What is Chocolate?
Chocolate is a sweet, brown coloured food preparation used in many recipes to provide flavour and desired appearance. It is made in the form of a liquid, paste, or in a block, or used as a flavoring ingredient. Chocolate is a key ingredient in many foods such as milk shakes, candy bars, cookies and cereals. It is ranked as one of the most favourite flavours in North America and Europe
Baking chocolate, also called bitter chocolate, contains cocoa solids and cocoa butter in varying proportions, without any added sugars.
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History of Chocolate
The earliest evidence of using chocolate as traces in Mexico, with evidence of chocolate beverages dating back to 1900 BCE. The cacao tree was originated and cultivated in Central and South America. The seeds from these cacao trees were then used to make a variety of products.
It is believed that Christopher Columbus was the first European to discover the existence of cacao tree. In 1585, shipment of cacao seeds were made to Spain and by the end of 17th century, Chocolate was introduced to the rest of Europe and across the Atlantic. With increasing popularity of Chocolate, by the end of 18th century it was introduced to the rest of world. From then and now, chocolate has been used.
Production of Chocolate
Chocolate is produced from Theobroma cacao seeds. 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, cleaned, and roasted. The shell is removed to produce cacao nibs, which are then ground to cocoa mass, unadulterated chocolate in rough form. Once the cocoa mass is liquefied by heating, it is called chocolate liquor. The liquor also may be cooled and processed into its two components: cocoa solids and cocoa butter.
Its uses in food industry:
- Chocolate finds its application in pudding, brownies, choco-chips, cookies.
- Chocolate is also used in certain hot and cold beverages such as flavoured milk.
- It is a popular baking ingredient.
- It has its uses in pastries, cakes.
- It finds its uses in confectionaries, desserts, ice-creams etc.
- Chocolate powder is usually sprinkled over coffee so as to impart its flavour and taste.
Types of Chocolate:
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On the basis of varying proportions of cocoa solids and cocoa butter content chocolate can be distinguish into:
- Milk Chocolate: It is sweet and contains condensed milk. It must contain 20-25% dry cocoa seeds.
- Sweet Chocolate: It contains 15% chocolate liquor.
- Unsweetened Chocolate: also called baking chocolate and is a pure chocolate liquor.
- Dark/Bitter Chocolate: It contains fat, low sugar content in cacao mixture.
- White Chocolate: It contains cocoa butter, sugar, milk but is devoid of cocoa solids.
Advantages of Chocolate:
- Chocolate finds its application in bakery products, in cookies etc.
- It provides flavour.
- It adds firm texture to the product.
- Eating chocolate may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- They are rich in minerals.
- Chocolate is high in sugar content.
- It is high in fat and calories content.