- Food and Cooking
Chocolate Models is a nice welcoming lens all about, well, chocolate models!
More chocolate than you can shake a stick at, in fact!
Um, if you thought it was for that other kind of chocolate models, well.. tough luck, you will only find honest to goodness chocolate based good eating here! Maybe you should check out some of the great chocolate molds that are on sale at Amazon via the links below on this page if you like the idea of making your own chocolate based confectionery at home.
Sorry to disappoint, but if you like chocolate to eat, then stick around...
Chocolate is the greatest treat of every human being's gastronomical endeavours. It comes in many varieties of confection, including chocolate cake, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate desserts, ice cream, confectionery, candy bars... chocolate everything and it is just too much to resist...
This particular lens of mine is taking a while to fill it with plenty of useful information about the gorgeous substance that we melt over desserts, eat out of fancy boxes and drool over when it comes pouring out of a chocolate fountain! But I'm getting there for sure.
The idea is to include facts about chocolate, maybe some recipes that contain chocolate and some speculation as to what are the finest chocolates in the world.
Tough call? Nope.
Easy winner on that is Lindt Chocolate from Switzerland, but there are some very close seconds from Belgium such as Godiva and the like.
Sorry, but the US fails miserably in the chocolate making stakes. I don't know why, but the American chocolate companies just don't seem to be able to come up with really good, fine chocolate, be it milk, plain or white. The Europeans have got the rest of the world well and truly beat on that - fact!
If you've never tried Lindt Lindor chocolates, then you probably think a Snickers or Mars Bar is great. Until the day you get to try your first piece of Lindt milk chocolate... there is no going back!
Chocolate Models at Amazon - Chocolate Molds for Sale!
History of Hot Chocolate
Here is a history and some valuable information concerning hot chocolate.
First up, there's a difference between hot cocoa and hot chocolate. These terms are often erroneously used interchangeably, but in reality they are as different as white chocolate and bittersweet chocolate.
Hot cocoa is made from cocoa powder, which is chocolate which has been pressed free of all its richness, ie the fat of cocoa butter. Hot chocolate on the other hand is made from chocolate bars melted into cream. Now that is a rich and very decadent drink!
Original Hot Cocoa Recipe
The original hot cocoa recippe was a mixture of ground up cocoa beans, water, wine and capsicum (peppers). Spaniards soon began heating the mixture and sweetening it with cane sugar. Once it had been introduced in England, milk was added to this after dinner treat.
The word chocolate is said to derive from the Mayan word xocoatl. Cocoa derives from the Aztec word cacahuatl.
The Mexican Indian word chocolat originates from a combination of the terms choco (meaning "foam") and atl (meaning "water") - this because early chocolate was consumed only in beverage form. Hot chocolate has been drunk as a beverage for several thousands of years.
Where Does Chocolate Come From?
Chocolate literally grows on trees, appearing in its raw state as larghe pods on the tall (40-60 feet) trees botanically known as "Theobroma cacao," meaning "food of the gods."
This tropical tree has grown wild in Central America since prehistoric times. It also grows in South America, Africa and part of Indonesia. The cacao tree produces a fruit about the size of a small pineapple. Inside the fruit are the tree's seeds, also known as cocoa beans.
Who Used Chocolate First?
Archeologists tell us that the Olmecs, who are the oldest civilization of the Americas (1500-400 BC), were probably the first users of cacao. They were followed by the Maya, who consumed cacao-based drinks made with beans from their plantations in the Chontalpa region of what is now eastern Tabasco.
A drink called 'chocolatl' made from roasted cocoa beans, water and a little spice, was their most important use.
Cocoa beans were considered valuable, so they were often given as gifts at ceremonies such as a child's coming of age or at religious ceremonies. The Maya are believed to have had many complicated religious beliefs with many gods.
Merchants often traded cocoa beans for other commodities such as cloth, jade and ceremonial feathers. Maya farmers transported their cocoa beans to the markets by canoe or in large baskets strapped to their backs.
The more wealthy merchants would have employed porters to carry their wares, as they ventured as far away as Mexico (land of the Aztecs), thereby introducing them to the much prized cocoa beans also.
Chocolate in Europe
Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) was the first European to taste cocoa in Nicaragua. On his 4th voyage to the New World, Columbus returned to Europe with the first cocoa beans. No one there knew what to do with them initially, so they were dismissed in favor of other trade goods.
By the time the Spanish invaded Mexico in the 16th century the Aztecs had created a powerful empire there. The voyage which led Hernan Cortes (1485-1547) and his Spanish conquistadores to discover Mexico and the Aztec civilization began in 1517 when he set sail from Cuba with 11 ships and 600 men.
When he landed on the Mexican coast near Veracruz, he decided to head for Tenochtitlan to see for himself the famed riches of Emperor Montezuma and the Aztec empire. Montezuma (1466-1520) introduced Hernam Cortes to his favourite drink 'chocolatl' served in a golden goblet.
The fact that Montezuma drank his "chocolatl" in goblets before entering his harem led to the belief that chocolate was an aphrodisiac.
When Cortes returned to Spain in 1528 his galleons were loaded with cocoa beans and chocolate drink producing equipment.
...And the rest, as they say, is history!
Chocolate and Cooking
30th March 2008 - Terry Didcott
One of the really cool ways of using chocolate is in home baked goodies ranging from cakes, biscuits and cookies, desserts, pastries and puddings.
For that I have the perfect website with some really chocaholic recipes at Chocolate Chip Cookie! Do check it out...
On the meantime, there is one thing you should know about heating up and melting chocolate - you should not let it get too hot or it will burn. The best way to avoid this is to put some water in a pan, bring it to the boil then place a plate over the top of the pan, turn the heat down low and let the water simmer beneath while you place the pieces of cooking chocolate on the plate.
That way, the temperature will not exceed the boiling point of the water and so the chocolate will not burn.
Another cool thing to make with cooking chocolate is chocolate mousse and its the easiest thing to do. As above, melt some chocolate in a plate above some hot water. White its melting, whip up some double cream so that its really fluffy, then fold it into the melted chocolate, stirring like mad until its all mixed.
Then simply transfer it all to the refrigerator to set. Oh man, this is heaven on a spoon!
Making Chocolate Models
Chocolate molds polycarbonate
The title of this section is not meant to be too misleading, but the idea of making chocolate models, or more correctly chocolate moulds is something best left to manufacturers that have the proper equipment to do this.
So we won't actually be making any chocolate models, but we will be taking a look around at some of the things we can use to form our own chocolate confectionery and cakes.
One of the best new materials has to be silicon molds - they come in all shapes and sizes and will go in the microwave for really speedy finishing, or a standard oven for the traditional way of making them.
These chocolate models are permanently non-stick and are easy to clean after use. They are an absolute godsend to chocolate cake making as the freshly baked cakes slide out of the moulds easily without ever sticking.
On the subject of baking with cocolate, there are plenty of sites around on the subject of chocolate that promise plenty of info all about how to bake stuff that only sweet toothed lost causes like myself will appreciate!
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If you liked this lens about chocolate and found it uplifting, inspiring and liable to turn you into a chocoholic like me, then please leave me a message on my guest book and say so!