What Is Chocolate
Chocolate is a mixture of cocoa paste, cocoa butter, and sugar. Nowadays, the shops offer many different varieties of chocolates, the differences of which start already from the countries of origin of the cocoa beans and also depend on the method of manufacturing and the recipe. Dark chocolate
The cocoa content of dark chocolate may even exceed 90%. This type of chocolate is the healthiest and this is mainly due to its cocoa content! Dark chocolate consists mainly of cocoa bean mass, cocoa butter, sugar, lecithin and vanillin used for highlighting the flavour. The depth of the colour and bitterness of the flavour of the chocolate depend on the ratio between the beans mass and sugar. Semi-sweet dark chocolate with the cocoa content of up to 50% is usually used in baking. Milk chocolate
In the case of milk chocolate, a part of the dry components of the cocoa are substituted with milk components, which give the chocolate a sweeter flavour, lighter colour and also softer structure. Due to the fact that the milk chocolate is extremely sensitive to heat, using it for desserts that require heat is much more complicated. At the same time, it is very suitable for decorating, offering variation to the dark chocolate in terms of smell, flavour as well as colour. White chocolate
Making and raw materials of the white chocolate are similar to those of the regular chocolate, except one important difference: no cocoa beans mass or powder is used in it. Thus, the only cocoa product used in it is the cocoa butter. Thanks to that the white chocolate is sweeter than others and is very suitable for making desserts. As compared to the regular chocolate, it also contains much more milk. However, melting white chocolate requires special care. As a result of too fast heating, it may become grainy or burn.
History of Chocolate
The oldest records related to chocolates date back to somewhere around 1500-2000 BC. The high rainfall, soaring temperatures and great humidity of Central American rain forests created the perfect climate for the cultivation of the Cacao Tree. During that time, the Mayan civilization used to flourish in that region. Mayan people worshipped Cacao Tree, believing it to be of divine origin. They also used to roasted and pounded seeds of the tree, with maize and Capsicum (Chilli) peppers, to brew a spicy, bitter sweet drink. The drink was consumed either in ceremonies or in the homes of the wealthy and religious elite.
It is said that the word ‘Cacao’ was corrupted by the early European explorers and turned into 'Cocoa'. Even the Aztecs, of Central Mexico, are believed to have acquired the beans through trade and/or the spoils of war. In fact, Cacao beans were considered to be so prized by Aztecs that they started using it as a type of currency. They also made a drink, similar to the one made by Mayans, and called it ‘Xocolatl’, the name which was later corrupted to 'Chocolat', by Spanish conquistadors. The further corruption of the word, which finally gave it its present form ’Chocolate’, was done by the English.
Entry in Europe
Xocolatl, or Chocolate, was brought to Europe by Cortez. It was here that sugar and vanilla were added to the Aztec's brew, to offset its spicy bitterness. The commercialization of chocolate started in Spain, where the first chocolate factories were opened. Spanish treasure fleets brought back dried fermented beans from the new world, roasting and grounding them to make chocolate powder. This powder was used to make European version of the ‘Aztec’ drink and then, exported to the other countries in Europe.
Within a few years, Spain’s drink become popular throughout the continent and it was around 1520 that it came to England. However, it was only in the year 1657 that the first Chocolate House of England was opened, in London. The popularity of the drink led to a string of other Chocolate Houses. Since cocoa was so expensive, the houses started...