Do you love Chocolate? Before you take another bite of that delectable treat you’re holding in your hand, ask yourself: Where does chocolate come from? Early this afternoon, I listened to Michel Martin of npr.org‘s Tell Me More interview Diana Xochitl Munn, a botanist, and her mom, Natividad Estrada, a member of the indigenous people from northern Oaxaca in Mexico, on the origins of Chocolate. The word “chocolate” comes from Spanish and there are complicated explanations on its genesis. Chocolate is made from the Cacao plant and goes through a four step process. What caught my attention during the interview was Diana’s explanation that the official name of the cacao tree; its scientific name is Theobroma cacao – Food Of The Gods… How appropriate for a treat that many consider an aphrodisiac, a sugary, heaven sent delight, and always a lovers treat. Theobroma cacao is a name to consider the next time you reach for the world’s most expensive chocolate truffle: the $250 La Madeline au Truffe from Knipschildt. Let me know when you do, okay?✿♡✿Happy Valentine’s Day!✿♡✿
“Strength is the ability to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands – and then eat just one of those pieces.” Judith Viorst
The seeds of the cacao tree have an intense bitter taste, and must be fermented to develop the flavor. After fermentation, the beans are dried, then cleaned, and then roasted, and the shell is removed to produce cacao nibs. The nibs are then ground to cocoa mass, pure chocolate in rough form. Because this cocoa mass usually is liquefied then molded with or without other ingredients, it is called chocolate liquor. The liquor also may be processed into two components: cocoa solids and cocoa butter. Unsweetened baking chocolate (bitter chocolate) contains primarily cocoa solids and cocoa butter in varying proportions. Much of the chocolate consumed today is in the form of sweet chocolate, combining cocoa solids, cocoa butter or other fat, and sugar. Milk chocolate is sweet chocolate that additionally contains milk powder or condensed milk. White chocolate contains cocoa butter, sugar, and milk but no cocoa solids. How Chocolate is processed – Wikipedia
In pre-Colombian civilization, the Cacao seed was used as money and as a healing drink (xocolātl, a Nahuatl word meaning “bitter water”) served up by a curandera/healer. It makes you wonder about why we find hot chocolate so satisfying. When we enjoy our chocolates, we ought to know that the fruit/seed it is made from is a plant product and most of our chocolate comes from many other regions in the world; the top ten producers of cacao are Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Indonesia, Nigeria, Brazil, Cameroon, Ecuador, Colombia, Mexico, and Papua New Guinea – mostly African, the Americas and countries in the tropics. While the ancient Maya and Aztec royals used chocolate/cacao as an ingredient in cooking food, an offering to the gods, and as a special drink during sacred ceremonies, others cultivated the habit of treating it as a confectionery; a dessert with milk, sugar and other sweet ingredients added to the cacao powder.
“My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished 2 bags of M&M’s and a chocolate cake. I feel better already.” Dave Barry
[Soul, R&B, Jazz Music] Maxwell- Urban Theme from Urban Hang Suite( HQ) (Here’s some music to sooth your mood as you enjoy your chocolates)
In the 19th century, John Cadbury, a British chocolate business owner from Birmingham, England, created the modern chocolate bar by developing an emulsification process to make solid chocolate. The Cadbury company remains one of the world’s largest makers of chocolate products. All chocolate goes through a four step process: Processing/Harvesting the cacao beans to make chocolate liquor. The liquor is then made into two components: cocoa solids and cocoa butter. Next is Blending the liquor with the cocoa butter in measured quantities to make different types of chocolate or couvertures.
