Much of the dark and milk chocolate sold indicates a percentage on the label. While a great deal has been made of this number in recent years, surprisingly few professionals seem to understand the number, its significance, or what it does and does not tell us about the chocolate.
Simply put, the percentage listed on a label describes the portion of the chocolate that came from the cacao tree. In the case of dark chocolate, virtually all of the remaining ingredients consist of sugar. The percentage of chocolate represents the combination of chocolate liquor and cocoa butter but fails to differentiate between them. As a result, two chocolates, each of them labeled 65 percent, can be radically different from each other. One of those chocolates may contain 65 percent chocolate liquor and no additional cocoa butter. That chocolate would be strongly flavored and would have a high viscosity. The other might contain 50 percent chocolate liquor with 15 percent cocoa butter added. That chocolate would be less intensely flavored and of a much lower viscosity.