Dark chocolate is chocolate made without milk. European law does not recognise the adjectives ‘dark’ or ‘plain’ usually added to this chocolate; it’s just known as ‘chocolate’. Dark chocolate should contain a minimum of 35% cocoa solids, at least 18% of which should be cocoa butter. However, the cocoa content can be, and often is, much higher than this, and can reach up to 80% and even 90%. High-quality dark chocolate has a more bitter taste than chocolate confectionery. It can be eaten as a snack or incorporated into rich cakes, sauces or desserts.
According to the experts, a good dark chocolate should contain at least 70 per cent cocoa solids to deliver the desired chocolate hit, but chocolate made from 100 per cent cocoa solids is available from speciality chocolate shops.
Properly stored, dark chocolate will keep for a year.