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Cocoa creative

Cocoa creative

Getting the best out of cocoa powder in gelato

When it comes to flavour (and colour), working with cocoa powder can open up a world of possibilities in your ice cream and gelato recipe development. Here Talia Profet, Head Development Chef, deZaan Cocoa, shares her advice on how to get the best out of its application.

Why should we use cocoa powder in gelato and ice cream?

A good quality cocoa powder can give flexibility in the kitchen when it comes to recipes and experimenting with flavours. Whatever the latest trend, be it spices, nuts, coffee or ginger, you can pair it with the perfect cocoa powder and take your flavours to the next level. Consumers are more health-conscious, but they still want to indulge. As a chef, having the ability to reduce the sugar content or offer a plant-based option by using cocoa powder is a win-win for everyone. The beauty of a good quality cocoa is that, unlike chocolate, it’s a clean label ingredient with no added sugars or stabilisers and, of course, is vegan. Some cocoas can be high fat powders and so will create that thick creamy texture, even in a plant-based gelato.

What about working with new flavours?

Good, high quality cocoa powder will ideally give professionals a palette of colours and flavours. The beauty of cocoa powder is that it offers endless possibilities to create rich flavoured ice creams that taste as good as they look. Work with the cocoa powder to find the perfect taste balance. Use it as the base of your inspiration and allow it to guide you on complementary ingredients and presentation. Our website ( has a flavour wheel and an ingredient pairing guide to help you make the most of the exciting flavours that are influencing desserts right now.

What are the best cocoa pairings for dairy-based ice cream (gelato)?

This depends very much on your base flavours. There are cocoa varieties perfect for citrus or fruit-based gelato, and also different cocoa powders that work best with dark and intense flavours. The best advice here is to do your research in flavour profiling or experiment until you’re happy with the result.

Rich Terracotta

Flavour notes: well-balanced with cocoa, strong chocolate, caramel and nutty Rich Terracotta’s high fat content allows for a very creamy taste and texture. Its pH level means it has good solubility and will create the perfect balance between texture and flavour, ideal for plant-based ice cream. It’s very versatile too and can be combined with other powders to build layers of flavour.

Terra Rossa

Flavour notes: full body cocoa, caramel, nutty and cream due to its high fat and mid-alkalised characteristics, Terra Rossa combines easily with ice creams and gelatos to deliver a classic cocoa ice cream flavour profile. 

True Gold

Flavour notes: caramel, fruity, citrus True Gold creates a very smooth ice cream due to its high fat and low pH, which pairs nicely with dairy bases. Depending on the flavour pairings or the percentage, this powder can really enhance caramel notes.  

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