Why is White Rabbit Chocolate superior to other cheaper chocolate brands?
White Rabbit works with ‘Extra Fine’ chocolate, which in a similar way to Extra Virgin Olive oil, is considered to be superior. As there are grades of Olive oil (Extra Virgin, Virgin and standard), there are grades of chocolate (Extra Fine, Fine and standard).
Strictly speaking it is the cocoa content - the percentage of cocoa mass and cocoa butter from the original bean - which determines the quality of the chocolate. The higher this percentage, the higher the quality of the final product.
In reality, the phrase ‘Extra Fine’ relates to the whole process of chocolate production - the quality of the cocoa plantation and it’s beans, the methods used to process the beans, and the ‘crafting stage’, where skilled chocolatiers prepare the chocolate for moulding in a process called tempering. Below we expand on each of these qualities that combine to make delicious and well- sourced chocolate.
Cocoa trees are sensitive and require expert care by educated growers. The cocoa pods themselves, if harvested incorrectly can kill the parent tree. By using responsible farmers and co-operatives that look after the crop, we can ensure quality beans and a fair deal for the growers. As you can imagine, this is more expensive.
During processing the beans are first roasted then pressed. Mass market beans are more heavily roasted to achieve a homogeneous flavour; this eradicates some of the finer flavour notes and disguises the often poorer quality beans used. For Extra Fine’ chocolate, the process is quite the opposite; beans are roasted according to what retains their best flavour notes.
In pressing, cocoa butter is extracted leaving behind cocoa mass. As cocoa butter is more valuable a commodity to sell as a cosmetic product (e.g. creams and lipsticks), many companies will sell their cocoa butter and later recombine vegetable oils into their chocolate. Quality producers will use 100% cocoa butter only.
In Ed’s own words “The final step is the skill of crafting the chocolate. Chocolate goes through a process called tempering - a delicate process. A well-tempered chocolate will taste better, be shinier, it will look better, will have a better snap”. Artisan chocolatiers will temper chocolate in small batches, will be observant, and may even use a marble slab, “complex and masterful techniques” that cannot be used by mass producers.
Government guidelines state that for ‘Extra Fine’ milk chocolate cocoa solids should be 30% minimum, and 69% minimum for dark chocolate. Although there is no definition for White chocolate because it does not contain cocoa mass, superior white chocolate uses 100% cocoa butter.
For more information about White Rabbit Chocolatiers visit https://whiterabbitchocolatiers.co.uk .
Produced by Lara Blythe and Ed Hawkes