Often contrasted with “commodity chocolate,” craft chocolate is typically:
- made in small batches;
- from high-quality, traceable cocoa, where beans have been sourced for proper fermentation, drying, and storage;
- with the goal of being savored for flavor, balance, length, and complexity.
The place of manufacture is also often clearly stated for craft chocolate.
Makers of craft chocolate may adopt a “less is more” approach, using only cocoa solids, cocoa butter, and minimal sugar. They will typically roast the whole cocoa bean, and conche to reveal what they consider to be the cocoa’s optimal flavors in the finished chocolate*.
Craft chocolate makers often pride themselves on using ingredients that are readily recognizable, and typically present in home kitchens. They tend not to use artificial preservatives, flavor enhancers, bulking agents, and so forth.
They may also prioritize paying above-market prices for cocoa, as well as environmental protections at origin.
Consuming craft chocolate is about “savoring,” not “scoffing.” Savoring chocolate allows us to appreciate the flavors of the cocoa bean. It takes 5-30 seconds for all the flavors to emerge, so consumers need to sit back and enjoy the journey.
In contrast to savoring, “scoffing” chocolate is about the “bliss point” combination of sweet, salty, and fatty tastes. These appear in less than half a second, and make you want to just keep getting that sugar, salt, and fat hit. When scoffing, the chocolate is incidental – it’s “just” another commodity ingredient.
To continue reading about chocolate, see here a list of top books.
*In the case of 100% and white chocolate, respectively no sugar or cocoa solids are involved.
Próximamente versión en español
Entry added: November 28, 2022
Verified on: September 14, 2023
Spencer Hyman, Partner and Co-Founder at Navigator Commerce, Inc. Cocoa Runners
Distributor / Retailer
“What is craft chocolate?” Cocoa Runners, not dated (accessed February 15, 2023)
The True History of Chocolate, Sophie Coe and Michael D. Coe, London: Thames & Hudson Ltd, 2019.
Making Chocolate: From Bean to Bar to S’more, Todd Masonis, Greg D’ Alesandre, Lisa Vega and Molly Gore, New York: Clarkson Potter, 2017.
The New Taste of Chocolate: A Cultural and Natural History of Cacao with Recipes, Maricel E. Presilla, Berkeley: Ten Speed Press, 2009.
Cocoa, Kristy Leissle, Cambridge: Polity Press, 2017.
Chocolate – The Reference Standard, Georg Bernardini, The Chocolate Tester, 2015.
Chocolate Unwrapped: Taste and Enjoy the World’s Finest Chocolate, Sarah Jane Evans, Pavilion Books, 2010.
Chocolate: History, Culture, and Heritage, Louis E. Grivetti and Howard-Yana Shapiro, Wiley, 2009.
Meaningful Work: A Quest to Do Great Business, Find Your Calling, and Feed Your Soul, Shawn Askinosie, TarcherPerigee, 2017.
Casa Cacao: The Return Trip to the Origin of Chocolate, Ignacio Medina and Jordi Roca, Grub Street Publishing, 2019.
Yearbook: Chocolate from Farm to Table, Pump Street
Essence of Chocolate: Recipes For Baking And Cooking With Fine Chocolate, Robert Steinberg and John Scharffenberger, Hyperion Books, 2006.
From Bean to Bar: A Chocolate Lover’s Guide to Britain, Andrew Baker, AA Publishing, 2019.
The Art and Craft of Chocolate: An enthusiast’s guide to selecting, preparing and enjoying artisan chocolate at home, Nathan Hodge, Quarto Publishing Group, 2018.
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