Chocolate is one of the most popular and favorite desserts in the whole world. It is valued for its incredible taste and useful properties, which, however, often become the cause of disputes. Let's learn more about these sweets, and also learn how to choose the right chocolate without betraying a healthy lifestyle.
Chocolate is one of the most popular and favorite desserts in the whole world. It is valued for its incredible taste and useful properties, which, however, often become the cause of disputes. Let's learn more about these sweets , and also learn how to choose chocolate correctly , without betraying a healthy lifestyle.
The history of chocolate begins in the times of pre-Columbian American civilizations. For many centuries, first the Olmec tribe, then the Aztecs, and later the Mayan Indians prepared a hot drink from ground cocoa beans . The bitter broth had nothing to do with modern hot chocolate , and it was accepted to drink it only during ritual ceremonies, for example, weddings.
In the 16th century, the territory of the New World was invaded by Spanish conquistadors, among whom was General Hernan Cortes. It was he who appreciated unfamiliar fruits and brought chocolate to Europe , which became a valuable currency. Cocoa beans were grown on the territory of numerous Spanish colonies, and only wealthy people and representatives of the aristocracy could taste the drink made from them. The foreign delicacy was also used for medical purposes. Once, to reduce the bitterness of medicine, someone added sugar to cocoa and was surprised by the pleasant taste. Thus, a new page began in the history of chocolate .
In the 19th century, at the height of the industrial revolution, chemist Konrad Van Guten invented a special press that allowed to squeeze oil from cocoa beans - the basis for making hard chocolate . The first chocolate bar appeared in 1847 and was produced by Joseph Fry. In turn, the Swiss Rudolf Lindt was determined to transform the grainy texture of chocolateto a more homogeneous one. He experimented day and night at his confectionery factory "Rudolf and Sprüngli", but without success. Legend has it that one day the chocolatier went home for the weekend and forgot to turn off the machines at the factory. On Monday, a pleasant surprise awaited him in the form of a smooth, shiny mass. This is how the method of confectioning appeared - long-term mixing of chocolate , and Lindt became the first person to feel how chocolate melts in the mouth.
The fruits of the chocolate tree are almond-shaped and come in red, yellow and green colors. Inside them is pulp and rows of large seeds, which consist of cocoa oil and dry powder. When roasted , cocoa beans break down into small granules - cocoa nuts, which are gaining more and more popularity as a healthy snack. Crushed beans are ground into grated cocoa , from which white-yellow cocoa oil is squeezed out under pressure on hydraulic presses . Due to its fragile consistency, it is the basis for chocolate bars that we can find on store shelves.
How not to get lost in the variety of sweets and distinguish high-quality chocolate from a dessert that does more harm than good?
Pay attention to the composition and follow the golden rule: the fewer ingredients, the better. High- quality dark chocolate consists only of cocoa butter , cocoa powder and a small amount of sugar. In addition, when labeling, the ingredients are listed in descending order, from the maximum proportion in the recipe to the minimum. If, instead of cocoa , sugar is in the first place among the components, it is better to put such chocolate in its place and never return to it.
Chocolate with 100% cocoa content will be even more bitter than rich black coffee. Because of this, a dessert marked 70-90% on the wrapper would be ideal . Such chocolate usually has almost no sugar and unnecessary additives. The dessert will not be too sweet, but it will have a positive effect on well-being and give energy.
Also, there should not be any vegetable fats among the ingredients of high-quality chocolate . They are often used by unscrupulous manufacturers as a substitute for cocoa oil .
Milk chocolate is undoubtedly very tasty, but it is difficult to call it a good choice for those who monitor the correctness of their diet. The fact is that a really high-quality dessert should have the same composition as dark chocolate , plus dry milk. However, finding such options in a supermarket is not an easy task. In the case of milk chocolate , sugar and milk are usually listed before cocoa in the list of ingredients , and various flavor and aroma enhancers are often used.
The price of a chocolate bar largely depends on the brand, whether it is a professional or a mass-oriented manufacturer. In the second case, the main raw material for the dessert is cocoa mass processed from beans of unknown origin, which commercial enterprises buy in large batches. In this case, even labeling 70% cocoa cannot guarantee quality. The production of branded and more expensive chocolate requires considerable effort and care. Cocoa mass is never used in premium production . And the quality of the beans themselves, usually of a single origin, is controlled at every stage of production.
The term "single origin" means cocoa beans grown in a separate area, at a distance from other varieties of chocolate trees. This method is a guarantee of high quality, and the finished single origin chocolate has a unique taste profile.
If you want to make sure that you have high-quality chocolate , look for the "fair trade" label on the product packaging. This mark means that the manufacturer cares about the environment and provides decent conditions and wages to its employees. Usually, along with such an ethical business model, maximum attention is paid to the quality of cocoa beans and finished chocolate .