Where Chocolate Comes From

Do you enjoy treats that are made of chocolate, but have wondered where it comes from? You may not know that it is actually derived from a natural product. This delicacy is made from the beans that come from the cacao plant or cocoa plant. The plants will grow in tropical countries that are found around the equator like Central and South America. Cocoa plants will not be found outside of this region.

The appearance of a cocoa pod is a far cry from the finished chocolate consumers will enjoy. You might be interested to know about the steps that are needed to make the chocolate we all know and love.

The process of making chocolate from cocoa beans is a long and incredible journey. Cocoa beans grow in pods on a tree that range in color from green and purple to red. They will turn a yellowish color after they ripen. The pods are easy to harvest as they are simply picked from the tree. Harvesting cocoa pods is done by hand as no machinery is used. This is so there will be no damage to the tree so it can continue to grow more fruit. A curved knife is used to harvest the pods from cocoa trees.

Each cocoa tree will yield between 20 and 30 pounds of fruit every year. The harvest from one tree each year will be enough to produce one pound of chocolate. Farmers will need to remove all the seed pods and pulp from each pod as this is what is used to make chocolate. Each pod will contain about 30 to 50 seeds for farmers to extract.

Once the seed pods and pulp is removed it needs to ferment. This is similar to aging as it will bring out desired flavors, just like a fine wine. Bitterness of the cocoa is tamed and a richness is added that is not found in unfermented beans. The fermentation process will take between two and eight days. This will ensure the beans do not germinate. If germination occurs, the beans will not be usable.

Once fermentation is complete, the beans need to be dried. This will be done outside in the sun. There is artificial drying available, if the climate is not cooperative. The drying process helps lower moisture from 60 percent to under 10 percent. This is so the beans do not rot. The drying process will take about five days to complete. After the drying is complete, the beans will have a reddish-brown color and are now ready to be packed and shipped to chocolate manufacturers around the globe.

Manufacturers cannot simply grind up cocoa beans to make chocolate. The beans will need to be roasted to bring out the flavor that is expected of chocolate. This is when the hulls of the beans are discarded and the meat of the bean is processed. Temperature is an important factor, as is time, depending on the types of flavors that are to be extracted. The result is cocoa nibs that can be sold as is or processed further to make other types of products. These nibs have all sorts of culinary and baking uses.

Further processing of cocoa beans is needed to create a cocoa liquor. This is just a name, as no alcohol is being made. Cocoa liquor is made by sending the cocoa nibs through a press. The liquor that is created is the raw ingredient for all sorts of chocolate confections. All that is needed is a bit of sugar and a variety of other ingredients to make various confections and candy products.

Further process of the cocoa liquor can be done to create cocoa butter and cocoa solids. Cocoa butter is used to create beverages that are chocolate flavored. Grinding up the cocoa solids will produce a cocoa powder. Once interesting thing about cocoa butter is it is often added back into the chocolate, as this will give it a smoother texture. Cocoa butter is also used to make white chocolate.

Chocolate is not inexpensive to make and as a result, some manufacturers will use vegetable oil instead of cocoa butter in their products. The result is an inferior chocolate most consumers will find at a local grocery store. True chocolate has a richer flavor, but will be more expensive.Coffee combined with chocolate is the best combination.You can buy commercial coffee makers in Saudi Arabia

Unsweetened Versus Bittersweet Chocolate

What Is Chocolate?
Chocolate is the product based on a cacao solid and fat. The quantity and varieties of solids and fats that the term implies is the subject of controversy. Producers have an incentive to make use of the phrase for versions which are more profitable to supply, containing much less cacao flavor and more substitutes. Chocolate is a must have staple for many cooks and households but the type people like to snack on is different from the unsweetened or bittersweet choices.

There has been disagreement within the regulating groups in regards to the definition of chocolate; this dispute covers key areas, including the forms of fat used, the range of cocoa, and so forth. In 1999, however, the ruling group resolved the fats predicament using allowing up to 5% of chocolate’s content to be one of the possible choices to cacao butter: illipe oil, palm oil, sal, shea butter, kokum gurgle, or mango kernel oil.

One way to forego this has been to slash the amount of chocolate butter in candies without utilizing vegetable fat by way of including Polyglycerol polyricinoleate (PGPR), which is the synthetic castor oil-derived emulsifier that simulates the mouthfeel of fat
As much as 0 .3% PGPR added to chocolate for this reason.
Unsweetened cacao is one among its purest varieties- known as a great sweet made with simply chocolate solids. The typical fats content of the cacao bean is fifty-two -fifty-five percent, which is customarily the amount of fat (cocoa butter) located in non-sweetened chocolate.

