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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Chocolate Tasting

I am pretty sure that there are very very very few women who would turn down an opportunity to do chocolate tasting. Personally, I only crave chocolate first thing in the morning, after a nap or when that time of the month rolls by. But none the less, I would definitely say ‘yes’ to a chocolate tasting experience.
I was recently at a friends house and was given some pure chocolate to try and because I am so trained to think that all chocolate is sweet and tasty, it didn’t even cross my mind to doubt the taste of this ‘pure chocolate’ – surely it would just be even more awesome? Alas, I was proven to be very naïve when it comes to chocolate and chocolate tasting because when I put this piece of chocolate in my mouth I pulled a face that my 6 year daughter would be proud of.
What this person meant by pure chocolate was that it was pure 100% cocoa with no sugar, cocoa butter, milk etc. It was bitter and strong and after 10 minutes of this chocolate tasting I was on a pure cocoa buzz. I did not like it at all but worst of all it made me question what I always considered ‘real’ chocolate to be. Oh, the betrayal! I had to know what was in the ‘normal’ chocolate at the shops and why on earth did it not taste like this pure chocolate.

There are actually far more different types of chocolate than I thought – I will mention a few and no, I did not do a chocolate tasting with all of these. Chocolate liqueur is the basis of all types of chocolate, nothing is added, and it ironically doesn’t contain alcohol. It contains about 53% cocoa butter (fat). Cocoa Butter is the fat that is expelled when chocolate liquor is pressed to make cocoa powder (this gives our ‘shop chocolate’ its creamy texture).Unsweetened chocolate is chocolate liquor that has been allowed to cool and harden and is used for baking. Dark chocolate contains at least 35% chocolate liquor, plus cocoa butter and sugar in varying amounts.

Milk chocolate contains at least 10% chocolate liquor, plus cocoa butter and sugar and at least 12% milk – An EU regulation states that milk chocolate must legally have a minimum of 25% cocoa solids. White chocolate is actually not considered chocolate because it does not contain any chocolate liquor only cocoa butter, milk and sugar. And who, you may ask, makes all these rules and guidelines about chocolate production? I will tell you who...The Chocolate Manufacturers Association...yes, something like that does actually exists. I guess it is quite an obvious association to have, but it would never have crossed my mind

So there you have it – the legalities and ingredients involved the production of chocolate. I know that I will never forget the taste of that pure chocolate and whenever I eat a ‘normal’ chocolate I will be reminded of how far it actually is from the real thing. I don’t know if this is a good or a bad thing but one thing is for sure...chocolate is amazing and amazing it will always be... (And I so should have done a chocolate tasting of my own while writing this post).

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