Allergens are non-toxic proteins that stimulate immune system reactions in certain persons. Consequences include diarrhea, vomiting, skin rashes, asthma, anaphylactic shock and even death. Allergens may enter a food through ingredients or inadvertent cross contact by dust or food fragments remaining in the processing system after cleaning and sanitation.

Alkalizing (Dutched Process)

Alkalizing is an alkaline treatment of nibs prior to grinding, or of the cocoa liquor prior to pressing. The process darkens the resultant chocolate liquor or cocoa powder and modifies the chocolate flavour. Alkalizing also improves the suspension property of the cocoa powder.

Bittersweet / Semisweet Chocolate

Both terms refer to dark chocolate containing varying amounts of cocoa liquor, sugar, cocoa butter and cocoa powder and must contain, per Canadian definition, not less than 35% total cocoa solids.

Content description see under Dark chocolate.


Bloom is a grayish coating on the surface of chocolate products and is more visible on dark chocolate. There are two kinds of bloom, fat bloom, which is caused by fat migration and sugar bloom caused by humidity.

Fat bloom

Fat bloom is recognized as a grayish-white sheen on the surface and can be the result of incompatibility of ingredients (fats) or poor tempering or exposure of the chocolate product to excessive temperatures. While visually undesirable, products with slight bloom are safe to eat.

Sugar bloom

Sugar bloom is humidity induced and is more damaging, but fortunately does not occur frequently. It is the result of sugar crystals being drawn to the surface by water, caused either by a moist atmosphere or from condensation caused by drastic temperature changes from very cold to warm. The sugar recrystallizes at the surface to form a gray, coarse coating.


All chocolates, whether Dark, Milk or White, are made with some or all of the four basic ingredients, namely; cocoa liquor, sugar, cocoa butter and milk. Each ingredient has its own characteristics, which can determine the taste, texture, colour and appearance and quality of the chocolate. The quantity of each of the basic ingredients in a recipe determines the kind of chocolate required. The addition of lecithin and vanilla / vanillin is common practice. Both additions are explained under their heading. In regards to definitions, the Canadian and European Community have different Identity Standards and Quality Specifications for chocolate products.

Dark Chocolate

The basic ingredients for Dark Chocolate are cocoa liquor, sugar, cocoa butter and cocoa powder plus allowed additives.

Dark chocolate definition:

Canada – contain not less than 35% total cocoa solids of which not less than 18% cocoa butter and not less than 14% fat free cocoa solids

Europe – per EC (European Community) directive, not less than 35% cocoa solids, 14% of dry non-fat cocoa solids and not less than 18% cocoa butter.

Milk Chocolate

Milk chocolate consists basically of cocoa liquor, sugar, cocoa butter and milk or milk products plus allowed additives.

Milk chocolate definition:

Canada – contain not less than

  • 25% cocoa solids of which not less than 15% cocoa butter and not less than 2.5% fat free cocoa solids
  • 12% milk solids from milk ingredients
  • 3.39% milk fat

Europe – per EC directives, 25% total cocoa solids and not less than 14% dry milk solids, 25% total fat and not less than 3.5% milk fat.

White Chocolate

White chocolate is a blend of cocoa butter, sugar, milk or milk products plus allowed additives.

White chocolate definition:

Canada – shall contain the following combined together, not less than 20% cocoa butter, not less than 14% total milk solids from milk ingredients and not less than 3.5% milk fat.

Europe – per EC directive, must contain not less than 20% cocoa butter, 14% dry milk solids and not less than 3.5% milk fat.

Cocoa plant

Cacao is the botanical name referring to the tree, pods and unfermented beans from the pods. Cocoa refers traditionally to manufactured powder used for drinks. At present it often refers to fermented beans in bulk. The cocoa tree is an evergreen plant, typically cultivated within 15-20 degrees of the equator, The plant requires warm and humid conditions. There are basically two groups of cocoa encountered in commerce: Fine flavor cocoa: Criollo cocoa: a milk flavoured cocoa grown in parts of Venezuela, Central America, Java and the West Indies. Trinitario cocoa: found mainly in the West Indies, is a cross between criollo and forastero. Bulk cocoa: Forastero cocoa: originating mainly from West Africa, Asia and Brazil.

Cocoa beans

Cocoa beans are the source of all chocolate and cocoa, and are found in the pods of the cocoa tree. Cocoa beans undergo a fermentation and drying process before being usable for chocolate or cocoa production. The term “cocoa beans” is interchangeable with “cacao beans”.

