Introduction to chocolates and concentrates
The common perception among mixers is that most flavorists, or flavour chemists, either fail at producing an authentic representation, or produce a chocolate that’s difficult to work with. In some respects I’d agree, however, it really comes down to how one intends to utilise it.
As with most solo concentrates, the recipe for success is based on layering or blending with additional flavours and or additives, rather than trying to make any given single flavour the only hero. This is especially true with chocolate.
Another reason for chocolates reputation is in its complexity, given there are over 1500 various components to its basic formula. For those interested, here’s an insight into the nature and science of chocolate-Australian Academy of Science.
How to approach mixing with chocolate
Chocolate is not a stand-alone flavour, in fact, very few single flavoured concentrates are. Therefore, new mixers especially, should tackle chocolate as a blending, layered flavour, not simply a plain chocolate profile. The plainer you want it, such as a chocolate bar, the more improbable the task becomes.
Putting this aside, excellent results can be achieved fairly easily, especially when using traditional type pairings such as ones I’ll list below.
Ice creams, cocoa-chocolate milk, cakes, cookies, brownies and donuts. Fruits such as bananas, strawberries, oranges, cherries, pears and dark berries. Coffees and alcohol flavours are excellent too.
Tobacco based e-liquids are what many smokers want as a first vape, and as chocolate is a universal additive in cigarettes, it’s a necessary flavour for me to have on-hand.
Here are some flavour concentrate types that blend well with chocolate. Depending on the desired results, some may be best suited as an additive, just to enhance or add that additional subtle layer.
Caramel, Butterscotch, Creams, Vanillas, Custards, Butter, Coconut, Milk, Meringue, Marshmallow, Nuts, Oats, Grains, Wheat, Peanut Butter, Popcorn, fruits, Salts, Sugars -Maple.
Mint, Peppermint, Lavender, Rose, Lemon, Honey, Honeysuckle, Lemongrass.
Cinnamon, Clove, Nutmeg, Ginger, Star Anise.
Apart from plain chocolates, there are many fusions out there. These are blended chocolates that hero a secondary, or an alternate top (primary) note, such as Capella’s chocolate fudge brownie and Flavorah’s chocolate mocha. Whilst we may look at more of these down the road, so far I’ve only been satisfied with one.
Currently, I can only recommend five chocolate concentrates, however, these should fit all of your needs. Don’t forget to experiment by blending some together at varying percentages.
Tips on mixing with Chocolates
Steeping: The majority of chocolate recipes will benefit from at least a 2 week steep, even longer when mixed with other flavours that benefit or require longer steeps.
Cocoa: Fa Cocoa in small percentages, (0.15-0.25%) can add authenticity to lighter more milk based chocolates.
White Chocolate: Using small percentages can actually elevate certain chocolate recipes, even offer up a closer representation.
Acetyl Pyrazine: AP will really elevate a chocolate mix when using FA Cocoa. It adds a great buttery, creamy, caramel taste, as well as some sweetness. Try it at around 1.5%. A close alternative can be cookie, biscuit and cracker flavours.
Sweeteners: I dislike using traditional sweeteners, and prefer to get sweetness from other concentrates. If your mix is not sufficiently sweet, look at supporting dairy flavours such as creams, vanillas and ice creams. Flavorah’s caramel is an excellent alternative to sweeteners, as is FlavourArts marzipan. If fruits are compatible, this should solve the issue.
Ethyl Maltol or EM: Often used to add some sweetness and body, but keep percentages below 1% as it can mute flavours.
Recommended Concentrate Pairings
Here are a few specific concentrates and additives that have proven to be excellent companions to all of the chocolates. Experiment with replacements by all means, these particular ones just seem to work best for me.
FA Vienna Cream
FA Fresh Cream
FA Vanilla Bourbon
FA Tiramisu (Booster)
FA Dark Bean Espresso
FA Nut Mix
FA Oba Oba
TFA White Chocolate
TFA Bavarian Cream
TFA Vanilla Swirl
TFA Acetyl Pyrazine
TFA Cotton Candy – EM
FW Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
FW Blood Orange
FLV Vanilla Custard
FLV Vanilla Pudding
FLV Vanilla Bean
FLV Sweet Coconut
CAP Cake Batter
CAP Sweet Strawberry
JF Magnum Ice Cream
JF Vanilla SC
JF Cherry SC
JF Espresso SC
JF Bakery SC
JF Milk SC
INW Shisha Vanilla