The correct ratio of chocolate solids to cocoa butter will vary somewhat from one manufacturer to another, with smoother non-sweet or plain candies having slightly more butter in them. This blend of cocoa solids and chocolate butter, when it’s still liquid for the duration of the creation of chocolate, is often called cacao liquor. To provide different candies, this mixture may also be combined with solids, sugar, vanilla and different parts to create the large popular variety of milk chocolates as well as dark chocolates.

More Choices
Unsweetened cocoa is rarely the favorite choice for bakers, due to the fact it has an extraordinarily bitter taste to it. However, it is the natural ingredient when it comes to baking and cooking because it gives a rich and robust flavor to any sweet recipe. It is less known or popular since we find a large variety of high-quality darkish sweets to pick from. In years past, there were not as many choices for recipes. Today, this dark chocolate found in most kitchens.

Recipe Changes
Cooks can replace unsweetened cocoa into the recipe for darkish flavors by slightly increasing the sugar for their recipe. The extra sugar should be taken into consideration regarding taste and consistency. Similarly, you could substitute darkish cacao for unsweetened cacao by lowering the sugar content somewhat.
Unlike milk cocoa, nonsweet and unsweetened chocolate bars are each quite dark — close to the direction of black than brown. The change in hue is because of the cacao content material. Bakers use very stringent formulas for distinguishing between the two flavors. Non-sweet chocolate, is cacao pieces ground into a robust liquid, then hardened into the section without the use of preservatives.

Bittersweet Cacao is at the least 25 percent cocoa liquid and has no more than 12 parts lactose solids.Nonsweet and semisweet chocolate fall beneath the same umbrella, however, bittersweetcacao, in general, has at least 50 percentage cocoa liquor.

Nutritional Information

An ounce of unsweetened cacao has one hundred forty-five parts of protein, 15 parts fats, almost 5 parts of dietary fiber and tiny portions of sugar. Although the nutritional profile isn’t unhealthy, unsweetened cacao is unpalatable in its purest form. It is used nearly exclusively in baked goods and sweets. The same serving of bittersweet cacao has forty-five to fifty-nine percentage chocolate solids content material; has 15 parts protein, approximately 9 parts fat and almost 13 grams of sugar.
Final Word
Cooks and bakers have their preference in using non-sweet versus semi-sweet chocolate. The home cook can weigh the pros and cons of each when making goodies for their family. Many people prefer the dark rich cocao to the more commercial milk chocolate. While this subtle differences can be slightly confusing, a careful review of the two baking ingredients will keep you on the right track. It is often up to the taste requirements for any recipe.

The different types of chocolate

Who in this world does not like chocolate? It is tasty, sweet and it has become a major component of the many universally loved treats, these include brownies, chocolate chip cookie, and hot fudge. Thousands of companies have been able to enjoy the successes through the marketing and manufacturing of their various chocolate products.

Over the years chocolate has become the key ingredient when it comes to baking the delicious goodies. As a result, the armature bakers will benefit from the different types of chocolate that are available. Most people are familiar with the different types of chocolate that are available, but many people are not aware of how chocolate is easily converted from a cocoa bean, into this familiar final product that we all enjoy.

The different types of chocolate

Dark chocolate
The dark chocolate is commonly identified as such, as it carries far less milk than the other kinds of chocolate that are present. At times, the chocolate might contain no milk at all. Mixing sugar, fat and some cocoa solids make this type of chocolate. Chocolate that contains cocoa solid of about 35 percent or more is considered to be dark chocolate, but any percentage that is slightly higher than that is a completely different type of chocolate. Due to the absence of milk in the chocolate, it appears to look far browner than other types of chocolate. Dark chocolate is commonly used in cooking and baking because most o these recipes include an addition of sugar. Thus, the dark chocolate balances out the sweetness.

You can get dark chocolate in a range of cocoa percentages, and it could be sold with cocoa solid percentage up until 90 percent. Dark chocolate is considered by many to be far less sweet than the other varieties you can find in the market; this is including white and milk chocolate. If you get dark chocolate that has higher percentages of the cocoa solid, it will tend to taste a little bit bitterer, than those that would be having a lower percentage.

Milk Chocolate
Milk chocolate is the variety of chocolate that most people are familiar with. Milk chocolate has been found to be the most popular kind; this is regarding commercial use. The chocolate is made by adding milk, most of the time milk powder is added to the traditional chocolate combination of the cocoa butter, cocoa solids, sugar and often some vanilla is added in. Before milk chocolate was made to its solid form, people were only able to consume it as a liquid beverage. But this changed as the use of milk powder and condensed milk was introduced. The condensed milk or milk powder is made by evaporating until only the substance of milk powder remains, which enabled the chocolatiers to make the famous milk chocolate bars. The milk powder is commonly used as it has a longer shelf life than the liquid counterpart does.

