Chococo co-founder Claire BurnetHello all, co-founder Claire here sharing one of my favourite bugbears - sugar & its place in chocolate.

The Chocolate Market

As you know, here at Chococo, we care very passionately about working with fine origin chocolate made with high cocoa solids and low sugar (& definitely no palm oil or any other vegetable fats that have no place in fine chocolate).  This fine chocolate also has lots of additional health benefits which I will talk about in my next blog next week.

Sadly, I think that whilst it is changing as awareness grows, we as a nation have had a pretty poor relationship with chocolate as we have been trained to think of it as a cheap sweet food for so long by the huge companies who churn out chocolate bars made with very low % of cocoa (as that is relatively expensive), often replacing some of the cocoa butter (the fat part of the cocoa bean) with cheaper vegetable fats (including palm oil) and adding in lots & lots of cheap, addictive sugar. The end result being that you are not getting a chocolate fix when you are eating products like these, you are getting a sugarfix which has no benefits whatsoever.

Cutting Back On Sugar

Here at Chococo we are chocoholics, not sugarholics, & we have always believed in offering our customers fine chocolate that tastes of chocolate, not sugar & vegetable fat. Working in the fine chocolate industry for nearly 15 years now has changed my palette too - although I am a chocolatier, I have a much less sweet tooth now than i did when Andy & I started our Chococo journey back in 2002. This has happened to everyone who works for us too - as you start to appreciate the flavours of fine chocolate, you also appreciate just how sweet most commercially available chocolate products out there are and that, if you cut back on the sugar, you can let the cocoa flavours sing through.

The Chococo Difference

To bring this to life a little for you - lets focus on milk chocolate as it still outsells dark chocolate by a long way in this country.|

Milk chocolate should be made with just 3 key ingredients:

  1. Cocoa solids (the technical term for the chocolate part - a combination of cocoa powder (which contributes the flavour & colour of chocolate) & cocoa butter (the fat part of the bean which contributes the "melt" but relatively little flavour). By the way, whilst is known as "butter", cocoa butter has nothing to do with anything dairy.
  2. Milk solids - always added as milk powder and often at around 20-25% of the total amount of a bar
  3. Sugar - ideally cane sugar for finer flavour
  4. A tiny amount of (should be natural) vanilla is sometimes added
  5. Most chocolates also contain a tiny amount of soya (or sunflower) lecithin as an emulsifier to help the fats & sugars bond


What chocolate certainly shouldnt contain is any vegetable fat but sadly lots do as these fats are much cheaper than cocoa butter, so some of that is removed & replaced with palm oil etc...All they are doing is cutting costs. These fats are cheap and there is no valid reason for their inclusion. Sugar is also cheap & sugar is addictive, so if a chocolate product has been adulterated with "vegetable fats in addition to cocoa butter" as stated on their packaging, there is a strong chance that it will also contain a lot of sugar.

For example, the UK's leading milk chocolate brand contains 20% min cocoa solids + 20% min milk solids - the balance there or thereabouts is added sugar.

Other widely available brands (like the one that asks why you would want cotton when you can have silk) may offer slightly more cocoa solids (25%) but then reduce the amount of milk to 14%, thereby maintaining a very high level of added sugar and, by the way, both contain palm oil.

Leading continental brands start at a higher level of cocoa at around 30% but the milk element is usually around 20-25%, so the amount of sugar added is slightly less & they do not adulterate their chocolate with any vegetable fats.

By comparison, our Venezuelan origin milk chocolate contains more than double the amount of cocoa solids (43%) vs the leading UK brand whilst including a very similar level of milk solids (19%), so the added sugar % is already reduced to 38% (and no palm oil of course). So our milk chocolate has a much stronger chocolate taste as it is not overpowered by huge amounts of sugar. It also doesnt contain any soya lecithin whch is a nice bounty bonus.

Low Sugar Chocolate

MegaMilk Chocolate Easter EggHowever, we have been keen for a while to offer an even higher cocoa solids & lower sugar milk chocolate as there is increasing interest & awareness in all the issues connected with sugar. For instance, when trying to remain healthy, low sugar is a good starting point, but is there such thing as a 'healthy chocolate'?

So we are thrilled to announce that we are one of the first UK chocolate companies to make Easter eggs with this new very low sugar couverture produced from tree to chocolate in its country of origin, Madagascar.

It only arrived in the UK a few months ago and we have decided to call it  our Madagascar MegaMilk to go with its sister low sugar 85% dark chocolate which we have called Madagascar MegaDark. We love a bit of alliteration here at Chococo! 

What is Madagascar MegaMilk Chocolate?

In short, this is milk chocolate as you have probably never tasted before. It contains 65% cocoa solids, which is as much as many dark chocolates BUT, as it also contains 27% milk solids, there is only 8% added sugar in this chocolate... which is far less than most dark chocolate - wowzers!

It has wonderful red berry fruit notes, typical of grand cru de Sambirano beans from Madagascar, but the intensity of the cocoa flavours are softened by the presence of the milk, giving creamy caramel flavour notes that make this chocolate very easy to eat indeed. You would never know that there is only 8% added sugar in this chocolate.
This graphic from Chocolaterie Robert who make this chocolate in Madagascar clearly shows the difference in sugar between an "industrial" milk chocolate & the 65% Milk!

a comparison of sugar content between 65% megamilk & standard industrial milk chocolate


In fact, there is less sugar in this milk chocolate bar than in a bar of 80% dark chocolate....now there's a statistic to get your brain around!

So, in a nutshell, this chocolate is perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy fine chocolate that has wonderful cocoa tastes but is low in sugar and is to be honest, easier for most people to eat than an 80%+ dark chocolate (which is what you would have to do to eat as little sugar).

It is certainly a new form of milk chocolate and one which we hope will grow and grow over time as customers discover this new taste sensation.

We actually got samples of this new chocolate last year after I had visited Madagascar to visit Chocolaterie Robert based in Antananarivo who produce this chocolate, & also to visit cocoa plantations in the Sambirano valley, so had a sneak preview of what was to come later.

The samples were kept in our chiller to see how the flavours developed over time (freshly made chocolate made with freshly dried & roasted cocoa beans has to mature before eating ideally) and it became everyone's favourite chocolate when doing taste testings!