Chocolate lovers, rejoice! July 07 is World Chocolate Day; i.e. today!
Chocolate is not only a treat that tastes good but is also good for you in many ways. Packed with antioxidants, research has shown it to have an effect on lowering cholesterol and uplifting moods.
Most of us love chocolates, so we think it’s only fitting that we dedicate this piece to the astounding beauty on this special day. We’ve come to realize that festive or not, any time can be a time we let our sweet tooth run wild by indulging in all those gooey, solid, sugary, bittersweet chocolates.
White, milk, or dark – we all have our favorite shade of chocolate, and guess what – all of it comes from the same place – the cocoa bean. In honour of World Chocolate Day today, we share with you the varying flavours, compositions, and characteristics of various kinds of chocolate.
Predominately sweet, with bold notes of sweetened condensed milk and vanilla, white chocolate is easy to identify because of its cream or ivory colour. The rich, soft, and creamy texture comes from the process of combining sugar, cocoa butter, milk, vanilla, and lecithin (an emulsifier that helps the ingredients blend together).
Many ask, “Is white chocolate, chocolate?” The answer is “Yes” because it contains ingredients from the cacao bean. Not to be confused with the white-flavored or vanilla-flavored coating that is often found in the market.
Shelf-life: About four months.
Remember the good old Milky Bar? Break off a piece of it and the heavenly aroma of caramelized sugar, vanilla, chocolate, and dairy fills the air. Take a bite and the experience the burst of flavours explode in your mouth!
With its light brown colour, creamy texture, and sweet flavour, milk chocolate is widely popular! It is made by combining chocolate liquor (cocoa solids and cocoa butter) with sugar, and milk, and at times an emulsifier, such as soy lecithin, is added to enhance its smoothness.
Shelf-life: About 16 months.
With its notable deep brown color, dark chocolate, often referred to as black or semisweet chocolate, is typically made from two ingredients — chocolate liquor and sugar. However, small amounts of vanilla and soy lecithin (an emulsifier) are added sometimes. In recent years, dark chocolate has surged in popularity, all thanks to its health benefits. Most high-quality, dark chocolate does not contain added dairy. The lack of dairy and less sugar gives dark chocolate a firmer texture. The flavour profile – bittersweet and semi-sweet – of dark chocolate can vary widely based on the cocoa content of the chocolate. Bittersweet has a higher proportion of cocoa solids (and hence a lower proportion of sugar) than semi-sweet so it tastes slightly more bitter.
Shelf-life: About 20 months.
Chocolate liquor, also known as ‘cocoa liquor’ and ‘cocoa mass’ is a smooth, thick, liquid form of chocolate, and the base of is the base of all types of chocolate, excluding milk chocolate. It is the purest form of chocolate, produced by grinding cacao beans, with no added ingredients.
When heated, this paste turns to a liquid, and when it is cooled and moulded into blocks, chocolate liquor is known as unsweetened baking chocolate. Despite the name, chocolate liquor does not actually contain alcohol.
Shelf-life: About twelve to eighteen months
An unsweetened chocolate product that adds deep chocolate flavor to desserts and beverages, Cocoa powder, occurs when the fat, called cocoa butter, gets removed from the cacao beans during processing. The leftover dried solids get ground into the product sold as cocoa powder.
Cocoa powder tastes like chocolate, but without the creamy mouth-feel cocoa butter adds to bar chocolate. There are two types of cocoa powder, natural cocoa – great for baking and Dutch-processed cocoa – often used when making hot chocolate. Dutch-processed cocoa tends to taste milder, while natural cocoa powder can have a sharper flavour.
Shelf-life: About 18 months.
Raw chocolate is being sold as the latest superfood. The word “raw” means unprocessed or heated, or mixed with other ingredients. Since raw chocolate is reported to have very high levels in dark chocolate, it is said that if we have it as part of a balanced diet, our physical and mental health can gain from it.
Raw chocolate is very often made by blending cocoa butter and cocoa powder with binding ingredients and sweeteners, such as coconut oil and agave syrup.
Shelf-life: About two to three years
Ruby chocolate, unveiled in 2017, at a private event in Shanghai by the Belgian company Callebaut, is an intense sensorial delight; a totally new taste experience: neither bitter, milky or sweet, but a melody of fresh berry fruitiness and luscious smoothness. The last time a new type of chocolate was released to the world was over 80 years ago when the Nestlé introduced us all to white chocolate.
With its red-pink hue, this distinctive chocolate is noticeably different than its other chocolate counterparts. Its colour is derived from a specific type of cacao — the ruby cocoa bean (a bean typically grown in Ecuador, Brazil, and the Ivory Coast.) Because this is a relatively new discovery (and the exact cacao making process developed by Barry Callebaut is proprietary), there is no standard FDA definition.
Shelf-life: About six to twelve months
Now that you know the types and flavours, go and grab your favourite chocolaty treat!
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