 White chocolate
White chocolate is considered by most as a very sweet chocolate variety. What makes this type of chocolate unique is that it is not made using any cocoa solids. Thus, it is classified as a chocolate derivative rather than the common types of chocolate we consume. White chocolate is made of a mixture of milk, cocoa butter, and sugar. The white chocolate does not contain cocoa solids but contains milk, which helps in explaining why this type of chocolate tends to look yellow or ivory white rather than the brown color we are accustomed to in chocolates.

An interesting fact about white chocolate is, it can stay solid at higher temperatures than dark or milk chocolate will, this is because of the melting point of its main ingredient, cocoa butter, is much higher. However, white chocolate lacks many of the antioxidants found in the traditional chocolate due to lack of cocoa solids in its ingredients.

Unsweetened Chocolate
Unsweetened chocolate is mostly used interchangeably with the baking chocolate. The Unsweetened chocolate has been produced with no additional sugar. Thus, this type of chocolate maintains more of the original flavor contained in cocoa. As a result, this type of chocolate is very rich and rather bitter. The main ingredients used in making this type of chocolate are fat and chocolate liquor. When sugar and milk product is added, it will turn it to be milk chocolate. Unsweetened chocolate is primarily used in baking, as the bitter flavor is balanced out with the large amount of sugar included in the recipe.

Semisweet Chocolate
Semisweet chocolate is another type of dark chocolate. For dark chocolate to be classified as semisweet chocolate, it should contain half as much sugar as it does the cocoa solids. Any chocolate with sugar to the solid cocoa ratio that is higher than this is classified as sweet chocolate. Correspondingly, the bittersweet chocolates should not contain sugar that is more than a third the amount of chocolate liquor found n the product. Just like the unsweetened chocolate, the bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolates are mostly used for cooking and baking purposes, and most of these chocolates are sold in large quantities than the other types of chocolate you can find in the market.
Couverture Chocolate
It is a relatively new term for chocolate, which is not known by many individuals. It is a type of chocolate that contains a higher percentage of cocoa butter. Thus, this type of chocolate is mostly popular around the gourmet pastry and chocolatiers chefs. Some of the semisweet and bittersweet chocolates you might find can qualify as a couverture chocolate.

Compound chocolate
The compound chocolate is simply made by combining cocoa solids with one of the many substitutes for cocoa butter. The substitutes include coconut oil, vegetable oil and other hydrogenated fats you can find. Many countries do not permit compound chocolate to be sold as a traditional chocolate. This type of chocolate is mostly used as a coating or a topping on other confectionery goods. Compound chocolate is much cheaper to purchase and produce, compared to the other types of chocolate available. The reason being, the substitution of fats and oils is less expensive than the process involved in adding cocoa butter.

Now that you have been introduced to the different types of chocolate that are available in the market, you can now work them into your baking recipes more creatively. Whether you prefer the milk chocolate or the white chocolate, there are a number of recipes that have included the various kinds of chocolate present.

Why chocolate milk after a workout

Are you training hard every day and feeling exhausted at the end of the day? Well, you should try taking chocolate milk at the end of your excising. Chocolate has been found by researchers to work very well in restoring lost energy reserves in athletes. If you are not doing any strenuous exercises that take a toll on your energy reserves you may not need to take chocolate milk. That is because it’s actually packed with more energy than your common sugary drinks. It may cause you to gain weight if you are not exercising enough.

