaminess and a rich texture. Vanilla and soy/sunflower lecithin can also be found at the end of the list, but in rare occasions.
Milk Chocolate: cocoa beans, sugar and milk powder.
To the fine cacao and the sugar, milk is added to round off the more intense notes from the cocoa beans. Here vanilla can be found more often to confer extra sweetness and compliment the flavor of the milk. Nowadays, many plant-based versions are available using oat, coconut, rice or almond milk.
White Chocolate: sugar, milk powder and cocoa butter.
There are no cocoa solids here (the “brown” part of the beans), but only the fatty component which is the cocoa butter. Together with sugar and milk powder or plant-based alternatives, these 3 ingredients create the perfect treat for those craving the most sweetness and creaminess. Here vanilla is almost always a common flavoring.
These are the basic ingredients needed to create exceptional chocolate. It all starts with quality ingredients! What is your favorite kind of chocolate?