What is un-tempered chocolate?

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Un-tempered chocolate is chocolate in a simpler, more rustic form – closer to how chocolate was enjoyed before advances in manufacturing and technique.  Often stone ground for a coarser consistency, it has a different texture and a less uniform appearance.

Chocolate has a very complex crystalline structure that can be manipulated (via “tempering”) to change its appearance, texture, and how it sets when it cools.

Almost all chocolate sold today has been tempered.  To temper it, chocolate is stirred in very specific ways at very specific temperatures to encourage the development of very specific crystals as it cools.  Properly tempered chocolate has a shinier appearance and stronger structure that breaks with a snap.  Besides giving chocolate bars the texture modern consumers expect, tempering allows more complex structures like filled truffles (bon bons) and chocolate sculptures.

Of course, chocolate can also be un-tempered (or poorly tempered) by mistake or as a result of the chocolate re-melting in a hot room – but that’s a different situation from chocolates intentionally not tempered.

For more information about the effects of chocolate tempering and what methods are used, read What is Tempering.

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