The History of Chocolate:-
Chocolate has a long long history. Chocolate itself is derived from the seeds of a fleshy pod, which is the fruit of the Cacao tree. The tree’s botanical name is Theobroma cacao, which means literally: “food of the Gods”, and most of us would agree. It was “discovered” by Europeans just about 500 years ago, when some explorers came across a large sea going canoe in the [now] Gulf of Honduras, in which natives were transporting goods that included a cargo of cocoa beans!
The cacao tree (Theobroma Cacao) is grown in the tropics in a band between 10 to 20 degrees north and south of the equator, sometimes called the “Cocoa Belt”. The tree is often grown in the shades of other trees. It can be as tall as 40 feet (12 meters), and has fruits (pods) which are more than on foot (30 cm) long. The fruits may be brownish-yellow to purple, and contain 20-40 seeds or cacao beans in a pink, sweet-sour pulp.
The Cacao Pods
Types of Chocolate:-
The main types of chocolate are white chocolate, milk chocolate, semisweet chocolate, bittersweet chocolate and unsweetened chocolate. These types of chocolate may be produced with ordinary cacao beans (mass-produced and cheap) or specialty cacao beans (aromatic and expensive) or a mixture of these two types. The composition of the mixture, origin of cacao beans, the treatment and roasting of beans, and the types and amounts of additives used will significantly affect the flavor and the price of the final chocolate.
Chocolate made with cocoa butter, sugar, milk, emulsifier, vanilla and sometimes other flavorings. It does not contain any non-fat ingredients from the cacao bean and has therefore an off-white color. In some countries white chocolate cannot be called ‘chocolate’ because of the low content of cocoa solids. It has a mild and pleasant flavor and can be used to make Chocolate Mousse, Panna Cotta and other desserts.
Sweet chocolate which normally contains 10-20% cocoa solids (which includes cocoa and cocoa butter) and more than 12% milk solids. It is seldom used for baking, except for cookies.
Sweetened chocolate with high content of cocoa solids and no or very little milk, it may contain up to 12% milk solids. Dark chocolate can either be sweet, semi-sweet, bittersweet or unsweetened. If a recipe specifies ‘dark chocolate’ you should first try semi-sweet dark chocolate.
Sweet Dark Chocolate
Similar to semi-sweet chocolate, it is not always possible to distinguish between the flavor of sweet and semi-sweet chocolate. If a recipe asks for sweet dark chocolate you may also use semi-sweet chocolate. Contains often 35-45% cocoa solids.
Sweet Dark Chocolate
This is the classic dark baking chocolate which can be purchased in most grocery stores. It is frequently used for cakes, cookies and brownies. Can be used instead of sweet dark chocolate. It has a good, sweet flavor. Contains often 40-62% cocoa solids.
A dark sweetened chocolate which must contain at least 35% cocoa solids. Good quality bittersweet chocolate usually contains 60% to 85% cocoa solids depending on brand. If the content of cocoa solids is high the content of sugar is low, giving a rich, intense and more or less bitter chocolate flavor. Bittersweet chocolate is often used for baking/cooking. If a recipe specifies bittersweet chocolate do not substitute with semi-sweet or sweet chocolate. Please ensure that you buy the correct type! European types of bittersweet chocolate usually contains very large amounts of cocoa solids, and some of them have quite bitter taste.
A bitter chocolate which is only used for baking. The flavor is not good, so it is not suitable for eating. Use it only if a recipe specifies ‘unsweetened chocolate’. It contains almost 100% cocoa solids, about half of it might be fat (cocoa butter).
The word “couverture” translates to “covering” and refers to one of the finest quality of chocolate in the world. Couverture is produced with premium cacao beans and a high percentage of cocoa butter. Additionally, this type of chocolate also contain a total fat content of 30-40%. Couverture are often used by professional pastry chefs.
Ultra Couverture Chocolate
In fact, Ultra Couverture chocolate is equal in terms of quality to Couverture chocolate. Because because this type of chocolate contains a higher content of cocoa butter, the name “Ultra” is therefore added. Ultra Couverture chocolate is not easy to produce because it is difficult to balance higher cocoa butter content while retaining superb taste and texture.
Ultra Couverture Chocolate
The term ”Compound Chocolate” refers to a type of chocolate which is made by a combination of cocoa and vegetable fat, usually tropical fats and/or hydrogenated fats, as a replacement for cocoa butter. Compound Chocolate is primarily used for candy bar coatings, but because it does not contain cocoa butter, then it is not called “chocolate” in the US. Compound Chocolate is sometime added with flavors such as mint, orange, or strawberry to increase its deliciousness.The various chocolate slabs available are examples of this kind of chocolate.
Top 10 Chocolate Manufacturers worldwide
Cadbury Schweppes Plc
The Hershey Company
Barry Callebaut AG
Kraft Foods, Inc.
Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprüngli AG
Meiji Seika Kaisha, Ltd.
Russell Stover Candies Inc