Emulsifiers are substances which have properties similar to both water and fats, meaning that they help stabilize mixtures of oil and water (emulsions).
In chocolate they eliminate the friction between the solids such as sugar, powdered milk or cocoa particles and the cocoa butter. This allows the chocolate to flow more easily and gives it a better “mouth feel”. The most frequently used emulsifier is lecithin. Its name is Greek in origin and means “egg yolk”, as lecithin was first isolated from egg yolk in 1846. Later the substance was also found to be present in plants and all living organisms.
Lecithin is also a fundamental building block for the human body, for example cell membranes. As a precursor stage of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, it is important for your brain and nerve tissue; a lack of lecithin can interfere with your short-term memory. Moreover, lecithin is vital for metabolic processes.
Today, most lecithin is made from the oil of the soy bean, which contains about 2% lecithin, but it can also be extracted from rapeseed and sunflowers. Lecithin is a generic term for several closely related substances, which is why it is declared in foodstuffs as “lecithin” or E322. For our chocolate masses, we use only vegetable lecithin extracted from non-GM soy beans. There is just one exception: RITTER SPORT Fine Extra Dark Chocolate does not contain any emulsifiers at all.