Indigenous to Central and South America, cocoa was used by Mayans and Aztecs in religious rites, as an aphrodisiac by the ruling class, and the beans as a currency in trade.

The Aztecs were probably the first to roast the beans and make a beverage from it.  Their recipe for a chocolate drink is not recorded in detail but we do know that the beans were dried in the sun and roasted in earthenware pots before being husked.  The kernels were then ground with vanilla, spices, and herbs.

The paste was formed into small cakes and dried in the shade.  The cakes were broken up and whisked with hot water to make a foamy drink, a practice many indigenous people still employ today.

Reference was made to cocoa in 1502 in the log of the last sailing of Columbus to the new world.

Seventeen years later a follower of Hernan Cortes described a banquet given by Montezuma II at which about fifty dishes made of “cacaa” were consumed.

Montezuma II was one of the greatest chocolate enthusiasts in history.  Before entering his harem, he would consume a golden goblet of frothing cocoa.

In Europe, Spaniards were able to guard the secret of their discovery for over a century and many merchants got rich from the cocoa trade.  They processed the beans to a cold drink, often sweetened with sugarcane.  Gradually the fame of chocolate spread throughout European countries with populations that could afford to enjoy it.

Chocolate houses, like coffee houses before them, became the rage, and in 1657 the first advertised sale of chocolate at a chocolate house was reported.  Nevertheless, chocolate continued to be an expensive luxury until the Industrial Revolution, when

machines were invented for grinding, and manufacturing moved into factories.

In 1828, the Dutch firm of Van Houten revolutionized the industry with a patent of extracting a large proportion of fat (cocoa butter) from the ground beans, leaving a soluble

powder.  This led to cocoa and chocolate drinking as well as to eating it.  Chocolate consists of cocoa butter, sugar, and additives.  The Van Houten Company is still in business and produces the best cocoa around.

It was not until 1876, however, that a Swiss manufacturer invented a way of producing milk chocolate.  To this day Swiss milk chocolates taste better than any other produced anywhere, partially because of the technique employed, but also because of the high quality of Swiss milk.

Inventive chefs have matched bitter chocolate with the most unlikely partners: fish, such poultry dishes as Mexican mole poblano de guajolote, turkey laced with a chocolate enriched chili sauce, and game, which Italians serve with salsa agrodolce, a sweet and sour sauce of wine vinegar, pine nuts, raisins, and bitter chocolate.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the history of chocolate is the changing attitude towards it over the years.  Montezuma II believed it to be an aphrodisiac and a source of great strength, but today chocolate is recognized to be one of the most perfect foods, rich in carbohydrates, vegetable oils, proteins, calcium, iron and phosphorous.

Chocolate bars are an essential part of a modern soldier’s survival kit, and the ideal source of quick energy for everyone from boy scouts to astronauts.  Surprisingly, cocoa producing nations are not great chocolate fanciers and arguably both Swiss and Belgians still produce the best chocolate. In days past, chocolate, the bitter Aztec drink from which the word chocolate is derived,   was thought to confer great energy on the drinker.

The first European to encounter cocoa in the form of a drink was Spaniard Hernan Cortes.

He saw Montezuma II in his palace enjoying the bitter drink by the cupful (1519) prior to

entering his “harem”.  Ruling Aztecs believed chocolate to have aphrodisiac properties

and consumed large quantities of it.  Even today, many chocoholics believe this to be true.

The history of chocolate is long, convoluted, and intriguing, to say the least.  Aztecs were so fond of cocoa beans that they even used them as a medium of exchange beside consuming vast quantities of it, if and when they could afford the luxury.  They consumed chocolate in the form of a bitter drink, since they had not mastered the art of extracting sugar from cane.

Spanish merchants were the first to introduce cocoa to Europe and invented a recipe for chocolate, which resembles the modern version we know and appreciate today.  The recipe was guarded jealously as it represented riches to Spain, and in particular, to Spanish chocolate manufacturers.

By 1657 chocolate cocoa houses were the rage of many Central and North European countries.

Chocolate recipes have been refined over the centuries through considerable research by scientists, technicians, and companies, all of which are guarded as jealously as the first recipes.

At the beginning of the 17th century Mexican ladies had their chocolate served during mass.  A rather strict bishop, who forbade this custom, died after poisoned chocolate was served to him for his breakfast.