What Happens when you do Strenuous Exercise
Our bodies are normally relying on fat deposits to power our daily activities when blood sugar runs low. That is why you are advised to wear less clothing to help you burn fats. Generally you body will burn body fat deposits as soon as blood sugar levels start to fall during ordinary physical activities such as walking or jogging.
When you are however doing intense activities such as running 100 meters, or doing heavy lifting for long hours, you need more energy. Your body cannot not just burn enough fats at a rate that is fast enough to supply the energy you need. What happens next is that your body releases adrenaline to stimulate the release of glycogen so that it can be used to supply instant energy.
That means at the end of the day or such workout, you will just feel what professional athletes like to call “hitting the wall.” That means you have literally used all your useful emergency energy reserves. When that happens, your body is in a dangerous state. You cannot respond to emergencies very well. What you need is for you to get a quick recharge of your energy reserves. That is where chocolate comes in with its rich supply of ready to digest carbs, proteins, and sugars. It all has potassium and a small amount of sodium.
The extra carbohydrates which are double the protein content in chocolate milk help to give your body a quick restoration of the energy it has lost. The potassium and sodium salts will then use the water in the chocolate to help restore you electrolyte balance that you have lost due to sweating as you were running or working out without re-hydrating properly. You have to remember that you cannot just drink water to re-hydrate properly. When you sweat, you lose some essential body salts used to create the right electrolytic environment for your body. You need to restore that special electrolyte balance as well.
The protein will also be used to help in restoring some of the damage done to your muscles cells. You however need to eat more protein to ensure that the damage done is fully repaired and that you even build more muscles for greater strength. Muscles store your energy reserves; you, therefore, need more of them to be able to store more energy.
Chocolate Milk Benefits that have scientific backing
• Research shows that chocolate milk helps athletes to recover as better as sugary drinks after a strenuous exercise. Its performance can be equated to Gatorade.
• The carbohydrate to protein ration of chocolate milk is close to 4:1 which is considered optimal for muscle recovery and rebuilding. You have to remember even the muscle rebuilding itself requires lots of energy as well.
• It is very affordable compared to what other energy drinks recommended for recovery cost you. It cost about a third what other drinks cost you. You also can make it at home.
• It includes electrolyte ions such as potassium, Sodium, and calcium. It also includes nutrients such as Vitamin D. Not forgetting that it tastes great too. That means you can give it to young people who are exercising as well and they will enjoy it, without any expense to their health.
• Since you can add milk to your chocolate, you also stand to gain the additional benefits that milk will bring into your diet. These include strong healthy bones, which should happen because you are exercising your bones as you workout.

That is it. You have now more reasons that have scientific backing to enjoy your favorite drink after working out.

5 Ways To Melt Chocolate

If you’re working on a dessert recipe and it calls for melted chocolate, you probably know how to do so in a rudimentary style. But there’s a trick to doing it right. The reason you need to proceed cautiously is because different methods of melting chocolate produce melted chocolate of different consistencies. If you’re looking for smooth and silky melted chocolate, just putting some in a pot and quickly heating it until it melts will give you sticky and messy chocolate that’s hard to work with.
So, here are five ways you can melt chocolate to give it just the right consistency as well as how different melting agents can produce different types of melted chocolate. (Note, in all cases, you should always use the lowest amount of heat possible to ensure that not only is the consistency is as smooth as possible but that you prevent any burning at the bottom of your pot, bowl, or boiler – which could affect the taste and make it more bitter. )

1. Traditional Stove-Top
In all cases, you want to make the process as easy as possible. You could be bars of either milk or dark chocolate, but these often melt slower at low temperatures and often tempt cooks to increase the heat. This is how you get something that sticks to the bottom of the pot and burns and crusts there. Instead, you should use either semi-sweet dark chocolate chips and either melt that slowly or add a few splashes of milk to the same pot and increase the amount of chips to add to attain the proper sweetness and creaminess.
The main thing to remember when uses a traditional stove-top pot is to keep the burner at low and stir constantly. The lower the heat, the smoother the end result will be. This type of melted chocolate is excellent to use a filling or a topping to any type of dessert you want to pair it with.

2. Ganache Chocolate
This is very similar to normal melted chocolate, but since it uses mainly semi-sweet dark chocolate chips and instant coffee, you get a different flavor and consistency. You can use either a small amount of heavy cream or coconut oil to cut out any unnecessary fat. Melt it the same way you would on a traditional stove-top – slowly while stirring occasionally until it’s a creamy as you like it. This produces the kind of chocolate that makes an excellent topping or shell rather than as a filling due to it’s semi-sweet nature and coffee flavor – especially as an icing for cakes or pastries.

3. Microwave
This is generally the fastest way to melt chocolate, but the only downside is that it requires more attention and is more labor-intensive than other methods on this list. You get piece of either milk or dark chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl, cover and heat for 30 seconds. Stir, cover and heat again for another 30 seconds. Repeat this process until it arrives at the right consistency. This type of chocolate is great for molds, toppings or filling for any type of pastry or cake.

4. Double Boiler  
This method is much less labor-intensive and loads easier than a stove-top. Using a double boiler is often regarded as the ideal method of melting chocolate. This entails boiling water on the bottom boiler while melting the chocolate chips and any other ingredients on the top boiler without any boiling water touching the bottom surface of the top pan. Pull the bottom pan off the fire when it starts to boil, and then place the top pan with the chocolate onto and stir until it becomes smooth and easy to pour or spoon.

