In this work, the essential mineral nutritional elements in cocoa beans, in chocolates at different cocoa percentage (60,70,80 and 90%) and in milk chocolate are evaluated. Dark chocolates are confirmed as an excellent source of magnesium (252.2 mg/100 g) and iron (10.9 mg/100 g): in chocolate containing 90% cocoa, their content corresponds to, respectively, 67.0% and 80.3 of Nutrient Reference Values (NRV) in the European Union. The chocolate containing 90% cocoa is also a good source of zinc (3.5 mg/100 g), which is important for the immune system, and selenium (0.1 mg/100 g). Three main components suitable to explain the mineral concentrations are analyzed by factor analysis. The component 1 can be interpreted as the contribution from the cocoa beans, owing to the mineral characteristics of the soil in which they have grown; the component 2 is mainly due to the manipulation and transformation of the cocoa in chocolate, while the component 3 represents the milk powder.
Keywords: Chocolate; cocoa; iron; magnesium; mineral; nutritional values.