Chocolate has been credited to give longevity.  In 1729 a Dutch traveller wrote about a councillor in Martinique who was 100 years of age and subsisted on chocolate and some biscuits.  Occasionally the councillor would eat a bowl of soup, but never fish, fowl, or meat.

He was so strong that at the age of 85 he could ride a horse without stirrups.

Madame d’Aulnoy, a French noble lady, reports about slim Spanish women who enjoyed hot, spiced with pepper chocolate in liberal quantities that helped “burn” all their fat internally!

The Swedish biologist Carl von Linée (1707-1778) who spent most of his life devising Latin and Greek names for every species of flora and fauna, was dissatisfied with the word cocoa and invented a new description “Theobroma cocoa” (Theobroma means food for the gods).  The scientific name of cocoa has remained the same ever since.

The quality of chocolate available to Carl von Linée was far from what connoisseurs enjoy today.  In those days recipes were crude and contained a large amount of ingredients to stretch the product.Some of the chocolates on the market were: oatmeal, acorn, barley, Icelandic moss, and rice chocolate.

Until well into the 17th century chocolate was enjoyed almost always in liquid form.  Men consumed the drink, which today has established itself as a food for children, as a “hard” drink.  It was a dense drink, spiced with pepper, sometimes diluted with wine, or even beer. However, some people were already diluting chocolate with milk.

In 19th century Berlin a “Royal Prussian Patented Chocolate Product” enjoyed some popularity.  It contained chocolate, sugar, and meat extracts.  At the end of the 19th century there were many chocolates, the recipes of which included by products of cocoa powder production.  Needless to say their taste left a lot to be desired.  Manufacturers who were trying to get rich quickly by passing on inferior quality products started to notice the emergence of Switzerland as a specialized chocolate manufacturing country.  In the 18th and 19th centuries chocolate manufacturing was carried out by hand and using only a

few rudimentary tools.

The custom of eating solid chocolate was invented in Spain (1674) and spread from there throughout Europe, particularly in England.  Rolls and cakes in the Spanish fashion were the rage in London.

The improvement of chocolate quality was the goal of many European, especially French nobility.  In one celebrated case, one who had disgraced a noble lady was served a cup of poisoned cocoa.  The suitor calmly drunk the chocolate, but found enough time to state, “The chocolate would have been better if you had added a little more sugar; the poison gives it a bitter flavour.  Think of this the next time you offer a gentleman chocolate.”

In the 17th century, chocolate as a drink was losing its popularity against tea and coffee.  This forced manufacturers to look for new production technology, which led to industrial processes leading to the manufacture of chocolate “blocks”.  Two centuries later the first Swiss factory was set up in a former mill near Vevey (Vaud). The founder, François-Louis Cailler, had learned the secrets of chocolate making in Piemonte (1814).

In 1875, after eight years of experimentation, Daniel Peter, a Swiss, was able to produce a milk chocolate and market it successfully.  Five years later Rodolphe Lindt (another Swiss) invented a chocolate that melted on the tongue.

In the beginning of the 20th century Spain fell behind in chocolate production and never recovered.

Germany became the leader in consumption, followed by the U.S.A., France, and Great Britain, but by1920 the Swiss were the most avid chocolate consumers and producers.

Switzerland must import cocoa, all the nuts, and often sugar too.  Swiss chocolate pioneers had to struggle hard for their subsequent “sweet” success.  All Swiss chocolate manufacturers were firmly united by a single objective: to improve the quality of chocolate.

Today the objective is consistent quality and innovation.  Names such as F.L. Cailler, P. Suchard, J. Foulguier, A. Maestrani, J. Klaus, D. Peter, H. Nestlé, R. Lindt, J. Tobler, and W. Kaiser, evoke innovators, entrepreneurs, and chocolate manufacturers who not only wanted to produce chocolate but were pre-occupied with quality and improving the taste of

their products.  Today, many of the grand chocolate manufacturers no longer exist.  Some have merged, Lindt and Sprüngli for example, Nestlé simply got bigger, and Suchard is part of General Foods.

There are many Swiss manufacturers that supply the second tier markets with less expensive products and there are some chocolatiers who specialize in hand crafted chocolates and truffles like Chocolatier du Rhône in Geneva, and Teuscher in Zürich, which has a shop in Toronto (the only one in Canada). Truffles are flown in weekly.