Then comes Conching in which the chocolate is placed in a container filled with metal beads, which grind the chocolate to a smooth texture. Fine quality chocolate is kept longer in the conche. Finally, the product goes through Tempering; the chocolate is processed to create consistently small cocoa butter crystals giving the final product its uniform sheen, crisp bite, and the smoothness of properly processed chocolate. When we buy expensive chocolates for Valentine’s Day or any other important occasion, we are paying a premium price for the longer conching and tempering process our chocolates endured. Bon Appétit! Here’s a chocolate truffle recipe to make your own. Hi All, Thanks for your patience. I’ll catch up with your blogs and commenting soon. More below! 😉
“There always seems to be someone looking over your shoulder – just waiting for an opportunity to lecture on The Darker Side of Chocolate” Sandra Boynton
There are potentially many health effects, both negative and positive. Cocoa or dark chocolate may positively affect the circulatory system. Other possible effects under basic research include anticancer, brain stimulator, cough preventor and antidiarrhoeal activities. An aphrodisiac effect is yet unproven. Dark chocolate appear to help prevent heart disease. Consumption of large quantities of any energy-rich food, such as chocolate, without a corresponding increase in activity, is thought to increase the risk of obesity. Chocolate absorbs lead from the environment during production, and there is a slight concern of mild lead poisoning. Chocolate is toxic to many animals because of insufficient capacity to metabolize theobromine. Research on elderly people showed chocolate might cause osteoporosis.However, more research has shown that it will boost cognitive abilities. Dark chocolate can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems and also reduce blood pressure in both overweight and normal adults. Finally, studies have shown dark chocolate as part of a low-fat diet can lower cholesterol levels in adults. Wikipedia
Maxwell – Urban Theme (Extended Version) from the Til The Cops Come Knockin CDS (Here’s some more of that music to sooth your mood as you enjoy your chocolates)
In terms of variety, chocolate is made into so many edible products from cakes, truffles, bars, samplers, cookies, beverages, to spreads and dips. There are several types of chocolate; Unsweetened chocolate, Dark chocolate, Milk chocolate, Semisweet chocolate, Bittersweet chocolate, Couverture, White chocolate, Cocoa Powder, Compound chocolate, Dutch process chocolate, Scho-Ka-Kola – a chocolate brand containing coffee and cola nut. Couverture chocolate is a very high quality chocolate, (smooth and delicately flavored) that contains extra cocoa butter between (32-39%). Top quality chocolate products are made from it. As for health matters, chocolate has good and bad effects on our system. The block quote above shares from the good, like the antioxidants and mood/mind boosting effect of chocolate, to the bad, lead poisoning, artery clogging and weight gain. Eat chocolate in moderation and all will be well.
♥What are your thoughts? Did you know Chocolate cake is good for you? Do you have a favorite chocolate product? If yes, when do you like to indulge your favorite chocolate treat? Do share! ♥Happy ♥Valentine’s ♥Day ♥To ♥You! 🙂 Thank you. 😉
Positive Motivation Tip: Chocolate treats give us a chance to indulge our sweet tooth…and can cheer us up. Share the goodness.
- Chocolate Day (cancerandcandy.wordpress.com)
- For The Mazatec, Chocolate Not Just About Candy (npr.org)
- What are cacao nibs? (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Humanity’s Love Affair with Chocolate Has Deep Roots (scientificamerican.com)
- How Chocolate is Made (desudjia.wordpress.com)
- Hearts and Chocolate .. “Heart Blood” (macseattle.wordpress.com)
- Dark Chocolate Craving (lovinglifethismorning.wordpress.com)
- You’ve Got Chocolate on Your Face (And That’s a Good Thing) (bellasugar.com)
- Chocolate! (mexicocitylife.wordpress.com)
- Flourless Chocolate Cake (thecooksnextdoor.com)
- Chocolate Overload: Chocolate Cheesecake Cake (blogher.com)
PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos Theobroma Cacao, Whiskey Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Truffles, Knipschildt’s La Madeline au Truffe, Hot Chocolate, Chocolate box, Scho ka kola, Couverture chocolate, Chocolate Spread, Chocobars, via Wikipedia Or Chocolate Treats by J Paxon Reyes, via Flickr