Chocolate is covered by the Cocoa and Chocolate Products Regulations 1976 and amendments thereof. These regulations lay down specific compositional requirements.
- Plain chocolate – any product obtained from cocoa nib, cocoa mass, cocoa, fat–reduced cocoa or any combination of these ingredients and sugar with or without added extracted cocoa butter.
- Milk chocolate – any product obtained from cocoa nib, cocoa mass, cocoa, fat–reduced cocoa or any combination of these ingredients and sugar, and from milk or milk solids, with or without added extracted cocoa butter.
- White chocolate – any product, white in appearance and containing no colouring matter, obtained from extracted cocoa butter, sugar, and milk or milk solids.
Other ingredients may be added at 'low' levels e.g. whey powder, vegetable fat, butterfat, emulsifiers (e.g. lecithin) and flavouring.
To begin we take the seeds of a cacao tree, roast them and grind them up. Now the process of making the chocolate we eat can begin, and it takes a lot of talent.
Adding ingredients – The chocolate that we eat contains sugar, other flavours (like vanilla) and often milk (in milk chocolate). The chocolate maker adds these ingredients according to his or her secret recipe.
Conching – A special machine is used to massage the chocolate in order to blend the ingredients together and smooth it out. Conching can take anywhere from two to six days.
Tempering – Tempering is a carefully controlled heating process. According to this tempering is "a process where the chocolate is slowly heated, then slowly cooled, allowing the cocoa butter molecules to solidify in an orderly fashion." Without tempering, the chocolate does not harden properly or the cocoa butter separates out (as cream separates from milk).
These three steps, along with the blend of cocoa beans chosen at the start and the way they are roasted, are the art of chocolate making. The steps control the quality, taste and texture of the chocolate produced, and are often closely guarded secrets!