In the United Kingdom, the leading chocolate manufacturer is Cadbury, which was originally a one-man grocery store in Birmingham (1824).  The company was family business until 1969 when a merger between Schweppes and Cadbury took place.  Cadbury is a multi-national company and well respected by chocolate connoisseurs for its fine products. British are known for their proclivity to enjoy sweet food.  Chocolate is no exception.  The British are avid chocolate consumers.  There are many artisanal chocolatiers whose products are superb but only available in the region.

Belgium is an important chocolate producer and consumer.  There are many excellent Belgian chocolate manufacturers: Simone Marie, Neuhaus, Guylian, and Godiva are some that come to mind.

French have always been chocolate fanciers and produce large quantities of delightful chocolate.

Considerable amounts are used in pastries and cakes, but many French eat chocolate bars.

Chocolate du Rhône is one of the major French producers.  However, many artisanal shops turn out imaginative and excellent chocolates.

The Netherlands is world-famous for its cocoa but also produces fine chocolates.  Droste is one of the better known Dutch chocolate manufacturers.

The U.S.A. produces and consumes considerable amounts of chocolate.  Kraft, Hershey,

Ghirardelli, Godiva (a subsidiary of the Belgian), and Andes are only a few that come to mind.

The U.S.A. imports considerable amounts of chocolate, especially from Switzerland, Belgium , and France.

Canada produces a lot of chocolate in major urban centres (Montréal, Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary).  Canadian chocolate production is considerable but little of it is exported due to high internal demand.

The Belgian chocolate shop in Toronto is a small, but quality oriented company.  Callibaut, Murchie’s, Laura Secord (owned by Nestlé), Splendid, Purdy’s, Ganong, and Hershey are others that come to mind.

Dutch chocolate manufacturers enjoy an excellent reputation worldwide, while Swiss and Belgian chocolate manufacturers share the reputation of being the best.  There are those who claim other countries to be the best chocolate producers.  Some claim France and Britain to be unsurpassed.  Be that as it may, the fact remains that many chocolate manufacturing countries excel.  In the end, chocolate is the product of fine ingredients and flawless production techniques, but importantly, it is the individual manufacturer that creates it and chocoholics should strive to find them.

Undoubtedly, there are many excellent French chocolate manufacturers as there are Dutch and British.

Chocoholics always speak about chocolate producers and extol their production techniques, but most importantly, their products.


Chocolate sales peak just before Valentine’s Day, and it is said to be the best food for couples.

Archeologists claim that around 4000 B.C; cocoa trees were growing int eh ornoco basin (Venezuela) and along the Amazon Rivers.

Mayans were the first to cultivate the chocolate tree, but Aztecs, who took over from mayans, invented the mystique around it.

Chocolate was first used as a drink and then made into candy bars. It was moderately popular int eh 18the century but became extra popular after Fry and Sons concocted a bar consisting of liqueur, chocolate, sugar and cocoa butter.

Luisa Spagnoli, one of the founders of the company, invented the Perugina “Bacio”, the lover’s chocolate, in 1922. The recipe is still the same as invented.

The Turinese love chocolate and several master chocolatiers maintain thriving businesses. They are expert chocolate manufacturers still today.

100 grams of chocolate contains approximately 500 calories.

Chocolate quality increases by increasing the proporiotn of cocoa butter.

Chocolate contains up to 600 constituents and high doses of serotonin composed of theobromin and endorphin. Chocolate contains a high percentage of phosphorus, polyphenols that act as antioxidants, prevents atherochlorosis (thickening of arteries).

57 per cent of chocolate purchased by women.

The darker the chocolate, the higher the cocoa content and the greater the proportion of antioxidants.

Inexpensive chocolate contains less cocoa butter, and more hydrogenates oils that are harmful to your health. Belgium is world renowned for its high-quality chocolates.

Belgians are gourmets and value high-end chocolates. The country has more than 2100 specialized shops. Considering the fact that Belgium has a population of 10 million the ratio is very high. Some 172 000 tons of chocolate are produced annually, and a good portion of which is exported, but still Belgians consume a lot of chocolate.

In 2000 the European Union government decided to allow five per cent of cocoa butter to be replaced by vegetable fat. This offers an opportunity to manufacturers to save a great deal on cost, but quality suffers.

Purists always value chcoclates that contain 100 per cent cococa butter.

Neuhaus, Galler, Le Chocolatier Manon, Pierre Marcolini, Mary, Wittamer and Leonidas are some of the largest and best-known Belgian chocolate manufacturers.

