Get Adobe Flash player

Real Chocolate:

Mars Chocolate North America defines real chocolate as chocolate produced with cocoa butter per the U.S. Standards of Identity for milk chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate and bitter-sweet chocolate. Real chocolate does not contain vegetable fat.

Standards of Identity:

United States government regulations that define the food product ingredients that must be used in order to be called a specific name. For example, to be called milk chocolate, the U.S. Standards of Identity require the use of cocoa butter and no vegetable fats. Milk chocolate also has other requirements as well, such as a specific amount of chocolate liquor, milk and use of flavorings.

For Mars real chocolate, look for the words "milk chocolate," "semi-sweet chocolate," or "bittersweet chocolate" on both front and back of the package. It's probably not real chocolate if you see the words "chocolate flavor," "chocolate coating," "chocolaty" or "made with chocolate."

For more information on the U.S. Standards of Identity, visit http://www.marshealthyliving.com/waisgate.pdf.

Chocolate:

Another name for chocolate liquor under the US Standards of Identity, chocolate is produced from the seed of the tropical cacao tree (cacao beans) by roasting, taking off the thin shell and grinding.

Chocolate Liquor:

Sometimes referred to as simply "chocolate", unsweetened chocolate or cocoa mass, chocolate liquor is the smooth, intensely chocolate liquid that comes from the roasted and ground cacao beans, which are commonly known as cacao beans. Chocolate liquor contains both cocoa solids and cocoa butter in roughly equal proportion. Chocolate liquor does not contain alcohol – this is just the common name used in the chocolate industry.

It is produced by taking cacao beans that have been fully or partially fermented, dried, roasted and separated from their shells and grinding them to a smooth, intense tasting liquid.

Milk Chocolate:

A chocolate that features added milk at specified levels. In addition, the U.S. Standards of Identity require 10% chocolate liquor, as well as cocoa butter to be called milk chocolate.

Semi-Sweet Chocolate:

A dark chocolate which requires a higher level of chocolate liquor (35%). Semisweet chocolate is also known as bittersweet chocolate and per the Standards of Identity needs to be produced with cocoa butter.

REAL CHOCOLATE SOURCES AND INGREDIENTS

Cacao Tree:

Otherwise known as Theobroma cacao or the cocoa plant, the cacao tree is a small evergreen tree in the family Sterculiaceae that is the source of cacao, or cacao beans used to make chocolate. The tree grows in a limited geographical zone of approximately 20 degrees to the north and south of the equator, with a significant portion of the trees found in West Africa, as well as South America.

The word cacao stems from the word cacahuatl, a word from the ancient Aztec language, Nahuatl.

Cacao Pod:

Cacao pods, commonly referred to as cacao pods, are the fruit of the cacao tree's flowers. Cacao pods come in a wide range of shapes, usually oval, roughly 8-14 inches long and range in color from yellow or green to red or violet. The pods grow directly from the trunk and main branches of the tree and it takes 4-6 months for the pods to grow and ripen. Cacao pods have a thick, rough leathery rind that is filled with sweet pulp that encloses 30-50 almond-like seeds, or beans.

When the pods ripen, they are harvested from the trunks and branches of the cacao tree with a curved knife on a long pole. The harvested pods are typically opened with a machete or a club and the pulp and seeds are removed before the rind is returned to the ground as compost to provide nutrients back into the soil.

Cacao Beans:

Cacao beans, which are commonly referred to as cacao beans, are fully or partially fermented and dried seeds of the cacao tree, from which chocolate is made.

Cocoa Butter:

Cocoa butter is the natural plant fat contained in cacao beans. It is a pale-yellow, pure essence that is extracted directly from the cacao bean and used to make chocolate. Cocoa butter has a mild chocolate flavor and aroma.

REAL CHOCOLATE PRODUCTION PROCESS

Fermentation:

After the cacao beans are harvested along with their pulp, they are placed in heaps or wooden boxes to naturally ferment.

After fermentation, the beans are dried, usually done by spreading the beans out in the sun from five to seven days, climate and weather permitting.

Chocolate Roasting:

After fermented, dried cacao beans are cleaned, sorted and roasted to perfection. During this process, the beans become a uniform shade of deep-brown. This is a very important stage in the chocolate production process. The future quality of the chocolate, including the enchanting chocolate aroma and its rich flavor, depends on chocolate roasting.

Tempering:

Refers to a process of heating and cooling chocolate to prepare it for dipping, enrobing, and molding. The tempering process ensures that the cocoa butter in chocolate sets in a uniform crystal structure.

Molding:

After tempering, the chocolate is poured into warmed molds. At this stage, if the recipe requires it, various ingredients (e.g. nuts, caramel, dried fruits) are combined with the chocolate before it is placed in a cooler to set.

Enrobing:

Centers formed from creamy caramel, rich nougat, perfectly roasted nuts and other ingredients are sent through a curtain of liquid, tempered chocolate to be drenched with a coating of real chocolate then placed in a cooler to set.

Red M&M