By Linda Greene
Archived from August 15, 2014
Chocolate interpreter Joe demonstrates the use of a metate.
Ever wonder what those chocolate percentages refer to? “Chocolate percentage” refers to the percentage of cocoa mass or chocolate liquor, the very essence of chocolate, in the chocolate itself. More cocoa mass means a higher percentage, darker color, and a more intense chocolate taste. Unsweetened or bitter chocolate contains nearly 100% cocoa mass. Semisweet and bittersweet chocolates have added sugar, so their cocoa percentages are a little lower. Good quality dark chocolate usually contains a minimum of 50% cocoa mass, but can go as high as 85%. Because milk chocolate has more added sugar than dark, as well as dried milk solids, it has a lower percentage of cocoa mass, usually about 30 to 40%.
The percentage also gives us some idea about the chocolate’s sweetness. If a dark chocolate contains 70% cocoa mass, it must contain about 30% sugar. The chocolate will have an intense chocolate flavor, with just enough sugar to make it palatable. The lower the chocolate’s percentage, the higher the percentage of sugar and the sweeter the chocolate will be.
All American Heritage Chocolate products that we sell in the Old North Gift Shop and the chocolate demonstration in Clough House are 63% percent chocolate, made with all-natural ingredients and no preservatives. AHC chocolate is fashioned from recipes from 1750 and uses spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, orange, anise, red pepper, annatto (for coloring), with just a touch of sugar, recreating the delicious, slightly spicy, decadently rich, chocolate drink. Have you tried it yet?