How to Fully Experience Chocolate
As mentioned in my previous post, Gail Ambrosius (owner of Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier, in Madison, Wisconsin) has created an information sheet regarding how to judge every piece of chocolate that you encounter. I’ve summarized her terrific tips here:
Is the chocolate shiny or dull? Mahogany, dark brown or even black? These characteristics reflect the type of beans used to create the chocolate, plus their source and processing.
When slightly warmed between your fingers, is the aroma delicate or potent? This will give you a ‘tip’ regarding potential flavor.
Does the chocolate you are tasting ‘snap’ as you bite into it? That’s a sign of proper chocolate tempering.
About tempering: https://www.ecolechocolat.com/en/chocolate-tempering.html
As the chocolate melts on your tongue what flavors do you think of and how does that change over time? When you exhale through your nose, how does the flavor shift and linger?
Notice the chocolate texture in your mouth. Is it sandy/grainy or smooth/silky?
Chocolate Production and Climate Change
The previous post also mentioned Ambrosius’s concern about her company’s carbon footprint. To learn more about climate change and cocoa production, visit http://www.confectionerynews.com/Commodities/Climate-change-and-cocoa-Chocolate-firms-action-to-temperature-rise/?utm_source=newsletter_daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=30-Apr-2015&c=OquP9o9q%2B29WTWa2qvZGiJTc6C3zptEU& .
Definitions Associated with Ethical Chocolate-Making
SINGLE ORIGIN CHOCOLATE: Cacao beans in a chocolate product that came from only one location, whether from the same country or the same individual property.
ORGANIC CHOCOLATE: This chocolate variety must feature certified organic ingredients, with no pesticides or genetically modified elements included.
FAIR TRADE CERTIFIED: Farmers who grow the cacao used to make chocolate receive a 'living wage'
A Little Chocolate History
Father of modern-day taxonomic plant classification, Carolus Linnaeus named cacao ‘theobroma.’ From ancient Greek, it means ‘Food of the Gods.’
Cacao is a Mayan word the Spanish colonizers of Mesoamerica retained to describe the tree and its produce. This plant grows around the world in a band spreading 20 degrees north and south of the Equator.
As the nineteenth century began technology made it possible to transform chocolate into bars and other sweets. Developed by Rodolphe Lindt, his ‘conching’ technique allowed chocolatiers to create smooth melted chocolate from cacao.
Learn more chocolate history here: http://blog.oup.com/2016/07/chocolate-facts/
Dark Chocolate’s Health Benefits
A fermented edible, cacao is also considered a health-promoting super food. And this article, 7 Heart-Healthy Perks of Dark Chocolate, details how cacao:
-Prevents Heart Disease
-Powers Heart and Blood Vessel Cells
-Boosts Blood Circulation
-Calms Blood Pressure
-Lowers Stroke Risk
-Helps You Meet Cholesterol Goals
-Relieves Stress on Your Heart
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I love crafting stories about fantastic food & beverages, must-visit destinations & eco-friendly topics. I wrote a 350+ page book about Kansas. And I've worked with dozens of additional clients - from Fodors.com & AAA magazines to USA Today 10Best & WanderWithWonder.
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