Cocoa butter

A natural fat that is present in cocoa beans (52-58%). It is obtained from roasted cocoa nibs by pressing cocoa liquor to yield cocoa butter and press cake. Cocoa butter is a pure, valuable fat and is usually filtered and deodorized. Cocoa butter gives the chocolate its fine structure and delicate, attractive gloss.

Cocoa butter has a melting point of about 34-35°C and is therefore a hard, brittle solid at room temperature, 20°C.

Cocoa/Cacao content

Usually referred to the total of all cocoa solids in a chocolate, cocoa liquor and added cocoa butter and is typically expressed in percentages.

Cocoa liquor

Cocoa liquor is produced by grinding cocoa nibs to a smooth mass that is liquid at temperatures above 35°C. The heat generated by the grinding process causes the cocoa butter contained in the beans to melt, producing a thick, liquid mixture. This mixture is dark brown in colour with a characteristic, strong odor. During cooling it gradually sets; this is the cocoa liquor or cocoa mass, the basic most important ingredient for all dark and milk chocolates.

Cocoa mass/Cacao paste

See Cocoa liquor.

Cocoa nibs

Nibs are the kernels of the cocoa bean. Roasted or unroasted cocoa beans are mechanically cracked, allowing the separation of the shell from the bean.

Cocoa powder

Cocoa powder is a by-product of the cocoa butter production. After pressing the majority of the cocoa butter out of the cocoa liquor, the residue, which is left in the press, is called the cocoa press cake. It contains anything between 8% and 25% fat, depending on the cocoa powder quality required. These cakes are crushed and ground to powder and finely sifted to obtain a dark, strongly aromatic powder – the cocoa powder. Sometimes, sugar is being added or vitamins, flavours or minerals depending on the product required.

Cocoa solids

The content of cocoa mass and cocoa butter in chocolate is expressed as cocoa solids. Canadian government laws prescribe the minimum requirements of cocoa solids for dark, milk and white chocolate and couverture. See the specific solid requirements under the headings dark, milk and white chocolate and couvertures.

Conche and “conching” process

The conche and conching process are the invention of Rudolphe Lindt, one of the founders of Lindt & Sprüngli. Conche (from the Spanish word “concha”, meaning shell) is the name given by Lindt to a trough, in which a roller ran back and forth in the partly covered trough, thus homogenizing the chocolate mass. During the long hours of homogenization the minuscule particles of sugar and cocoa are coated with a fine film of cocoa butter. The chocolate mass, while being constantly mixed and worked, heats itself up to about 80°C. Through this constant movement of the chocolate mass and the exposure to the generated heat, aeration takes place, the desire flavour of the chocolate is developed and any residual bitterness is removed. The texture reaches that essential stage of velvety smoothness. With the addition of cocoa butter and lecithin during the conching process, “this melt on the tongue” sensation of the chocolate is obtained.

Compound chocolate

Compound is known as a confectionary product.

Compound is typically a blend of sugar, cocoa powder and vegetable oils other than cocoa butter. Compound can legally not be called chocolate. Typical for compound products is that tempering is not necessary.


A couverture is a high quality chocolate with a higher fat content than chocolate and is normally used as a coating. The product must contain not less than 35% cocoa solids, including not less than 31% cocoa butter and not less than 2.5% dry non-fat cocoa solids.


Intermediate material, in the milk chocolate making process, composed of dehydrated milk, sugar and cocoa liquor.


Dextrose is a corn sweetener, which is commercially made from cornstarch by the action of heat and acids or enzymes, resulting in the complete hydrolysis of the cornstarch. It is also termed glucose or corn syrup and is mainly used in sugar confectionary.

Dutched process

See Alkalizing


Emulsifiers are surface-active agents or substances, promoting the formulation and stabilization of an emulsion. Lecithin is an emulsifier used in chocolate manufacturing to homogenize the fat- and the water phase, reduce surface tension, reduce the viscosity and help control the flow properties.

Enrober, enrobing

A machine for coating praline centres with chocolate, by pouring tempered chocolate over it. The centres are placed manually or by machine on a wire belt, which runs through a curtain of tempered chocolate where the surplus chocolate flows off through a wire belt into a trough beneath it, leaving the praline with the desired quantity of chocolate.

Fermentation of cocoa beans

The fermentation process is decisive in the production of high quality raw cocoa. In the course of the complex fermentation process, the cocoa bean undergoes a number of important changes. The sugar containing fruit pulp, which would otherwise be difficult to dispose of, is broken down by ferments, and the heat thus produced, bringing the mass to a temperature of about 50°C, destroys the germination properties of cocoa seeds. The astringent and bitter taste diminishes, and at the same time, new substances are formed which are precursors of the aroma components and from which the true cocoa aroma later develops during the drying and roasting operations.


