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We All Love Chocolate. . .
Chocolate is a delicious food derived from cocoa beans, cocoa butter, plant oils and finely powdered sugar. The concentration of cocoa put into a given chocolate product chemically produces the numerous different chocolate flavours that we enjoy.
Different forms and flavors of chocolate are produced by varying the quantities of the different ingredients. Different flavors can be obtained by varying the time and temperature when roasting the cocoa beans. Chocolate is available in many types of flavours, such as: Bittersweet, cocoa powder, compound, couverture, Hershey process, semisweet, unsweetened, coconut, orange, honeycomb, toffee, coffee, caramel, and turkish delight. There is also literally thousands of chocolate flavour fillings we use on our cakes, candy and ice cream. Flavours such as chocolate-orange, caramel, nougat, almond, macadamia nut, ginger, peanut, coconut, wafer and strawberry. There are three basic flavour types of chocolate: dark, milk, and white.
Also called "plain chocolate" or "black chocolate" is produced by adding fat and sugar to cocoa. It's a chocolate flavour that contains very little or no milk. Depending on the country from which you live, there are different regulations as to what would classified as dark chocolate. The commonality here is that dark chocolate has the highest concentration of pure cocoa out of all chocolates. More expensive baking bars can have a cocoa content of up to 85% to 99%. Dark chocolate can be characterized as having a rich taste that can at times leave a bitter sweet after taste. Dark chocolate is the most nutritious of all chocolates. Many nutritionists even argue that having a small amount of dark chocolate daily is good for you, as it can be used to relieve depression and increase sexual endorphin. Dark chocolate can be classified into three categories: semisweet, bittersweet, and couverture.
- Semisweet: Frequently used for cooking purposes. Semisweet is dark chocolate with half as much sugar as cocoa, beyond which it is "sweet chocolate."
- Bittersweet: Is a chocolate liquor (or unsweetened chocolate) to which some sugar (less than a third), more cocoa butter, vanilla and sometimes lecithin has been added. It has less sugar and more liquor than semisweet chocolate.
- Couverture: Is a dark chocolate rich in cocoa butter. Popular brands of couverture used by professional pastry chefs and often sold in gourmet and specialty food stores include: Valrhona, Felchlin, Lindt & Sprüngli, Scharffen Berger, Cacao Barry, Callebaut, and Guittard. These chocolates contain a high percentage of cocoa (sometimes 85% or more) and a total fat content of 30 to 40%.
Milk chocolate was Invented by Henri Nestle. Milk chocolate is a solid chocolate made with combinations of milk powder, liquid milk, or condensed milk. Milk chocolate contains a much lower content of cocoa than dark chocolate. Milk chocolate is characterized for being a sweet tasting chocolate with a sour after taste. Many milk chocolates, such as the Hershey process, are partially lipolyzed, producing butyric acid, which stabilizes the milk from further fermentation.
White chocolate ingredients include sugar, milk, and fat (either cocoa butter or vegetable oils) without the cocoa solids. Because white chocolate has no cocoa solids, many debate whether white chocolate could even be classified as a chocolate. The US FDA standard of identity of labeling for white chocolate (which applies to both domestic and imported products) states it must contain a minimum of 20 percent cocoa butter, a minimum of 14 percent of total milk solids, a minimum of 3.5 percent milk fat, and a maximum of 55 percent nutritive carbohydrate sweeteners. The chocolate is renown for having a creamy vanilla taste.
Other Chocolate Types
Cocoa powder is an unsweetened chocolate used for baking purposes. Cocoa powder is made by pulverising partially defatted chocolate liquor and removing nearly all the cocoa butter.
Compound chocolate is a combination of cocoa solids with vegetable fat. The vegetable fat acts as a replacement for cocoa butter. It's primarily used for candy bar coatings.
Most turkish delight isn't classified as a chocolate because very few products actually have cocoa. Turkish delight is made out of gel, starch, and sugar. Turkish delight is often packaged and eaten in small cubes dusted with icing sugar. Premium turkish delight consist largely of chopped dates, pistachios and hazelnuts or walnuts bound by a gel that can contain cocoa butter. Inexpensive turkish delight never has any cocoa. The gel is mostly flavored with rosewater, mastic or lemon.
Growing up, interestingly enough, we were a three-child household (myself and my two sisters) that each of us preferred our own type of chocolate. I'm the oldest and prefer dark chocolate. My sister, the middle child, likes white chocolate. The youngest sister enjoys milk chocolate.