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Everything You Don't Know About Chocolate

Bean-To-Bar

Authentic chocolate makers are like fine chefs and are obsessed about the texture, character and ethical origins of their beans.

Mainstream industrial chocolate makers buy all the beans, good or bad, in bulk, as they are mixing it with so many other ingredients and flavors, that the consumer won't get to know the difference of the beans.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Everything You Don't Know About Chocolate

Everything You Don't Know About Chocolate

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/11/dining/chocolate-bar.html

nytimes.com

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Key Ideas

Chocolates

Chocolates are everyone's favorite treat, and there is more to them than we know. Americans spend $21 Billion on chocolates every year, paying up to $55 for a single bar.

Premium chocolates grew 19 % in 2018, while handcrafted 'bean-to-bar' chocolate producers are now more than 250 in number.

Creating Chocolate

  • Cacao (or Cocoa) beans are the seeds that grow in the cacao tree, which are plucked, roasted and separated.
  • The 'nibs' from the beans (part solids and part butter) are ground and made into a paste, which is then again grounded with sugar and some other ingredients.
  • The industrial chocolates include several ingredients like vegetable oils, corn syrup, and artificial vanilla.

Origins of Bean-To-Bar Chocolates

The handcrafted chocolate market was re-ignited after 150 years by Mr. John Scharffenberger, and Robert Steinberg. The only other craft chocolate maker at that time, Guittard, had lost the art of making fine chocolates and had to change their production methods after tasting Scharffen Berger's chocolate.

The Chocolatier

Chocolatiers take pre-made chocolate, melt it and combine it with a host of ingredients, turning it into delicacies.

The best Chocolatiers buy from superb bean-to-bar chocolate makers.
Chocolatiers do not make raw chocolate, but chocolate products, with bean-to-bar chocolate makers providing the authentic raw material.

Single Origin Chocolate

Single-Origin chocolate refers to the region or area from where the beans have been sourced, lending them a distinct flavor and taste.

Example: Fine Latin American chocolate tastes differently than West African chocolates.

Cocoa Percentage

  • Cacao (cocoa) percentage is the quantity of ground-up beans that is present in the chocolate bar.
  • Milk chocolates have 10 to 30 % cacao, while dark chocolates have 35 to 55 %
  • White chocolates generally have 20 % beans(butter only)
  • More cacao doesn't necessarily mean it is more bitter, as cacao butter isn't bitter and has a smooth texture, while cacao solids are bitter.

Buying in Bulk Vs Direct Trade

Cacao farmers, who grow any kind of cacao and sell to industrial chocolate makers, have no incentive to grow quality beans.

Many cacao farmers live below the poverty line.

Direct trade of beans is a way to buy outside the regular system, and the farmers get paid more due to supplying select beans of better quality.

Environmental Impact

There is a dark side to chocolate making, with children working in hazardous conditions in cacao farms.

Widespread destruction of forests (deforestation) is also a grave concern.

Big Chocolate companies work behind the scenes to lobby and squash any laws that work against their interests.

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  • In 1518, Hernan Cortes, a Spanish soldier and explorer reached the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan (in the territory that is now Mexico).
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Cooking the beans yourself provides a better flavor and texture, but canned beans are also a good alternative as convenience food.

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