Apparently there is very little sugar in a cocoa pod so sugar is generally added in the chocolate production process.

My question is why has it become the complete standard to have sweet or semi sweet chocolate, and not savoury chocolate (or savoury cocoa products)?

1 Answer 1


It's not. The original consumers of chocolate, the Native Americans, had their chocolate in bitter teas and savory moles. They mainly were after its caffeine effects. We could speculate about the overuse of sweeteners in general, especially among peoples of European descent. Other ingredients like mint, cinnamon, and cardamon come to mind. In the European culinary, those ingredients used extensively for puddings/desserts; in Africa and India, these are ingredients for savory stews. The fetishization of sugary desserts and exotic ingredients in Europe is partly to blame. Look up some traditional chocolate moles or consider adding it to a chili con carne recipe for a new way to enjoy chocolate with less sugar.

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    I'm guessing the expense of chocolate initially made it a "treat"... and the bitterness just screams for sweetening to tone it down... so for many palates, the addition of sugar is ... necessary.
    – Catija
    Jun 20, 2018 at 15:42
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    @catija- Your idea about it being a treat is compelling. It is my opinion that it isn't necessary, however. Salt will reduce bitterness very well. Cocoa's bitter earthiness plays very well with other bitter flavors. AdamO's suggestion to include it in chili is spot on. Cocoa powder gives chili delightful complexity. Jun 20, 2018 at 15:51
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    You could ask/answer similar questions about why a lot of Americans (and who knows who else) always add sugar to sour things instead of salt. I grew up thinking the only way to eat things like lemon, rhubarb, or vinegar pickles was syrupy sweet. (The first time I tried Japanese pickled plums and even dill pickles was life-changing.) I wonder if I can blame King Edward, then. Maybe I can convince my family to get away from sugar if I call them loyalists and start stealing their tea?
    – kitukwfyer
    Jun 20, 2018 at 16:03
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    When cocoa (in any form) is added to savoury dishes it tends to be a fairly small fraction of the final dish, not much more than a spice. But when bitter-sweet it can be up to about 90%. I've got a bar of 100% cocoa and it's very different to 90%.
    – Chris H
    Jun 20, 2018 at 17:00
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    In England mint is often used in mint sauce for lamb and other meats and other use is in mint sweet(e.g. chewing gum) less often in puddings
    – mmmmmm
    Jun 20, 2018 at 18:17

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