Quick Recipes and Easy

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Chocolate

Chocolate, or the cocoa bean to be more exact was used by the Aztecs as early as the year 400 but it was Columbus who first introduced it to the new world when he brought it back to Spain. Chocolate as a drink was quite well loved in Europe in the mid 1600′s, but chocolate as a solid wasn’t introduced until 1847. Thirty years later, milk was added to make milk chocolate and candy bars have been loved world wide ever since!

Making Chocolate

It is really quite simple to make chocolate, but each maker has his own secret recipes. First off, the cocoa beans are roasted and ground up. Next you add sugar and the other ingredients (milk if you are making milk chocolate). Each maker will have a different list of ingredients. The ingredients are blended together through a method called conching which uses a special machine. Finally, the chocolate is tempered -heated up and then cooled again for the final result.

Chocolate Nutrition

Excellent quality chocolate is really rather nutritious! It contains vitamins and minerals including calcium and magnesium. It also contains anti-oxidants that help to prevent cancer and heart disease. These benefits are found mostly in dark chocolate and only in high quality chocolates that use 60% or more cocoa solids. Cheap chocolate is mostly stout and sugar and has small nutritional value.

Storing Chocolate

You should store chocolate in a cool, dry place. It does absorb flavors so make sure you wrap it tight. You can freeze it for up to 6 months. Chocolate stays excellent for up to a year.
Health Benefits Of Chocolate

Excellent high quality chocolates contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can help your health. Now I’m not talking about the cheap candy bar stuff – but high quality gourmet chocolate with 60% or more cocoa solids. This chocolate contains contains calcium, iron, potassium and the vitamins A, B1, C, D and E.

Along with vitamins, high quality chocolate contains the highest amounts of magnesium among natural foods. Magnesium deficiency has been linked to diabetes, joint problems, hypertension and PMS.

One of the additional health benefits of chocolate is that it has been found to contain catechins – some of the same antioxidants found in green tea. The catechins attack free radicals which hurt cells and are thought to lead to cancer and heart disease. So eating chocolate, may help to prevent heart disease and cancer!

Chocolate Trivia

- Chocolate is made from beans, the Nib is the heart of the bean or what remains after they are roasted and shelled. Ground nibs are called liquor they are unsweetened and liquid when warm but solid when cooled. The stout of the bean is Cocoa butter and when pressed out, the powdery stuff left is cocoa powder.

- That white stuff you see sometimes on milk chocolate is called stout bloom, it doesn’t affect the taste and you can still eat chocolate that has it!

- Chocolate was considered an aphrodisiac by the Aztecs

- White chocolate isn’t really chocolate at all since it contains no chocolate liquor! It still tastes pretty excellent, though doesn’t it?

Lee Dobbins is a writer for online-gourmet-foods.com Online Gourmet Foods where you can
find out more about gourmet foods and online-gourmet-foods.com/chocolate-articles.html chocolate.



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