The cocoa fat molecules are mostly saturated and very regular in their structure. Saturated fats tend to
have higher melting points, so at room temperature, the majority of the fats from the cocoa butter are
in their solid crystalline shape, so chocolate is solid at room temperature.
Chocolate is much more solid at room temperature than butter, which contains a higher proportion of
liquid fat, because a higher proportion of its fat molecules are unsaturated so liquid at room
temperature. Also, because most of the fat molecules are saturated and regular, they are able to form
a very dense network, where almost all of the fats are crystallised and there is much less liquid fat
between the crystals.
Because chocolate contains several types of molecule, it will melt over a range of temperatures,
however the range is much narrow than the temperature range over which the butter fats melt,
because the number of different types of fat molecules is less than in butter. 50 % of chocolates fats
melt between 30°C and 34 °C. Overall chocolate melting is finished at 37°C.
Since chocolate melts in the mouth, it needs some energy taken to the mouth, giving a sensation of
The flavour of chocolate
Chocolate is full of very volatile flavour compounds – over 600 different volatile molecules exist in
chocolate, and these are responsible for its desired flavour.
These tend to be lost from the chocolate if chocolate is heated for a long amount of time, and
contribute to the smell associated with cooking chocolate.
Chocolate contains a relatively high fat content compared to its water content, and a fat in water
emulsion like cream can be obtained by melting chocolate in a little water.
Once the emulsion has taken on a homogenous smooth consistency similar to cream, it can be
whisked while cooling on ice to form a light stable mousse, like is achieved by whipping cream, when it
has a similar concentration of fats and water. The foamy product obtained, invented in 1995 by H.