The fineness refers to the particle size of the refined chocolate mass and determines the smoothness of the chocolate. The particle size is expressed in microns. The fineness of a good quality chocolate lies between 15 and 20 microns.

Fractionation of fats

Fractionation is the physical process to separate fats or oils into two or more fractions of different melting characteristics by crystallization processes. It is normally applied to obtain fats of higher melting points relative to the original fats.


Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Gluten intolerance is also known as Celiac Disease. For reasons that are not fully clear, gluten sensitive people’s immune system responds to the presence of gluten in the diet by attacking the small intestine.


The husk is the shell round the cocoa kernel.

Hydrogenation of fats

(Partial) hydrogenation is an important chemical process for raising the melting point of fats and oils.


Kosher means “prepared according to the laws and rites of Judaism”. All food declared as Kosher has to conform to the Jewish law. Ingredients, processing and handling procedures for kosher foods are certified by a Rabbi. Based on his assessments, that are regularly updated, food produced accordingly may be labeled as Kosher.

Lactose intolerance

Lactose, the main carbohydrate of milk, is not or only in minute quantities digested by consumers suffering from lactose intolerance.


Soya lecithin is the most common, most efficient emulsifier used in the chocolate industry. It acts as a surface-active agent to improve its flow properties by reducing the viscosity. Soya lecithin is extracted from the soybean. Because of its molecular structure, commercial lecithin exhibits both lipophilic and hydrophilic properties, and this is responsible for its exceptional value as an emulsifier and wetting agent, homogenizing the fat and the water phase of the chocolate mass.

Typical usage level 0.1-0.5%.


Generic term for oils, fats and waxes.

Origin liquor

Cocoa mass manufactured in the country of origin of the beans.

Press cake

Product that remains after most of the cocoa butter has been pressed from the cocoa liquor. Press cake is pulverized to make cocoa powder.


A praline is a bite size chocolate with a firm, semi-firm or liquid filling, where chocolate constitute not less than 25% of the total weight. The most popular fillings are: caramels, caramel with nuts, fudge, creams, fondant, ganache, gianduja, nougat, praline paste, marzipan, nuts and alcoholic (liqueur) fillings.


Refiners are roll mills used to grind solid chocolate ingredients. Usually, the chocolate masse is pre-refined on a two-roll refiner, followed by a second refining step on a five-roll refiner. Refiners are precision machines and the efficiency depends largely on the fat content and homogeneity of the mass to be refined.


Roasting is a process using high temperature dry heat to develop further the chocolate flavour in the cocoa beans or cocoa nibs. The degree of the flavour change is related to the time and temperature of the roasting process.

Shelf life

The shelf life is the period of time during which the product will maintain the defined quality level, especially the sensory status, when stored under appropriate conditions. The shelf life of the each product is determined according to keeping trials and tests.

Sweet chocolate

Sweet chocolate contains varying amounts of cocoa liquor, cocoa butter and cocoa powder and must contain, per Canadian definition, not less than 30% total cocoa solids of which 18% is cocoa butter and 12% fat free cocoa solids.

Tempering machine

A tempering machine is a device to cool and heat chocolate to form stable fat crystals.


Tempering of chocolate is required for all chocolate products and certain confectionery products because of the polymorph nature of the cocoa butter. Tempering is a process that involves heating and cooling to solidify the chocolate with a stable cocoa butter crystal form. Proper tempering, followed by good cooling, is required for good surface gloss and to prevent fat bloom.


Natural vanilla is obtained from the pods of a species of tropical orchid known as Vanilla planifolia. The term vanilla or vanilla bean refers to the fully developed, unripe, cured and dried fruit pod of the vanilla plant. Vanilla needs a process of curing similar to that of cocoa to develop its fine, characteristic flavour. Vanilla from the island of Reunion, north of Madagascar, is considered the best quality and is also known under the name of “Bourbon” beans.


Vanillin is derived from the hydrolysis of mainly lignin, which is a naturally occurring substance found in woody plants. Vanillin also refers to the primary flavour ingredient in vanilla, which is obtained by extraction from the vanilla bean.


Viscosity is a measure of the flow property of chocolate. A thick flowing chocolate has a high and a thin flowing chocolate a low viscosity. Viscosity is affected by ingredients, process and formulation variations.


Winnowing is the process of separation and removing the light cocoa bean shell from the denser cocoa nibs by blowing air.

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