Le Chocolatier Manon prides itself on traditional hand made pralines and offers a choice of 65 kinds including butter, nuts and fruits.

Extremely sweet chocolate tires the palate after a few pieces.

Now some manufacturers feature chocolates made exclusively from beans out Ghana, Ecuador or Venezuela. If you sample each side-by-side the taste differences are distinctly noticeable, almost like wine. The terror of the cocoa tree is very important. It contributes to the taste and quality of the final product. Criollo beans are considered to eb superior in taste to

Tasting chocolate:

Much like wine, chocolate lovers attend tastings of different manufacturers and their brands.

The difference between enjoying chocolate and tasting is – the former represents consumption, the latter consuming while evaluating flavour  and texture and paying attention to both.

Here are the steps:


Chocolate is mostly manufactured and consumed in the northern hemisphere, although all cocoa production occurs in the southern hemisphere.  The Swiss are the most ardent consumers with almost 11 kg per capita, whereas Japanese consume only 1.7 kg per capita.

Per Capita Chocolate Consumption in Selected Countries

Switzerland 10.9 kg Ireland 5.4 kg
Germany 10.0 kg Sweden 5.1 kg
Austria 9.9 kg U.S.A. 10.5 kg
Belgium 9.8 kg The Netherlands 4.4 kg
United Kingdom 8.1 kg Spain 3.7 kg
Norway 7.9 kg Finland 3.4 kg
France 6.4 kg Italy 3.2 kg
Australia 5.9 kg Japan 1.7 kg
Source: International Office of Chocolate and Filled Chocolate Manufacturers


Ripe Cocoa Pods

The cocoa bean, the heart of the sweetest delicacy in the world, is bitter.  Even bitter chocolate contains 40 percent sugar in order to make it palatable.  Because the bean is so bitter up to the 18th century the people of regions growing cocoa ate the sweetish flesh of the fruit.  The Aztecs used the beans as currency.

The cocoa tree thrives in the hottest regions of the world, mostly around the equator.  Young trees require ample shade to grow.  Many varieties of trees are planted among young trees to provide shade.  Preferred species are: Banana trees, coconut palm, lemon, and baobab trees.  Cocoa trees can grow up to 15 metres (50 feet) but in most cases they are pruned back to seven metres (20 feet) to facilitate harvesting.

Cocoa Kernels

The fruit grows on the trunk and both ripe and unripe fruits can be found on a tree at the same time.  The trees bear fruit three or four times a year (from May to October) when three or four years old.  The average yield per tree is approximately 20-30 fruits.  The cocoa pods are elongated, 15-25 cm (6-10”) long, with a diameter of 8-10 cm (3-4”).

The pod colour changes from green to yellow, and then to reddish-brown.

Inside the pod, enveloped in the white fruit pulp, and arranged in five rows, there are between 20-40 valuable, almond shaped cocoa beans.  Each tree annually produces approximately .5 to 2.5 kg (1-5 lb) of kernels known as cocoa beans.  The yield can be maintained for 30 to 40 years if proper care is expended on the tree.


There are two basic classifications of the cocoa tree: Forastero and Criollo, the latter is indigenous to Ecuador and Venezuela.  Criollo is a climate sensitive species and requires suitable sites and particular care.

The quality of Criollo beans is unsurpassed and exquisite chocolates contain a large proportion of Criollo cocoa beans, which possess a mild and fine aroma rendering them superior to Forastero beans.  Only ten percent of cocoa bean production is Criollo and demand tends to be high, thus the beans are very expensive.

Forastero cocoa trees are grown mostly in West Africa.  They are hardy and yield many pods but the beans tend to be bitter and coarse.  High yielding amelonado, a sub-variety of Forastero cocoa trees are being planted in the Upper Amazon region.

Cocoa bean shapes and lengths vary depending on variety, but generally range from 1-3 cm (1½ to 1¼ inches) in length and 1-1¾ cm (½  to ¾”) with a thickness of 8-12 mm (a to ½ inch).

Criollo beans possess a yellowish white colour while Forastero beans are dark purple in colour.

Cocoa leaves contain important nutritional components: protein, fats, starches, alkaloids, theobromin, and caffeine.


Immediately after harvesting the pod is treated to prevent rot.  It is split open and the beans are separated from the white pulp in which they are enveloped.  The fermentation process is a decisive factor in the quality of the cocoa beans.

