Did you know there is legislation defining what is – and isn’t – milk chocolate? We look at how much cocoa you actually need to make milk chocolate, and what we think tastes best.
Although cocoa and milk have been drunk together since the 1600s, milk chocolate in its solid form is a more modern invention. Swiss chocolatier Daniel Peter created the first solid milk chocolate bar in 1876 and other manufacturers were quick to follow his lead. Its smooth and creamy texture soon won people over, and milk chocolate has been gracing our shelves ever since.
How much cocoa do you need to make milk chocolate?
Milk chocolate is generally made out of cocoa, sugar, milk solids and an emulsifier. However, cocoa is an expensive ingredient, and it’s cheaper to use artificial flavourings and colours to emulate the milk chocolate taste while using a very small percentage of cocoa powder. That’s why, the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) introduced a minimum cocoa percentage in 2003 to be able to label a product “milk chocolate.”
In the UK, milk chocolate can only be called milk chocolate if it has a minimum of 20% cocoa solids and 20% milk solids. In the EU, however, the minimum percentage of cocoa for milk chocolate is 25%, although UK-style 20-24% cocoa milk chocolate like Cadburys Dairy Milk can be sold on the continent as long as it is labelled “family milk chocolate.” In the United States, the required amount of cocoa solids is just 10%.
How much cocoa is in Hotel Chocolat’s milk chocolate?
At Hotel Chocolat, we don’t compromise on flavour. That’s why we created a variety of milk chocolates, so that you can find the right chocolate taste which best suits your palette. Our mantra is “more cocoa, less sugar,” meaning our chocolate is designed to make the delicious notes of cocoa take centre stage, as we don’t let its nuanced accents become dimmed by the sugar content.
Our traditional milk chocolate is made with a minimum of 40% cocoa, so that you get all the flavours of high-quality cocoa, perfectly blended with full cream milk. Our milk chocolate went through a four-stage taste testing process before we were happy with it, and we think our recipe creates an ideal balance, giving you a mellow, creamy chocolate bar.
This chocolate was designed for chocoholics who wanted a little less sugar and a little more depth of cocoa. With 22% less sugar than our 40% cocoa milk chocolate, this chocolate is still as gorgeously creamy, and gives you a richer cocoa flavour.
Back in 2015, we changed everything. With 65% cocoa, a splash of milk and almost half the sugar of our 40% milk chocolate, this revolutionary blend gives you a rich cocoa flavour with the creamy characteristics of a milk chocolate.
How can I tell how much cocoa is in my milk chocolate?
Almost all chocolate in the UK has to designate the amount of cocoa solids on the label of the chocolate. Generally, the higher the cocoa content, the better the quality of the chocolate, but make sure you check to see if they have any artificial colours or flavours that could mean the cacao beans aren’t of a good quality. Some brands use large amounts of sugar in order to dull the flavour of poor quality cocoa, so if the sugar levels are extremely high, then this could be an indicator that you should choose a different chocolate.
At Hotel Chocolat, we use nothing artificial ever. We make sure that we’re giving you the best quality – and best tasting – chocolate possible, and we are transparent in our ingredients and our process. We directly grow some of our cacao beans at our St Lucia farm, meaning we have an in-depth knowledge of how to cultivate the best flavour chocolate, from roots to wrapper. All this expertise has been put into our milk chocolate recipes, so you get the best quality and the best flavour, always.