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There are a variety of chocolate products, with an often confusing array of types, qualities, fillings and flavourings:

Plain or bittersweet chocolate must contain a minimum of 34 per cent cacao solids, but generally speaking, the higher the pro­portion the better the chocolate. Not so long ago, plain chocolate containing just 30 per cent cacao solids was consid­ered high quality. Nowadays, as our taste and awareness of chocolate grows, 60 per cent is the preferred min­imum, while for chocoholics 70-80 per cent is even more desirable. High quality dark chocolate contains a correspondingly small proportion of sugar. Adding sugar to chocolate has been compared with adding salt to food. You need just enough to enhance the flavour but not so much that the flavour is destroyed. Quality chocolate contains pure vanilla, an expensive flavouring sometimes called Bourbon Vanilla, extracted from a type of orchid grown in Madagascar. It also contains the minutest amount of lecithin, a harmless vegetable stabilizer. In unsweetened chocolate, which is found only in specialist shops, cacao solids are as high as 98 per cent.
This is high-quality chocolate in the professional league, used mainly for coating and in baking. Couverture usually has a min­imum of 32 per cent cacao butter, which enables it to form a much thinner shell than ordinary chocolate.
A good brand will have a cacao solid content of around 40 per cent, but most mass-produced chocolate contains only 20 per cento Mass-produced milk chocolate has a high sugar content, often up to 50 per cent. It can contain up to 5 per cent vegetable fat, used as a substitute expensive cacao butter, and artificial flavouring.
This is basically cacao butter without any cacao solids, with some added sugar, flavouring and milk. White chocolate does not have the same depth of flavour as plain chocolate. It is mainly for its novelty value or to provide an attractive colour contrast in chocolates and chocolate desserts.
publicado por RVS às 12:02



The origins of chocolate are rooted in the New World prehistory. The tree from with chocolate is derived was cultivated by ancient Mesoamerican civilizations like Olmec, Toltecs Aztecs and the Maya. the Olmec people, one of the earliest Mesoamerican civilizations, occupied an area of tropical forests south of Veracruz three thousand years ago and where the first civilization to cultivate the tree.



The Maya called the tree cacahuaquehtl - "tree" - as far as they were concerned, there was no other tree worth naming. They believed that the tree belonged to the gods and that the pods growing from its trunk were an offering from the gods to man.The Maya were the originators off a bitter brew made from cacao beans. This was a luxury drink enjoyed by kings and noblemen, after the mysterious fall of the Mayan empire around AO 900, the Taltecs, later followed by the Aztecs from Mexico, settled in former Mayan territory.



In 1502, Christopher Columbus on his fourth and final voyage to the Caribbean, discovered chocolate. The story goes that he was greeted by Aztecs who offered him a sackful of what looked like large almonds in exchange for some of his own merchandise. Noticing his perplexity, the Aztecs explained that a very special drink, tchocolatl (or xocolatl), could be made with these beans. Their chief demonstrated by having his servants prepare some on the spot. Columbus and his crew found the resulting dark and bitter concoction repellent but nevertheless took some cacao beans back to Spain for curiosity value, little realizing their future economic worth.


In the City of Mexico, the cacao bean was used as both food and current money, two hundred small cacao beans were worth one Spanish real. In 1580, the first ever chocolate processing plant was set up in Spain. From then on the popularaty of the chocolat spread to two other contries.Those coutries established their own plantations, trade routes and processing facilities.


The Dutch transplanted the tree to their East Indian states of Java and Sumatra in the early seventeenth century. The French settled in Martinique in 1660 and in Brazil in 1677, along with the Portuguese. In the early nineteenth century, the Portuguese successfully transplanted Brazilian cacao saplings to the island of São Tomé off the African coast, and later to the island of Fernando Póo and West Africa. By the end of the nineteenth century, the Germans had settled in the Cameroons and the British in Sri Lanka. Plantations have since spread to South-East Asia, and Malaysia is now one of the world's leading producers.



publicado por RVS às 13:14
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