The technique varies depending on the growing region.  In some locations the beans are put in heaps, in others they are laid out in baskets or in large specially designed boxes.  Usually the beans are covered with banana leaves to ferment for two to six days, depending on the variety.  Larger heaps are turned over several times to ensure an even fermentation.  Soon fruit bacteria start fermenting the pulp sugar.  During fermentation the temperature of cocoa beans increases to 45-50EC (90-100EF) and halts the germination

that otherwise would have taken place.  The juices produced during the fermentation contribute to the pleasant, typical cocoa aroma.


After fermentation cocoa beans still contain approximately 60 percent water, most of which must be removed to prevent rotting.  The beans are spread on a concrete surface and after seven to eight days most of the water evaporates.  The beans become darker and envelope a more pronounced aroma.  Now they are graded and packed in jute sacks of 45 kg (100 lb) to be exported to Europe and/or North America.


Cocoa trees thrive around the equator and grow between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. The tropical, moist, windless, and warm rain forests provide ideal conditions for the cocoa tree to grow and proliferate.

Mexico, Venezuela, and Ecuador are regarded as the original cocoa tree regions.  Brazil, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Malaysia, New Guinea, Philippines, Indonesia, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Gabon, Congo, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Peru, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Cuba are considered to be “newcomers” with considerable production of Forastero species of cocoa.

Approximately 65 percent of cococa comes from western African countries, and 40 percent of that from Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast).

Cocoa beans are shipped by boat.

There has been no attempt to vertically integrate cocoa bean production by chocolate manufacturers who prefer to purchase from specialized farmers who sell their product through the intermediary of brokers and exporters.


Once the cocoa beans arrive at the plant, they are pre-cleaned and stored in giant silos towering up to 40 metres (120 feet) capable of storing up to 1,000 tonnes of product.  Constant ventilation and humidity are important factors to maintain quality.

Subsequently, the beans are cleaned and screened once more, then roasted to enhance their aroma and to remove the husks.  The intensity of the roast is regulated depending on the final product.  In some cases a light roast will suffice, while in other

cases a heavy roast is desirable, i.e., semi-sweet, and bitter chocolate.

Roasting may occur in fully automatic machines or in bath roasting equipment depending on quantities involved.

The roasting process lasts anywhere from 15-20 minutes and reaches temperatures of up to 130EC 300EF).

The husk of the beans becomes brittle and is eventually removed while the bean gets dark brown acquiring a mild taste. After roasting and de-husking the beans are crushed into medium-sized pieces.  Husks are collected and sold to a variety of chemical plants which extract valuable ingredients.

Every chocolate factory employs secret formulae for blending the different cocoa beans to achieve their taste and texture objectives and consistency of their product.  This is particularly important for plain chocolate bars.


The crushed beans, which are relatively coarse, are now finely ground and fed into rollers to be converted into a fine paste.  During the process the cell walls break down thus releasing the fat or cocoa butter.

The heat generated during the grinding process melts the cocoa butter, which results in a semi-liquid mixture that sets after cooling.  This mass is called the cocoa paste.

At this stage the paste can be further processed to yield pure cocoa butter, or used for chocolate production.

A cocoa compound may contain up to 20 percent fat which is much less than the original fat content of the butter (50 per cent).  The by-product of this process yields the fat-free

cocoa powder.

Cocoa butter is one of the most important components of all chocolates, and appropriately, extremely valuable.  The intensity, quality, and quantity of the cocoa butter is an important taste and texture determinants.  Quantities and qualities of the cocoa butter addition to each chocolate brand a jealously guarded secret.


Cocoa powder is a by-product of the cocoa butter extraction.  Once the fat-free cake is obtained, it is further processed to produce a finely ground powder sold as cocoa.  If sugar is added, it is marketed as sweetened cocoa powder.  Chocolate powder contains all the ingredients of pure chocolate and should not be confused with cocoa powder.  It is produced from the cocoa fat by a special process.


The pure, unprocessed chocolate paste is still bitter and coarse.  Cocoa butter, extracted from it, must be further processed to obtain chocolate.  In order to produce a tasty and satisfying chocolate, powdered sugar, cocoa butter, and flavouring agents, such as vanilla, and/or milk must be blended along with chocolate paste.  Nuts may be added to special chocolates.  If nuts and/or other ingredients such as raisins are added, further roasting and drying must take place to prevent molding.