5. Slow Cooker
This is the slowest method on this list, but the type of chocolate it produces is versatile enough for almost any purpose. After you set the crock-pot on low, add small amounts of chocolate and keep stirring in more once the initial batch has fully melted. Keep repeating this process and adding small batches until you get the full amount of melted chocolate you need. You can add some milk or instant coffee or any other additive you wish – coconut oil or cinnamon – after you’ve added the last batch. In any case, turn of the slow cooker once you had added all the chocolate and additional ingredients you wish and the whole amount is almost melted and keep it a low and stir it occasionally until you need it.

Health Benefits of Eating Chocolate

Sweet, yummy, tasty, creamy, milky are just but a few words to describe a bite of chocolate. The pleasure that comes with it keeps someone yearning for more. Chocolates are of different types: milky chocolate, white chocolate, dark chocolate among others. But I wonder…how many eat chocolate for its health benefit rather than just its sweetness? The answer would surprise you. Very few know that it has a big positive effect in a human body. Let this article enlighten you on how much a daily piece of chocolate can change your life for the better.

Some of the health benefits of eating chocolate include:

Sharper mind and higher intelligence:

Eating chocolate has been highly associated with superior spatial memory, tracking and scanning ability of the working memory abstract reasoning and mini-mental state examination. This is due to a nutrient found in cocoa called cocoa flavanol which boosts blood flow in the blood hence reducing some age-related cognitive dysfunction. This leads to people performing better cognitively.

Helps in controlling weight:

Checking your weight is one of the most stressed things that any doctor or physician never forgets to emphasize. Once one consumes a bar of chocolate, it offers more of a feeling of satiety, especially the dark chocolate. Due to this, dark chocolate has a tendency of reducing cravings for quick weight gaining things like sweets, salt, and fatty food. This, in the long run, makes one eat fewer portions which are recommended for optimal growth and general weight loss and weight control.

Chocolate relieves stress:

Life is without stress. Situations around us work us up and increase our stress level. Well, nothing works magic than a bit of chocolate. Dark chocolate is significantly responsible for reducing stress level hormone and reducing the metabolic effect associated with stress. When you face a situation that is working out, your anxiety, take chocolate and it will suppress the production of these stress hormones from your adrenal gland.

Makes one live longer:

Everyone wants to live longer, and chocolate can help add up to your life length. Chocolate consists an antioxidant called polyphenols which prevent oxidation of harmful cholesterol hence lowering cardiovascular disease. These antioxidants play a very important role in preventing cancer too.

It’s a beauty secret:

Most beauty products are involving chocolate in their ingredients. This is because chocolate’s high flavanol increases blood flow in the body and moisture content in the skin hence keeping a body healthier and beautifully better. It also acts as a sunscreen for protecting the skin from the harsh ultraviolet rays.

Chocolates are a remedy for coughs:

Most cough medication has been known to cause drowsiness among other side effects. Chocolate has proven to work better and is now being used to develop cough syrups with fewer side effects. This is because chocolate has an effect on vagus nerve which links the brain to the stomach and other important organs.

It leads to low blood pressure:

Eating chocolate helps improve blood vessel health hence regulating the blood sugar. This happens because chocolate improves blood flow by relaxing the blood arteries hence restoring their flexibility as well as preventing blood cells from sticking to the walls of the blood vessel. This helps lower the blood pressure and arterial stiffness.

It is mineral rich:

Chocolates are rich in minerals like potassium, zinc, and selenium. These minerals are very important to the general health of a human body. Taking a 100g bar of dark chocolate provides 67% of recommended daily allowance of iron.

It prevents diarrhea:

Chocolate helps a big deal in treating loose bowel. This is because it is highly concentrated with flavanols which inhibits proteins in the small intestines that cause excess fluid production in cases of diarrhea. Flavonoids are also being used in creating natural supplements to ease diarrhea symptoms.

Chocolate boosts your vision:

Carrots have been known to be the only vision booster but here comes chocolate! Dark chocolate improves the ability to see in low-contrast situations as well as in motion sensitivity. Flavanoid in the chocolate increases blood flow to the retina and protects the blood vessel of the eyes making the cornea and the lens strong.

Now with all those benefits you surely will want to make a point of enjoying chocolate daily and reap the benefits that come with it.


Sweet Facts About Chocolates

Who doesn’t like chocolate!! Chocolate is the most loved sweet all across the world. Used in desserts, cakes, ice creams and what not, chocolate can make anything taste delicious. Not only children but adults also cannot stop themselves from having chocolate.

Here is  a video that shows 10 sweet facts about chocolate that you will be surprised to know. enjoy!