Chocolate Glossary

Please use our Chocolate Glossary for more information on the wonderful subject of luxury chocolate.

BALLOTIN

The French word for a small, elegant box of chocolates designed to prevent the chocolates from damaging each other.

BLOOM 

Dullness, streaks, greying, or whitish discoloration on the surface of chocolate caused by poor tempering, temperature fluctuation. Bloom is unattractive but not harmful.

CACAO

(Ca-cow) The Tree from which chocolate is made.

CACAO BEAN

The part of the cacao tree, found inside its pods, which is used to make chocolate.

CACAO CONTENT

Cacao content refers to the amount of the chocolate product that is made of the three cacao components (chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, and cocoa powder).

CACAO ESTATE

A dedicated area specialising in the growing of fine cacao, typically found in the Caribbean and Central or South America. Hotel Chocolat’s own Rabot Estate is on the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia.

CACAO POD

The fruit of the cacao tree, which usually contains 20-40 cacao beans.

CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE

A rich confection made from chocolate and cream (ganache), although it may contain butter, eggs, and other flavorings. Truffles may be dipped in chocolate and or rolled in cocoa powder.

CHOCOLATIER

This word may be used to describe several different functions. A person who makes chocolates by hand in small batches is called a Chocolatier. A Chocolatier may be employed to evaluate beans and/or supervise the blending and roasting. In large companies, there may be as many as twenty. Chocolatiers will generally adjust blends, roasting times and other factors to create a final product that is consistent with prior products.

COCOA

The familiar UK term for the tree and its harvest.

COCOA BUTTER

The fat that is contained within cocoa beans in to make cocoa powder.

COCOA MASS

The finely ground paste of roasted cocoa beans, a very dark brown, half–fluid mass with an amazing aroma. It is the cocoa butter within it which makes it fluid and the cocoa powder within, which gives it the colour, taste, and aroma.

COCOA NIBS

The part of the cocoa bean, which is used in the production of chocolate.

COCOA POWDER

Once cacao beans are fermented, dried, roasted and cracked, the nibs (center of the cocoa bean) are ground to extract about half the cacao butter, leaving a dark brown paste called chocolate liquor. After drying again, the hardened mass (press cake) is ground into the unsweetened cocoa powder which may be natural or Dutch processed. It’s available with different fat levels and a range of tastes include, mild to strong, and unsweetened, and it’s used for baking, reduced fat and calorie recipes, and ice cream flavoring.

COCOA SOLIDS

The total amount of cocoa in chocolate usually expressed as a percentage. Leonidas recipes always contain a higher than normal cocoa solid content to keep the sugar down and allow the flavour of the cacao to really shine through.

COCOA TEA

A traditional. Energizing drink from the West Indies. Made by melting mashed up roasted cocoa beans into milk. As served at the Rabot Estate store in London’s Borough Market.

CONCHING

A mechanical kneading process which improves the texture and taste of chocolate by driving out astringency. Conching time is the amount of hours the chocolate spends in this process and can vary from 12 hours to 120 hours.

COUVERTURE

The basic chocolate product, in large solid blocks, or in liquid form, which a chocolatier transforms into moulded bars or filled chocolate recipes.

CRIOLLO

The finest and rarest cacao bean, representing only 5% of the world's crop, thought to have originated in Mexico. The beans produced on Hotel Chocolat’s Rabot Estate are criollo-rich Trinitario.

ENGAGED ETHICS

The name that Rabot estate gives to its “roll-up-the-sleeves and get involved” ethical programme, which provides sustainable support to cacao farmers in Ghana and Saint Lucia.

ENROBING

The process to give individual chocolates an outer chocolate coating by being passed through a waterfall of molten chocolate.

FERMENTATION

One of the most important and skilful steps of the cacao harvesting process, during which the sweet pulp from the cacao pod naturally heats up and creates a chemical change in the beans, making them less bitter and starting to taste a bit like chocolate.

FEUILLETINE

A praline textured with small pieces of crispy, oven baked biscuits.

FORASTERO

The mainstay of the world's cacao bean crop (80%), with a robust flavour, thought to have originated in the Amazon.

GANACHE

A mixture of chocolate and cream, with a velvety smooth texture.

GIANDUJA

A blend of chocolate, very finely grounded

hazelnuts and sugar, generally much smoother than a praline. A Gianduja has a silky smooth texture.

LECITHIN

A natural emulsifier made from soy, which helps increase the viscosity of chocolate so that it flows more easily when the chocolatier is working with it.

MARRIN GLACES

Crystallised chestnuts

MENDIANT

Discs of solid chocolates with luxury fruit and nuts

PRALINE

(PRAH- leen) A paste of crushed nuts, usually hazelnuts, caramelised sugar and chocolate.

RABOT ESTATE

(RA-bo) Hotel Chocolat's 140-acre cacao estate on the island of Saint Lucia, where they are actively helping to regenerate the agricultural economy.

SINGLE ESTATE

Cacao is grown on a single, named estate, whose distinctive flavours are directly influenced by the terroir (or environment) in which it is grown. The flavours will vary from harvest to harvest which you can readily taste with the chocolate they produce.

SINGLE ORIGIN

Cacao is grown in a single region or country, whose distinctive flavours are directly influenced by that terroir (or environment). These flavours will be less varied than the single estate, such as the Saint Lucian Island Growers chocolate, compared to the Rabot Estate.

TEMPERING

The precisely controlled heating and cooling of  molten chocolate to correctly crystallise the cocoa butter within, which produces the required consistency and a smooth, glossy finish. click the link to see the tempering process before the chocolate is placed into the mould.

TERROIR

(TAIR- rwah) A term that's taken from French that describes the environmental influences that help define the character and flavour nuances of cacao, including the geographic location, the topography, the type of soil and the climate.

TREE TO BAR

The term used to describe the very small band of chocolatiers who grow cacao as well as make chocolate from the bean. Goes further than ‘Bean to Bar’.

TRINITARIO

Type of cacao bean - a hybrid of Criollo and Forastero, with delicate flavours, but easier to grow than Criollo and more resistant to disease. About 15% of the world’s crop.

WINNOWING

(also known as Kibbling) The process of removing the shells from roasted cacao beans, leaving the cocoa nibs which will be ground to make chocolate.