Different chocolate pastes are blended to achieve a variety of tastes and textures, both of which are crucial determining factors in quality and price.

Milk chocolate production requires powdered milk.  A 120 gram (four ounce) bar contains the equivalent of one glass (8 oz) milk.  After blending and formulation the chocolate mass tastes fine but possesses a coarse and harsh texture.


The paste is now fed into rolling machines, which pulverize tiny cocoa particles and sugar to 30 microns[1] by gradually increasing pressure and the slack between the rollers.


Conching may be considered one of the most important production steps with regard to texture.  At this stage the flavours are still not in full harmony, lacking purity and smoothness.  Fine balance and aroma are still far from perfect.  During conching the chocolate paste is refined mainly from a texture perspective and secondly from an aroma perspective.

Conching machines consist of heatable metal troughs and may have from 100 to 1,000 kg (220 – 2,200 lb), equipped with an arm to which a roller is attached.  The chocolate mass is placed in the conching machine and heated to 50 – 90EC (100 –180EF) to be rolled back and forth.            Conching provides the velvety smoothness to the final product.  The longer a chocolate is conched, the finer its texture becomes.  This process can last as little as 24 hours and as long as 72.

The velvety texture of a chocolate is highly desirable, but long conching increases production costs, hence, fine textured chocolates are more expensive.

The word conch is derived from Spanish “concha” which means shell.  Today manufacturers use both circular and traditionally shaped rhomboidal conching machines although the former are becoming more popular.

Chocolates conched between 12 – 24 hours tend to be gritty and of a dull colour.

After conching the mass is tempered and processed to the final product, or stored, either in liquid or solid form to be processed at a later date.


If the mass is to be processed further it must be cooled gradually and formed into bars or truffles.

Other fruit and nut additives are now incorporated into the mass, formed as desired, and fully cooled

be packaged.


cocoa beans º cleaning º roasting º crushing º blending º grinding º kneading of cocoa paste (cocoa paste, cocoa butter, sugar [plus milk (optional)] º rolling º conching º tempering º forming º packaging


cocoa paste º pressing   º cocoa butter ú   cocoa cake º crushing º sieving º packaging of cocoa powder


fruits and/or nuts and chocolate º molding º tapping / cooling º de-molding º wrapping


centre º coating º decorating º wrapping º packaging



Chocolates are generally divided into two categories: plain (dark or bitter) and milk.

White chocolate is a separate group and may be plain or flavoured with a variety of nuts.

Plain chocolates may be mixed with crushed or whole nuts (pistachios, filberts, almonds), raisins, candied fruits, or filled with fruit purées, liqueurs, chilli, vanilla, kirsch eau de vie, cognac, liqueurs, coffee and creams.  Liqueur filled chocolates have a limited shelf life and consumers should watch for the best before date on the box.

Dark chocolates comes in different cocoa butter  content from 70, 85, and 90.

Using cocoa butter milk and sugar produces the popular “white chocolate”.  It does not contain cocoa paste, and lacks the distinctive chocolate taste.

Herbert Candies first manufactured white chocolate in 1955, and Mars was the first in the U.S.A.

Some of the chocolate fillings are:

<    Croquant  — caramelized sugar, mixed with crushed nuts.

<    Nougat — whipped egg whites, boiled sugar or honey, mixed with almonds, other nuts, and candied fruit.

<    Truffles — chocolate, butter, sugar, cream, flavouring agents.

Note: This is for the manufactured truffle.  Artisanal chocolatiers use exclusively chocolate, sweet butter, flavouring agents in the form of nuts, liquors or liqueurs, and cream (see below).

<    Gianduja — nuts or almonds, sugar, and milk, or plain chocolate.

<    Marzipan — liquid sugar, mixed with ground almonds

<    Crème Fondant — sugar and flavouring agents.

Liqueur filled chocolates contain a sugar lining to help preserve the consistency of the liquid.


Chocolate truffles consist of cream, butter, chocolate, and a variety of flavouring agents, which range from liqueurs to nuts and other compatible ingredients.  The chocolate mass is first melted and mixed with butter and other ingredients, then cooled, and formed into balls before it hardens fully.

There are machine made truffles, which are round, and filled chocolate shells, and hand made truffles, which display the skill of the maker.  Hand made truffles are an extremely flavourful delicacy, that melt in the mouth. They have a short shelf life, a week maximum.

