A recent study indicates that when men crave food, they tend to crave fat and salt. When women crave food, they tend to desire chocolate.
Aztec Emperor Montezuma drank 50 golden goblets of hot chocolate, dyed red and flavored with chili peppers, every day.
Chocolate syrup was used for blood in the famous 45 second shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s movie, Psycho, which actually took 7 days to shoot.
The average American consumes more than 10 pounds of chocolate every year.
76% of Americans say the ears of the chocolate bunnies should be eaten first.
5% think chocolate feet of the bunnies should be eaten first.
4% think the chocolate tails should go first.
One ounce of milk chocolate has only a little more caffeine than the amount of caffeine in a cup of decaffeinated coffee. White chocolate has no caffeine.
Why is chocolate good for you?
Chocolate contains a range of nutrients which include minerals such as potassium, calcium and iron. It also contains the B-vitamin riboflavin. It is true that most of chocolates’ calories do come from fat but the ingredient, known as cocoa butter, is the kind of fat that consists mostly of monounsaturated fatty acid also found in olive oil; the ‘healthy’ fat needed in all diets. Although studies are constantly being done with chocolate (and why not?), studies in the past (e.g. Netherlands, 2006, Harvard, 2003) have shown two significant additional positives. In these test studies, the people who consumed cocoa regularly had a lower blood pressure than those that did not, were less likely to die from cardiovascular disease and had better peripheral blood flow.
Why eat dark chocolate?
Dark chocolate has the potential to have the largest quantity of cocoa solids – at least to 70%. This means that 70% of the chocolate is from the cocoa bean and less from added sugars, oils and perhaps other fillers. Thus the antioxidants in the dark chocolate surpasses pecans (14% less) and red wine (25% less).
Why eat chocolate dipped nuts?
Besides the wonderful benefits from our all natural chocolate, nuts are a great food. In general, nuts are loaded with protein. Peanuts have the most, followed by almonds, cashews and walnuts. Protein is essential for healthy brain and muscle function, and for vegetarians, are a great substitute for animal protein. Nuts also contain omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and fiber. Thus with all the added benefits of chocolate, chocolate dipped nuts are a great snack.
The Making of Chocolate
When the picked, scooped, fermented, dried and inspected beans finally arrive to the chocolate making factories, the final art of making chocolate begins; a process comparable to the skill and finesse of the world’s greatest chefs. The manufacturing process requires much time and painstaking care. Just to make an individual sized chocolate bar, for example, takes from two to four more days.
Manufacturing methods will differ in detail from plant to plant, but there is a general processing pattern that prevails everywhere. It is this pattern that makes the chocolate industry distinctive from every other industry. For example, all manufacturers carefully catalogue each shipment according to its particular type and origin. This is very important, because it enables them later to maintain exact control over the flavor blending of beans for roasting.
Basically, this is what happens to make chocolate:
- After sorting and cleaning, the cocoa beans are roasted for up to two hours.
- The cocoa beans are then shelled. What remains are chocolate nibs, which contain 54% cocoa butter. Cocoa butter is the natural fat of the bean.
- As the nibs are ground, cocoa butter is released, transforming the solid nibs into the free-flowing substance known as chocolate liquor. Chocolate liquor (not alcoholic, just liquid) is the essence of all real chocolate products.
- The chocolate liquor is passed through huge presses to remove a desired amount of the cocoa butter to be used later. Cocoa butter is an amazing vegetable fat that resists rancidity and oxidation and can be kept for years without spoiling. A small amount of cocoa butter is sold to the cosmetics industry.
- After the cocoa butter is removed, a pressed cake is left. This is the cocoa powder. The cocoa powder can still contain up to 10% of cocoa butter and will be sold bulk or as an ingredient for bakers, along with chocolatiers.
- Solid chocolate is made by adding back together the different parts -cocoa butter, cocoa power – and other ingredients – sugar, perhaps milk and vanilla – to achieve the individual manufacturer’s desired finished taste.
- The mixture then travels through a series of heavy rollers until there is a refined smooth paste ready for conching.
- Conching is a flavor development process which “kneads” the chocolate.
- The final step is tempering, a process that gradually raises, lowers and then raises the temperature again to set degrees. FINALLY, this finished product is poured into many shapes from candy bar sizes to ten pound slabs.