Chocolate is a comfortable getaway for everyone. Everyone has a go-to flavor— a flavor that drowns the anxiety and stress, a flavor to warm the heart. That’s hard to refuse. But is that all to chocolates? Why is white chocolate softer than dark chocolate? How does one tell if it is semisweet or bittersweet?
To satisfy your sweet queries, read this article on mouth-watering chocolates.
A history of 4,000-year suggests that ancient Mesoamericans were the first to cultivate cacao plants found in Central America’s tropical rainforests. They processed the cacao beans by fermentation, roasting and grounding into a paste, and adding other spices like vanilla, honey to create a drink. Olmec, Mayan, and Aztec civilizations believed chocolate had mystical and spiritual qualities because of its mood-enhancing, energizing, and aphrodisiac nature. By the 14th century in Mesoamerica, the Aztecs traded cacao as a coveted currency, as it could not be grown in the dry highlands of central Mexico.
In the 1500s, one hundred cacao beans could fetch a good turkey. By the 16th century, chocolate gained popularity as a libido enhancer. In the 1500s, the Spanish were introduced to chocolate. They sweetened used cane sugar and cinnamon to eliminate the bitter taste of chocolate drinks. An expensive export, it soon became a status symbol. The marriage of the daughter of Spanish King Philip III to the French King Louis XIII in 1615 introduced chocolate to France and entire Europe. It led to colonial plantations in equatorial regions around the world to harvest cacao and sugar.
The invention of the cacao press in 1828 by a Dutch chemist Coenraad Johannes van Houten revolutionized chocolate-making forever by reducing production costs, making chocolate affordable for the masses, and leading to the discovery of edible chocolate. From the first solid edible chocolate bar made by J.S. Fry & Sons, a British chocolate company in 1847, to the annual worldwide sale of chocolate worth $75 billion, chocolate has taken the world by a warm whirl.
Types Of Chocolates
1. Chocolate Liquor
It’s the base for all chocolates and is also called unsweetened chocolate. It is a thick dark brown paste made of cocoa nibs found in the cocoa bean. The coca nibs get ground to attain a smooth texture. When it’s heated, it can form a bar or chips. Chocolate liquor has 100% cocoa without any added ingredients. When heat is under high pressure, the paste separates into cocoa butter and cocoa powder. Despite the name, chocolate liquor doesn’t contain alcohol.
2. White Chocolate
Easy identifiable because of the color, white chocolate is produced from a mixture of sugar, cocoa butter, milk, vanilla, and lecithin (an ingredient that helps with blending in together ). These ingredients help white chocolate achieve a sweet vanilla-like aroma.
Good quality white chocolate has a rich, soft, and creamy texture. It is storable for up to 4 months. White chocolate is delicious to eat, and it goes with cookies and cakes. If you are trying to cook with white chocolate for the first time, try white chocolate and ganache.
3. Milk Chocolate
Milk chocolate is a classic, and almost everyone likes it. A light brown color, sweet flavor, and creamy texture make milk chocolate a favorite. A combination of chocolate liquor, sugar, and milk is used in making milk chocolate. If properly stored, it can last for up to 16 months. Milk chocolate makes for an excellent choice for gifting or treating anyone and is often used in chocolate truffles.
4. Dark Chocolate
The second-most-popular chocolate is referred to as semisweet or black chocolate and is less sweet than milk chocolate. The two ingredients used are chocolate liquor and sugar. The flavor profile is based on the cocoa content. It’s perfect for baking when your recipe needs a rich, chocolatey flavor. Making chocolate brownies or chocolate-bourbon-maple-pecan-pie using dark chocolate can be a fulfilling experience. It is safely storable for up to 20 months.
5. Bittersweet Chocolate
Referred to as extra dark chocolate, it is more bitter than semisweet chocolate. Bittersweet chocolate typically has 66% cocoa content or maybe even higher than that. When you substitute bittersweet chocolate, you will get darker and richer recipes. It’s perfect for making chocolate chip cookies or molten chocolate cakes. Extra dark chocolate, when properly stored, can have a life of up to 20 months.
6. Ruby Chocolate
Discovered by Belgian chocolate maker Barry Callebaut in 2017, it’s not a bar of colored white chocolate but derives its color from a specific type of cocoa called ruby cocoa. It has 47.5% cocoa content and 26.3% milk. Ruby cocoa has flavors of intense fruitiness and fresh sour notes and can be preserved for 12 months.
Health Benefits Of Chocolates
Chocolates are a rich source of calories, making them seem unhealthy. An over-enthused consumption of anything is bad, but small regular consumption can be beneficial if you keep your workouts regular. Some health benefits of chocolates include:
- Decreases risk of a stroke
- Reduces the likelihood of heart attack
- Chocolate can also prevent cancer.
- Chocolate will make you live longer.
- Chocolate is healthy for your skin.
- Flavanols in chocolates help keep sharp memory in old age.
- It is rich in mineral content(copper, magnesium, iron, zinc, etc.)
- Not only a mood enhancer, but it also helps lower blood pressure and reduces the cholesterol levels in the blood.
Next time you pop a bar of chocolate or add a little extra to the cake mixture, don’t feel so guilty. It’s not all bad.
Not Just A Confectionary
- Chocolate is used as a remedy: Back in the 18th century in England, chocolate drinks were used to prevent and cure stomach aches. In the central part of America, it was used to fight fatigue. When you use melted chocolate on your face and leave it to dry for at least 15 minutes, it will help cleanse the skin thoroughly, aiding the complexion. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Professor Lupin always offers Harry a chocolate bar after every dementor incident.
- Chocolate used as an ingredient: Chocolate can be used in the kitchen and added to a variety of savory dishes. You can make chocolate sauce and then serve it with strawberries or even ice creams, cakes, cookies, and so much more. It is added to drinks too.
- Chocolate symbolizes celebrations: Chocolate is synonymous with celebrations, such as weddings, birthdays. As an edible structure, a chocolate fountain where the continuous cascade of chocolate flows from a tap or as brownies. You can even fill a glass with chocolate from the fountain and then drink it.
All this talk of chocolate must have given you cravings. Live your chocolate craving be it a bar of chocolate or a mug of steaming cocoa. Don an apron and get busy trying one delicious chocolate recipe!