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Saturday, July 8, 2017




  Chocolate is a typically sweet usually brown food preparation of "Theobroma cacao" seeds roasted and ground.  It is made into the form of a liquid, paste, or a block, or used as a flavoring ingredient in other foods.  Cocoa solids are a source of flavonoids and alkaloids, such as theobromine phenethylamine and caffeine.  Chocolate also contains anandamide.   Chocolate has become one of the most popular types and flavors in the world. 
The seeds of the cacao have an intense bitter taste and must be fermented to develop their flavor.  After fermentation cacao beans are dried, cleaned, and roasted.
The cacao tree is native to Central and South America.  Today it is cultivated around the equator and can be found in the Caribbean, Africa, South East Asia and even in the South Pacific Islands of Samoa and New Guin

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Cacao has been cultivated by many cultures for at least 3 millennia in Mesoamerica.  The earliest evidence of use tracks to the Mokaya (Mexico and Guatemala) with evidence of chocolate beverages dating back to 1900 BCE.  Although cocoa originated in the Americas recent years have seen African nations assuming a leading role in producing cocoa.  
Columbus had taken the cacao bean with him back to Spain, but chocolate had no impact until Spanish friars introduced it to the Spanish court. 



Dark Chocolate: so called because it contains less milk than other chocolates and sometimes no milk at all.  It is made by mixing cocoa solids, fat, and sugar.  Usually  chocolate with a cocoa solid component of 35% or more is deemed dark chocolate.  Because of the lack of milk, dark chocolate is far browner in color.  It is often used in baking and cooking.  Dark chocolate is less sweet and has a higher percentage of cocoa soli9ds with more of a bitter taste.

Milk Chocolate: most  likely the most popular kind of chocolate.  It is made by adding milk, most often milk powder, into the traditional chocolate combination of cocoa solids, cocoa butter, sugar and frequently vanilla flavoring.

White Chocolate: is a very sweet variety made without using cocoa solids.  White chocolate is a mixture of sugar, milk and cocoa butter.  The absence of cocoa solids and the presence of milk gives it an ivory or yellow rather than brown color.

Unsweetened Chocolate is a term often used interchangeably with baking chocolate.  Unsweetened chocolate is made without the addition of sugar which also makes it very rich and also quite bitter.  Chocolate liquor and fat are the 2 ingredients used to make unsweetened chocolate which is primarily used in baking.

Semisweet Chocolate is technically a kind of dark chocolate.  To qualify as semisweet dark chocolate must contain half as much sugar as it does cocoa solids.

Compound Chocolate: is made by combining cocoa solids with a cocoa butter substitute such as vegetable oil, coconut oil and a variety of other hydrogenated fats.  Compound chocolate is often used as a topping or coating for other confectionery goods because it tends to be cheaper to produce and purchase.

Raw Chocolate: chocolate that has not been processed in any way or mixed with any different ingredients.  It is sold as a healthy alternative to traditional chocolate since it does not include sugar or milk products.

Health Benefits:

The latest research backs up claims that chocolate has cardio=vascular benefits.  In a 9 year study in Sweden of 31,000 women, those who ate one or two servings of dark chocolate each week    cut their risk of heart failoure by as much as one third.  Another big long term study in Germany this year found that about a square of dark chocolate a day lowered blood pressure and reduced the risk of stroke by 39%.  Most of the credit goes to flavonoids and antioxidant compound that increase the flexibility of veins and arteries.  
Chocolate is rich in antioxidants.  Potential benefits of eating chocolate are said to include : lowering cholesterol levels, preventing cognitive decline, and reducing the risk of cardiovascular problems.  Chocolate has been said to cause acne and tooth decay, and has a reputsation for being a fattening, non-nutritious food.  On the other hand chocolate is also known for being an antidepressive to an aphrodisiac.   Most of the bad effects of chocolate have been found to be over-stated of just false.  

So, eat up.  Enjoy.  Have some chocolate.  It's good for you!