The Ultimate Chocolate Glossary: N

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NACIONAL CACAO:

See Arriba Nacional Cacao

NAPOLITAIN or PALET or TASTING SQUARE:

A thin, single-serving portion of bar chocolate, individually wrapped. A typical napolitain would be from five to ten grams.

NATURAL COCOA POWDER or NATURAL PROCESS COCOA or NON-ALKALIZED COCOA:

Cocoa powder that is not processed with alkaline; that is, not Dutch process. Dutch processing will eliminate some of cocoa’s natural acidity, no natural cocoa powder tends to have a fruity note with an acidic backbone. Natural cocoa powder is a paler brown with something of a yellowish cast, while alkalinized cocoa powder has a deeper “chocolate brown” color. In recent years, some producers have been critical of Dutch process cocoa powder, claiming that the Dutching process is used on inferior-quality beans to fool consumers; the theory here is that good-quality natural cocoa powder shouldn’t require Dutching, and that people will fall for alkalinized cocoa’s richer color. Note that it is not always possible to substitute alkalized cocoa powder for non-alkalized cocoa powder in recipes, especially those containing baking powder and/or baking soda.

 

NIB or KERNEL or MEAT:

The interior portion of the cacao bean that is the source of all cocoa powder and chocolate. The nib can be reached only after the beans are roasted and their husks removed. In addition to being ground and used to make cocoa powder/chocolate, nibs are roasted and sold by themselves, plain or chocolate-covered, as a dessert ingredient or topping, for use in salads and sauces, as a garnish, and as a crunchy treat. Some chocolatiers or chocolate makers produce bars that incorporate nibs; the nibs provide a nut-like crunch to the bars.

NOUGAT:

A confection comprised of whipped egg whites, sugar, and honey. Nuts, most often almonds, hazelnuts or pistachios (or some combination) are frequently added; some confectioners include candied citrus zest, dried fruit, or other flavoring agents. Nougat is stiff and chewy in consistency. The Italian term for this confection is torrone. Some nougat has added chocolate, and chocolate-covered nougat is also available.

NOUGATINE or CROQUANT:

A brittle made of caramelized sugar and usually ground almonds. Crushed pieces are used in the filling of some chocolates, or in chocolate bars.

NUT:

The cacao pod. See Cabosse.

This glossary would not have been possible without the kind assistance of my good friend Karen Hochman who runs the website: The Nibble. Karen gave us permission to base our chocolate glossary on hers. TheNibble is one of the Internet’s best resources for food articles, reviews, history, and just about anything when it comes to quality food. Please, if you have a few moments, visit my friend Karen’s website and you’ll be amazed at what a valuable resource it is. Thanks for all your help Karen!

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