For the Love of Chocolate…..Yours and Mine
7 mins read

For the Love of Chocolate…..Yours and Mine

I can have another bite…that’s what my taste buds says every time I eat chocolate. My heart and mind are always in conflict when I see chocolate. While my heart shouts, go for it, my mind says…watch out…calories!!! This voice leaves me muddled, and with every bite, the war gets tougher….

I am sure every chocolate lover goes through this. Although avoiding calories is not possible while eating chocolate, one can reduce the calorie intake without compromising their love by choosing the right one. But, how to choose the right one?

Let us ride together on the journey of this delightful sweetmeat and find out about the history of chocolate, the story of chocolate making, various types of chocolates available and ingredients a good quality chocolate should have.

The History of Chocolate:

    • The 4000 years old history of chocolate began in Mesoamerica, presently Mexico. The first cacao plant was found there.
    • The Mexicans believed that cacao seeds were the gift of Quetzalcoatl, The God of Wisdom”
    • The seeds once had so much value that it was used as a form of currency. 
    • Originally chocolate was just served as a bitter liquid mixed with spices or corn puree. It was believed to be an aphrodisiac and to give the drinker strength. 
    • Sugar was added to chocolate after it arrived in Europe in the 16th CenturyIt then became quite popular throughout the society, first amongst the ruling class and later amongst the other masses.
    • In the 20th Century, chocolate was considered essential in the ration of United States soldiers during the war.
    • Initially, chocolate was produced by hand which was a slow and laborious process. In 1828, the invention of the chocolate press revolutionized chocolate making. This innovative device could squeeze cocoa butter from the roasted cacao beans leaving a fine cocoa powder behind. This powder was mixed with liquids and poured into molds, where it solidified into an edible chocolate bar. With this revolution, your favorite Chocolate Era trooped in!

The Story of making Chocolate:

Chocolate is made up of the below-mentioned core ingredient:

    • Cocoa Beans
    • Cocoa Butter
    • Sugar
    • Milk Powder (in the case of milk chocolates) and sometimes 
    • Emulsifier (an edible chemical additive that encourages suspension of one liquid into another)

The key ingredient in making chocolate is CACAO PODS. Cacao pods are big. Each pod contains about 30-50 beans. Once the pods are ripe, they are removed from the plant to extract the seeds. The seeds of the cacao tree are very bitter. They are fermented to develop flavors. Fermentation happens using natural yeast and bacteria. This process takes about 2-8 days. During this process, the beans start to take the color and the flavor that we recognize as chocolate. After fermentation, the beans are dried, cleaned, and roasted. After this, the shell is removed to produce cacao nibs. The nibs are rich in cocoa butter and are grounded down to create a cocoa paste. This paste produced is rich in cocoa solids and cocoa butter and is known as cocoa liquor/cocoa mass. Cocoa liquor is non-alcoholic. It is named so because it flows out in a liquid form. It is this liquor that imparts a distinctive taste, and aroma to finished chocolates. This cocoa mass can either be used directly in the production of chocolate bars or further processed to separate fat known as cocoa butter from cocoa solids, leaving cocoa press cake. Cocoa powder/cocoa butter/cocoa liquor/baking chocolate can be combined with various ingredients in your kitchen to produce lip-smacking desserts and chocolates.

Choosing your Chocolate:

Chocolate is a food that contains a good amount of nutrition and calories. Besides sugar and fat, it also has proteins and carbohydrates. In addition to this, it also contains small amounts of salts of metal such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron, etc. 

A variety of chocolates are available in the market-

    • Milk chocolate contains milk powder/condensed milk besides other core ingredients.
    • Dark chocolate is made by adding fat and sugar to cocoa solids.
    • White chocolate is made from cocoa butter and do not contain any cocoa solids. 

While choosing chocolate, always run through the nutrition information and ingredients table to get a fair idea of what you are buying. A 100 gm bar of Milk chocolate has about 535 calories, while Dark chocolate of the same size has 600 calories. However, the 600 calories of dark chocolate are more nutritious than milk chocolate as it has lower sugar content. Milk chocolate has roughly 14.4 grams of sugar per ounce. On the other hand, dark chocolate contains at least 50% cocoa and only 6.8 gm of sugar.

However, one can’t ignore the basic fact that fats in any chocolate comprise 2/3 saturated fat, 1/3 monosaturated fat, and sometimes a small amount of trans-fat.

Though chocolate is high in calories, sugar, and fat, eating it in moderation can extend health benefits, particularly dark chocolates. Several studies suggest that chocolates with cocoa as the main ingredient are rich in antioxidants and appear to reduce risk factors for heart disease. Semi-sweet chocolate has low sugar content. So before buying chocolate, go through the ingredients to understand the type of chocolate you are buying.

Good quality Chocolate Ingredients:

    • A bar of good dark chocolate always has cocoa listed as one of the core ingredients. It can be in any form, like cocoa powder, cocoa nibs, or cocoa butter. Sometimes, other ingredients are also added to dark chocolate to improve its appearance, flavor, and shelf life.
    • Sugar is often added to dark chocolate to balance its bitter taste. 
    • Emulsifier/lecithin is added to blend the flavors.
    • High-quality dark chocolate will not have milk added to it. However, you might find milk fat which is essentially butter, added to soften it and enhance its flavor.
    • For enhancing the taste of dark chocolate spices, oils, and extracts are blended into it. While going through the ingredient list, it is hard to assess if the flavor mentioned is natural or artificial. Try and choose the organic one.
    • White chocolate doesn’t provide the benefits of cocoa because it doesn’t have any. White chocolate is not chocolate as it does not contain cocoa solids or cocoa powder. The primary ingredients in white chocolate are sugar, cocoa butter, milk, soy lecithin, and natural/ artificial flavors. Good quality white chocolates contain cocoa butter as their key source of fat. However, cheaper versions may use palm oil or other cheap fats instead.
    • While checking the ingredients list, if you find that it contains Trans-fat, one should avoid it as it can increase the risk of heart disease. Even if hydrogenated/partially hydrogenated oil is present, it implies that the bar contains trans-fats. Look at the ingredients and nutrition fact label carefully to ensure your chocolate does not contain any trans-fat.

So next time, don’t compromise on your love for chocolate……. Choose the right one, and GO FOR IT!!!

12 thoughts on “For the Love of Chocolate…..Yours and Mine

    1. of course! keeping in mind that it should be consumed in moderation. I am a choc0late lover too and i always buy after checking the ingredients list

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