You cannot deny the happy feeling and positive mood chocolate puts one in. According to research, this is due to some compounds found in chocolate that are associated with mood enhancing chemicals in the brain (https://www.sciencefocus.com/the-human-body/does-chocolate-make-you-happy/).
If this is true, does every type of chocolate provide this effect or it usually depends on the cocoa content of the product. In the confectionery market, there are several chocolate brands and tight competition amongst chocolate manufacturers. In recent times, having a chocolate product with high cocoa content has become a hallmark for quality and value for money.
In Ghana, some chocolate brands on the market are classified as milk chocolate, dark chocolate and white chocolate. The most dominant chocolate that most consumers are abreast with is milk chocolate. It is also worth to note that many consumers usually cannot tell the difference between the chocolate types as they often identify white chocolate as milk chocolate (since it’s made with milk) and dark chocolate (usually those with low cocoa content) as milk chocolate.
Milk Chocolate; a product usually characterized by its milkiness and not necessarily it’s cocoa content is one of the types of chocolate. Milk chocolate usually consist of a percentage of cocoa, sweetener, milk and other inclusions. When you consider similar products from countries outside Ghana, you would realize that the milk content of the chocolate is usually higher than that of cocoa. Here in Ghana, same trend is often seen however the cocoa percentages are usually higher than that of foreign brands. With as low as 10% cocoa liquor by weight, a product can be classified as milk chocolate (https://candyusa.com/story-of-chocolate/what-is-chocolate/kinds-of-chocolate/).
Another type of chocolate highly patronized by health conscious consumers is Dark Chocolate. Been noted for its high cocoa content and zero milk makes it a preferred choice for consumers who are lactose intolerant as well as those who wish to reap good amount of the benefits of cocoa. Dark chocolate is usually made of cocoa, sweetener and other inclusions. A product must contain a minimum of 50% cocoa solids to qualify as dark chocolate ( https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/dark-chocolate/). Common brands on the local market range from 50-90% cocoa content.
If chocolate that contains milk is considered milk chocolate what then is a white chocolate. The peculiar characteristic of white chocolate is its creamy appearance as a result of its zero cocoa solids; which gives chocolate its brown colour. White chocolate consist of cocoa butter, sweetener, milk and other inclusions. Cocoa butter is the only cocoa content in white chocolate. A product must contain at least 20% cocoa butter to be considered as white chocolate. In Ghana, a few of the chocolate manufacturers produce white chocolate bars example being the GoldenTree Premium White Chocolate. White chocolate is often used as a basis for coloring and decorating other chocolate types.
Artisanal chocolate manufacturers, cake and pastry outlets also work with white chocolate. Due to its creamy appearance, white chocolate helps improve the aesthetic appearance of ice cream, cakes and other chocolate products.
White chocolate is no less of a chocolate to milk or dark chocolate. Cocoa butter is an essential composite of the cocoa bean. About 54-58% of cocoa nibs is made up of butter and is of high value on the export market. Chocolate from low cocoa growing areas usually have part of the cocoa butter substituted with other oils. It is therefore laudable that the GoldenTree White Bakery Chocolate is made with no cocoa butter substitute.
When next you troll down the chocolate section at a supermarket, look out for white chocolate brands and assess their ingredients to rank how “chocolaty“ they may be.