The Chocolate Tooth

Types of Chocolate

There are three main types of chocolate, according to Hershey's.

Although there are three main types of chocolate (dark, milk and white), there are also subsets of each type.

Chocolates are defined by their composition -- ingredients and how much of each ingredient is used. In order for a chocolate to be classified as a certain type it must meet the standards of identity set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, at least it does if it's going to be sold in the U.S.

Milk chocolate

Photo of bar of milk chocolate

Milk chocolate is the most common type of chocolate in the U.S. and is usually eaten in the form of a candy bar.

It's made by mixing and grinding chocolate liquor with sweeteners, cream, milk or butter.

To be considered milk chocolate, the chocolate must have at least 10 percent chocolate liquor and 12 percent milk solids to meet the FDA standard of identity.

Buttermilk chocolate and skim milk chocolate are types of milk chocolate.

White chocolate

Photo of bar of white chocolate

White chocolate is similar to milk chocolate in composition, but white chocolate doesn't contain chocolate liquor or cocoa powder, so technically it's not even a real chocolate. (But it's so good that we consider it chocolate anyway.)

It's made by mixing and grinding cacao fat with sweeteners, cream, milk or butter, and sometimes spices.

To be considered white chocolate, the chocolate must be made of at least 20 percent cacao fat (butter), at least 3.5 percent milkfat, at least 14 percent milk solids and no more than 55 percent sweeteners, to meet the FDA standard of identity.

Because of its stark contrast of color, white chocolate is often used as a decorative chocolate for desserts and sweets.

Dark chocolate

Photo of bar of dark chocolate

Although dark chocolate is one of the most popular chocolates in the U.S., there is no official standard set by the FDA for dark chocolate. There are official standards for semisweet and sweet chocolates, however, which are both considered types of dark chocolate.

Sweet chocolate contains sweeteners and at least 15 percent chocolate liquor, by FDA standards.

Semisweet chocolate has cocoa butter, chocolate liquor and less sweeteners than does sweet chocolate. To meet standards, semisweet chocolate must be at least 35 percent chocolate liquor with a fat content between 30 and 35 percent.