Regulate this….

While the government is contemplating adding more regulations to the financial industry, maybe they should consider adding regulations to the labeling of chocolate. Couldn’t they slip in a chocolate rule, kind of like they slip in earmarks to save the wooden arrow makers?

It’s no wonder everyone is confused about semisweet and bittersweet chocolate. Or the new “dark” milk chocolates on the market. Real chocolate is composed of two main ingredients: the cocoa mass (called chocolate liquor) and cocoa butter. Both are by products of the cacao bean.

I saw an ad recently for Ghirardelli baking chips. It was the picture of the dark chocolate cookies studded with even more chocolate that caught my eye. Ghirardelli makes a semisweet chocolate chip that doesn’t specify the percentage cacao, and a baking chip that is labeled 60%.

So I am curious about how much chocolate liquor is really in the semisweet chocolate. The Chocolate Manufacturer’s Association says that semisweet generally contains 35% to 45% and bittersweet contains at least 50%. Milk chocolate can contain as much as 56% chocolate liquor. And, products labeled “dark chocolate” can contain as little as 15% chocolate liquor and up to 12% milk solids. Huh? If it has milk solids, isn’t it milk chocolate? Apparently not.

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