As compared with cooking or even baking, chocolate making involves relatively few ingredients: cocoa beans, cocoa butter, sugar and powder milk. It is how those ingredients are handled and the relative quantities of each that makes each chocolate unique. Understanding the basic properties of each ingredient and how ingredients interact enables the chocolate maker to succeed in creating precisely the results desired. The importance of this cannot be overstated: when a professional truly understands ingredients, there is nothing that he or she cannot accomplish in formulation.
Dark chocolate contains 2-3 ingredients: cocoa beans & sugar (cocoa butter can be added also). Milk chocolate contains cocoa beans, cocoa butter, milk and sugar. White chocolate contains cocoa butter, milk & sugar.
A big deal has been made in the recent years about the percentage of cocoa content. Almost all dark and milk chocolate sold indicates the percentage of cocoa, although very few people, even professional, understands the meaning of this.
The percentage of cocoa displayed on the bar label refers to how much of chocolate it comes from cocoa tree. You cannot determine how much cocoa beans or cocoa butter he or she used, because you don’t know the recipe.
Even two chocolates that have the same percentage of cocoa content can have different recipes. Let’s take as an example two chocolates that display on the label a 70% cocoa. The first can contain 55% cocoa beans and 15% cocoa butter and the second, 60% cocoa beans and 10% cocoa butter. The first will be weak flavored and will have lower viscosity while the second will be strong flavored and will have high viscosity.
Another aspect that has been used as a marketing tool by the big chocolate producers is the origin of cocoa beans. Single origin cocoa beans are recommended by them, but the reality is that two batches of chocolate that use cocoa beans with the same origins can be very different. The chocolate flavor is given by many factors like the fermentation, roasting, recipe, conching period, aging and storage.
Because chocolate contains virtually no moisture it has a long shelf live. The main factor that can affect the shelf live is rancidity, due to the fat content. To overcome this, chocolate must be stored protected from exposure to oxygen, light, heat and moisture. If it is stored under ideal conditions the dark chocolate has a shelf life of approximately twelve months, while milk and white chocolate have a shelf life of approximately six months.
Next time when you will buy choose a pure chocolate that is simple and appropriate to a healthy life style.