What are the 8 main types of chocolate?

1 Jun 2023

Chocolate Knowledge

There’s far more to chocolate than the traditional dark, milk and white. But can you name them all? 

We all have our favourite types of chocolate. Perhaps you love the delicate vanilla flavours of creamy white chocolate, adore mellow milk chocolate or can’t get enough of dark chocolate’s deep cacao notes. But beyond these classics, there’s a whole world of flavours, textures, and aromas. Let’s take a look at some of the most widely appreciated chocolate types — and a few of the more unusual ones.

Three chocolate bars with different cacao contents

How many types of chocolate are there?

Chocolate is popular and complex, making it only natural that many varieties have developed. Of course white, dark and milk chocolates are the classics, but there is so much more available. Some varieties are still emerging, while others are for more niche tastes.

So let’s go through the eight main types of chocolate. For this list, we’re not counting chocolates mixed with other ingredients, like fruit or nuts. Yes, they’re delicious but let’s save that for another article. Instead, we’re focusing on the different types of chocolate themselves.

Who knows? You might discover an irresistible new favourite.

1. Milk chocolate

The most popular of all chocolate varieties and a real crowd-pleaser. The milk transforms those dark, bitter cacao notes into something rich, sweet and creamy. Our mellow and smooth milk chocolates contain a higher cacao percentage than many other brands. This lends it a rich and satisfying flavour profile and ensures a lower sugar content.

However, don’t confuse popularity with blandness. Milk chocolate is incredibly versatile and blends well with a variety of different ingredients. From fruits to liqueurs, our milk chocolate enhances and balances these different flavour combinations.

Discover our milk chocolate range.

2. White chocolate

Rich and creamy, white chocolate is a firm favourite with chocolate lovers of all ages.

However, despite being utterly satisfying, white chocolate is technically not chocolate, as it contains no cacao solids. Instead, it contains cacao butter, sugar, and milk solids, which creates that distinctive creamy texture. You’ll often find a hint of vanilla, giving white chocolate its subtle sweetness.

Our dreamy white chocolate is made with lots of natural cacao butter — a minimum of 36%m, in fact — so the irresistible melt starts the moment you bite in. As well as making a delicious chocolate on its own, white chocolate pairs beautifully with sharp acidic flavours, like strawberries and passion fruit. Our Eton Mess Selector showcases the harmony of white chocolate and refreshing strawberry perfectly.

Coffee and white chocolate

3. Dark chocolate

Often seen as one of the more grown-up types of chocolate, the intense taste of dark chocolate is only for true chocolate lovers. High levels of cacao are requisite, and ours feature at least 70%.

With no milk to give dark chocolate creaminess, we need to balance high levels of cacao with cacao butter to maintain a smooth melt. Using too little cacao butter can result in a chalky texture, which we avoid at all costs.

Some people believe dark chocolate can taste bitter, but this oversimplifies all the rich variations of flavours and texture. The cacao plant, the process and the amount of sugar and cacao butter used all impact the taste of the chocolate.

4. Supermilk chocolate

Our new Supermilk has all the pleasure of milk chocolate and all the power of dark. This revolutionary new genre delivers our most intense milk chocolate experience.

What makes it special? 65% of pure cacao, a splash of milk and less sugar than a dark chocolate bar. The decadently high cacao content means one small portion of Supermilk satisfies your chocolate cravings.

Our Supermilk journey started after buying a cacao estate on the island of Saint Lucia in 2006. We experimented with high cacao milk chocolate, reducing the sugar and increasing the cacao until we found the perfect balance. Soon a fan club developed around this premium dark milk chocolate — and we can see why.

Why not try our Batons for a snappable bite of satisfying Supermilk?

Hotel Chocolat Supermilk chocolate collection

5. 100% chocolate

The purest and darkest chocolate. Definitely not for the faint-hearted, but then again, we believe more people would appreciate the rich variations of this intense cacao experience if they tried it.

This chocolate type is often used for baking — but you can certainly enjoy it on its own, too. Like espresso drinkers, who love tasting all the varieties of concentrated black coffee, our 100% chocolate offers similar opportunities for exploration.

100% cacao chocolate has a malty, savoury taste, packed with intricate flavours and undertones. Nothing gets between you and the cacao bean, so high quality is essential. One small bite unlocks a complex range of tasting notes.

Why not make the most intense hot chocolate with 100% Dark Hot Chocolate Sachets? Prepare it with our Velvetiser for a smooth, barista-grade texture.

The Velvetiser and Pod Cup

6. Ruby chocolate

This young upstart is fast becoming a popular favourite. Ruby chocolate is defined by its vibrant pink colour, making it the perfect bar for the image-conscious, social media age.

There is some debate on how exactly ruby chocolate gains that distinctive hue. However, it seems likely to be a combination of choosing certain bean varieties and the shortened fermentation process.

However, there is far more to ruby chocolate than a vivid colour. The “fourth” variety shares flavours with other types of chocolate while also adding some unique ones of its own. The high cacao butter content creates delicious creaminess and yet it is neither bitter, milky nor sweet. There is also a bright, berry flavour with sour notes and a clean finish.

7. Nutmilk

Nutmilk is a staggeringly creamy new chocolate genre, made with finely milled hazelnuts instead of milk. We like to think of this variety not as the vegan option but as a rich, complex chocolate that happens to be vegan*. Our chocolatiers spent five years refining the recipe until we created something that would genuinely excite you.

Smooth and mellow, at 45% cacao, Nutmilk has that tasting signature you expect from all Hotel Chocolat milk chocolate recipes. Despite using hazelnut it only has a nutty undertone, and instead tastes deeply chocolatey.

Our Raspberry Nutmilk Ganache Selector is a masterclass in flavour matching — if we do say so ourselves. Pairing mellow Nutmilk with 70% dark chocolate and tart pressed raspberries, these truffles offer a nuanced balance that’s sure to please the taste buds.

*We believe our dark and Nutmilk chocolate is suitable for vegans. However, as it is made in the same environment as our milk chocolate we cannot guarantee it is free from milk.

8. Blonde chocolate

Next up in our list of favourite types of chocolate: Blonde. Blonde chocolate is like white chocolate with a whole extra personality. With a golden, caramel colour and depth of flavour, brimming with toasted notes, it has a fuller taste than traditional white chocolate.

Essentially, to produce blonde chocolate you first need white chocolate. Then you put it through a biochemical process known as the Maillard reaction, which is similar to caramelisation but involves amino acids — not just sugar.

Some people claim blonde chocolate isn’t “real” chocolate as it’s created from white chocolate. Either way, the result is a chocolate with irresistible notes of butterscotch, toffee, and shortbread.

Want to learn more about blonde chocolate? Take a look at our guide to discover more about its origins.

Squares of blonde chocolate

Find your ideal chocolate with the Hotel Chocolat Love Match

Now you know the eight varieties of chocolate, which is right for you? If you don’t know, then don’t worry. Our Hotel Chocolat Love Match uses our 20 years of studying chocolate flavour profiles to find the perfect ones for you.

Take the Hotel Chocolat Love Match now.

Chocolate types for all tastes at Hotel Chocolat

Whatever your chocolate preferences, we provide a wide range of types, grades, and combinations to suit every palate. If you enjoy the pure flavours of solid chocolate, try our Batons and Slabs — smooth and crisp, with a melt-in-the-mouth sensation. For the caramel lovers, explore our Salted Caramel Chocolate. And if you need a special treat with your morning coffee, have a look at our Cookie Chocolate.

We create chocolate for every occasion.

Discover our full range of chocolate — which will be your new favourite?