Easter Ingredient Essentials: Chocolate Crumb and Fresh Milk

Between 80 and 90 million chocolate eggs are bought and consumed annually in Britain. And, with more than 44.5 million people planning to celebrate Easter in 2024, the holiday is the second biggest chocolate-selling period of the year after Christmas. At Meadow, we are the UK’s only independent manufacturer of sweetened condensed milk and chocolate crumb. But what is it exactly that makes our chocolate crumb such a distinctively tasty ingredient for Easter treats and desserts?

How Milk Makes Chocolate Taste Better

“A glass and a half of full-cream milk” is how Cadbury used to advertise its chocolate. So, what is it in milk that makes chocolate taste so good?

The primary ingredients of chocolate are cacao beans, sugar, milk and cocoa butter. On their own, cacao beans and cocoa butter can taste very bitter, that’s where milk, that contains sugars and fats, helps mask some of the bitterness, making chocolate sweeter and more palatable.

What’s more, proteins found in milk are responsible for giving chocolate that creamy, velvety and melt-in-your-mouth feel. These same proteins also chemically interact well with chocolate cocoa. By doing so, these milk proteins are able to create new flavour compounds and add subtle complexities to the chocolate. That’s why chocolatiers like to invest in high quality milk that comes from well-looked after and grass-fed cows. The higher quality the milk, the higher the milk-protein content which will ultimately guarantee better tasting chocolate.

Chocolate Crumb

Fresh milk contains approximately 87% water, so it’s not practical to use in its raw form when making chocolate – especially with water being unable to mix with chocolate without seizing.

This is where chocolate crumb comes in. Chocolate crumb is a compound ingredient used when making dairy milk chocolate.  It is the secret ingredient that gives British milk chocolate its distinctive taste. The compound is made from a blend of sugar, milk and cocoa liquor which, when vacuum-cooked, can be dried and milled to form a powdered crumb.

Though chocolate liquor is mixed with condensed milk and the whole mixture is dried, the freshness and quality of the ‘original’ milk is integral to upholding the quality of the finished chocolate bar.

Sourcing the Best Quality Milk

Feed nutrition, selective breeding, cow health, calving and dairy production cycles are amongst the many factors that can impact both milk yield and milk quality.

Though practices vary depending on factors such as land type, breed of cow and weather, our farmers carry out highly ethical and sustainable farming practices to ensure that only the best quality milk is sourced. These practices include:

At Meadow, we have over 400 farmers supplying 550 million litres of fully traceable British farm-assured milk per year. With farmers being the backbone of our supply chain, we have long established a collaborative relationship to ensure that our milk is sustainably sourced with animal welfare in mind.

To find out more about our essential Easter chocolate ingredients, click here.

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