Archive | August, 2013

How Chocolate Is Made

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Is White Chocolate Actually Chocolate?

There are quite a few differences between white chocolate and other chocolates, the most noteworthy being that white chocolate contains no cocoa solids or chocolate liquor.  This actually removes it from the “chocolate” category by FDA standards, but it’s still considered chocolate by many because of its cocoa butter content.  For it to still be considered “white chocolate” by the FDA, at least 20% of its weight must be made up of cocoa butter.

More of a confection than anything else, white chocolate is made up of cocoa butter, sugar, and milk solids.  Lecithin and other flavourings, such as vanilla, may be present in white chocolate, but you won’t find any chocolate liquor.  It offers none of the nutritional benefits that come with eating dark chocolate, but in many opinions, the lack of cocoa solids makes it no less tasty!

Another huge difference between chocolate and white chocolate is its complete lack of chocolaty brown colour.  The more milk that is added to pure chocolate the lighter Despite its potential health benefits, not everyone is a lover of the bitter, dark chocolate flavour as it’s more of an acquired taste. Most people enjoy milk chocolate but not everyone’s an enthusiast. However, if utterly sweet and sinful sounds like your type of treat you’re probably an avid indulger of white chocolateit gets, which is why milk chocolate shades can vary so much from dark chocolate.  However having no cocoa solids at all, a creamy looking ivory shade is achieved.

In the production of white chocolate the cocoa butter may be deodorized to remove the strong cocoa taste that may be cherished in the darker varieties.  Because no cocoa solids are present, the caffeine and theobromine contents are also greatly reduced.

While white chocolate may seem like an imitation of its cocoa solids containing cousin, imitations of white chocolate can also be found as white compound chocolate.  This is a confection that is made up of the same ingredients as white chocolate, but the cocoa butter is substituted for vegetables fats.  Because no cocoa butter is present, an actual “white” colour can be accomplished rather than the creamier off-white of real white chocolate.

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Fine And Raw Chocolate

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Organic Vs. Non-Organic Chocolate

As with a lot of other foods, you have the option to choose between organic and non-organic chocolate, but what’s the difference?  Chocolate has generally been considered a sinful indulgence but there are health benefits to this tasty treat when it’s properly processed.

Pure dark chocolate contains antioxidants which can help to prevent cancer and promote a healthy heart, but to get the most benefits from chocolate it’s best as unaltered as possible.  A lot of the chocolate you see on the shelves has so much sugar and extra additives it loses most of its nutritional value.

Pesticides

While non-organic chocolate can still be good for you if it’s made with fewer additives, organic chocolate starts the process off right by using cocoa beans that were grown without the use of pesticides.  Pesticide residue that gets into your food can have harmful effects which would negate the health benefits that come with eating chocolate.

Processing

The extra additives and sugar in chocolate are a big part of what gives chocolate its unhealthy reputation.  Organic chocolate will have less of these additives, though it is still important to check labels for additional refined sugar content.  Through processing antioxidant value may be lost and toxins may be introduced, but organic chocolate production generally uses healthier ingredients and methods.

Ethics

There is always a degree of ethical considerations to be given to organic food.  Eating organic chocolate may be a way to support the fair trade practices with South America where the beans are farmed or you may choose organic food and a greener, more environmental lifestyle.  For some people, knowing and approving of how their food was grown and processed holds a significant importance.

As with any organic food, a higher price must be paid for a more customized production method, but it will be your decision if this price is worth the quality of the chocolate you eat.  And while there are benefits to eating the right kinds of chocolate, it’s only good in moderation and too much may be bad for your health.

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