Anyone with a strong will and a little practice can make delicious truffles at a fraction of the cost charged in specialized stores.  The question remains whether you have the time and inclination to clean after making the truffles.

Many manufacturers market machine made truffles, which are fine but cannot compete with those hand made by skilled professionals.

Teuscher of Zürich, Chocolatier du Rhône of Geneva, Godiva of Brussels, Neuhaus

of Belgium, Belgian Chocolates of Toronto, Caullebaut of Calgary, Eitelbach, Laura Secord of Toronto, and many others from France, the United Kingdom, and the U.S.A. produce hand made truffles.


Many countries lack government set, minimum chocolate quality standards and labelling

regulations.  Some have fine products others are substandard.  The Swiss government is one the few that promulgated minimum chocolate quality standards and labelling requirements to ensure consumer protection.

Plain Swiss chocolate must contain a minimum of 35 per cent cocoa components and no more than 65 percent sugar; milk chocolate, at least 14 percent milk, 25 percent cocoa mass, and a maximum of 55 percent sugar.  All additional ingredients in the chocolate, i.e., nuts, and candied fruits must be indicated on the label as a percentage of the total weight.  The total weight of the chocolate must be displayed on the label prominently.


Chocolate’s nutritive value has been known and appreciated by many people and especially by mountain climbers for a long time.  It contains substantial amounts of calories and other nutritive ingredients.


Plain Chocolate

Milk Chocolate


















Mineral Elements









Chocolate is a delicate product and should be stored at 13EC (58EF) and 50 percent humidity.  Temperatures in excess 20EC (75EF) over a long period are detrimental to the quality of the product.  Refrigeration may cause a “bloom” (a dust-like film on the surface), which is harmless but unsightly.  It is best to purchase chocolate from retailers with a high turnover to ensure quality.


Many countries manufacture chocolate.  Some enjoy a better reputation than others.  The known chocolate manufacturing countries are:

The Netherlands
The United Kingdom


<    U.K.: Cadbury, Fortnum and Mason, Harrod’s, Bendicks, J.S. Fry. In the U.K. most manufacturers purchase their chocolate from three sources: Barry Callebaut, Cargill, and Archer Daniels Midland and proceed with theire formulations and add a variety of other flavouring agents).

<    Switzerland: Nestlé, Lindt und Sprüngli, Maestrani, Alpenrose, Suchard, Tobler, and others all owned by Kraft, Cailler, Villars, Felchlin, Frey, Camille Bloch, Carma (industrial block chocolate only)

<    Belgium: Guylian, Godiva, Caullebaut,

Neuhaus, Simone Marie, Leonidas, Cote d’Or Chocolatier.

<    Sweden: Kraft (Maribol)

<    U.S.A.: Guittard (CA), Chocolats le Français (IL), Ghrirardelli (CA), Chocolov (CO), Donnelly (CA), Fran’s Chocolates (WA), Godiva (NY), Joseph Schmidt Confections (KY, GA, OH), L.A. Burdich Chocolates (NH), Hershey (PA), Li-Lac Chocolates (NY), Scharfenberger Chocolate Maker (CA), Spaggia (IL), Andes (WI), Valentino (CA), Kraft (CA), Splendid (NY), Russell Stover, Blommer, Hershey’s, Mars, Jaques Torres, Scharffen Berger.

<    Canada: Hershey (ON), Belgian Chocolates (ON), Splendid (PQ), Cadbury-Schweppes (ON), Purdy’s (BC), Rogers (BC), Callebaut (AL and ON), Rogers, Ganong (NB), Splendid, La Petite Grange (PQ), Olivia Chocolatiers.

<    Finland: Fazer

<    France: Valrhôna, Chocolate le Notre, Chocolat Poulain, Michel Cluziel, Bonnat.

<    Germany: Hachez (Bremen), Sarotti (Berlin), Wissol (Frankfurt am Main), Stoll, Ritter Sport.

Italy: Amadei, Ferrero, Perugina, Novi
Denmark: Anton Berg
Austria: Zotter Schokoladen Manufaktur
Russia: Kruspskaya Factor

Estonia: Kalev
Poland: E. Wedel
Vewnezuela: El Rey
Spain: Chocolates Valors
South Africa: Coti

Japan: Royce, Meiji



One Comment