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FCIA is often asked, "What is Fine Chocolate?" Our response:

Market Size: Fine chocolate is a small but growing segment of the chocolate industry representing 5% or less of chocolate market sales.  

Definition:  Fine chocolate is defined in terms of its flavor, texture and appearance, as well as how its limited ingredients, high cocoa and low sugar content, are sourced and processed.

Sensory:  Fine chocolate makers are committed to coaxing the unique flavors from each bean, allowing the consumer to experience complex flavors from the terroir of various regions and countries.  Textures should be smooth and creamy, unless purposely creating unrefined chocolate.

Visual:  Fine chocolate professionals are committed to creating stunning visual experiences through perfectly finished products which are often artfully designed.

Processed:  Fine chocolate makers and chocolatiers use artisan methods to create minimally processed chocolate with flavor complexity. 

Sourcing: With a commitment to the farmer, fine chocolate makers use ethical practices to source the highest quality flavor beans and cocoa, often from single countries of origin and individual growers.


Take a look at the ingredients that may be present in fine pure chocolate. We feel fine chocolate and chocolate products should only contain the ingredients on the following lists, though they may not contain all of them.


Dark Chocolate Ingredients: Cacao liquor, sugar, cacao butter, lecithin, and vanilla.

Milk Chocolate Ingredients: Cacao liquor, sugar, cacao butter, milk solids, milk fat, lecithin, vanilla.

White Chocolate Ingredients: Sugar, Cacao butter, milk solids, milk fat, lecithin, vanilla.

Other names for the above ingredients you might find on a label: 

  • cocoa liquor, chocolate liquor, unsweetened chocolate, cacao mass, cocoa mass, chocolate fondant, cocoa beans, cacao beans, chocolate beans, cacao seeds, cocoa seeds, chocolate seeds.
  • cacao butter, cocoa butter, cacao oil, cocoa oil, cocoa fat, cacao fat.
  • Milk, cream, whole milk, condensed milk, milk crumb, dry milk powder, dry cream powder, milk solids, dry milk solids, milk fat, butter oil, butter fat.
  • Soy Lecithin, Lecithin, soya lecithin.
  • Vanilla, Real Vanilla, Vanilla Beans, Whole Vanilla Beans

Note: In our opinion there can be no substitutions for these ingredients (one fat for another, vanillin in replacement of vanilla, etc.)


  • Ingredients: cacao liquor, milk solids, cacao butter, butter, vanilla, natural flavorings, cacao beans, cacao seeds, cocoa powder, nuts, and soy lecithin/glucose
  • natural flavors include: real vanilla, vanilla beans, fresh herbs, fresh fruit, fruit purees, liquor

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Executive Director / Membership Inquiries: Bill Guyton / 1.206.577.9983 / Email Bill

Operations & Membership: Ephi Maglaris / 1.312.771.0181 / Email Ephi


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