How to identify quality chocolate

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Chocolate, without doubt, is one of the most popular food items, loved by millions of people around the world. Expert chocolatiers say that real chocolates can excite all five senses in our body. Chocolate is made from roasted and ground cacao seeds. The flavour, aroma, and uniqueness of a bar of chocolate depend on the structure and quality of the gene of the cocoa from which it is made.

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The cocoa are fermented to lose the pulp surrounding them. This is also the stage where the flavour develops in the cocoa. The fermentation process takes up to 5-7 days, followed by drying which , too, takes 7 days to complete. The dried cocoa is then transferred to the factories where the pods are removed. The cocoa beans taken from the pods are roasted and ground into a fine paste. This cocoa mass is heated and turned into a semi solid form called the cocoa liquor. Cocoa liquor contains coca solids and cocoa butter. Cocoa butter can be melted at above 25°C.

Compound chocolate

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Vegetable fat and sugar are added to cocoa solids to make the chocolate bars that are commonly available in the market. However, these bars cannot be called 'real' chocolate. You may even notice that it says 'compound' and not chocolate on the wrappers.

Also read: Chocolate coffee drink | Recipe

Cocoa butter costs up to Rs 1500-Rs 2000 per kg in the market. So if chocolates are made with it, the price of those chocolates, too, would be significantly high.

Cocoa butter is also useful to make beauty products and pharmaceuticals as well.

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Chocolate

Chocolate made from cocoa butter instead of cocoa solids is available in the markets. However, meagre amount of cocoa butter is added in such chocolates in order to keep the price of the chocolate bars at bay. These chocolates contain about 10% of cocoa butter and the rest of it is cocoa solids and other ingredients.

Couverture chocolate

Couverture chocolate is high quality chocolate which contains up to 31% cocoa butter. These are expensive bars of chocolate and have the real taste and flavour of cocoa. Couverture chocolate melts very easily as cocoa butter melts just above 25 degree Celsius.

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Know the real chocolate

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The real chocolate appeals to all the five senses of the human body and excites them, say experts. The expression 'chocolate never lies' must have originated because of this extraordinary property of the chocolate. Real chocolate will be smooth and shiny without any cracks or scratches. It can be broken perfectly with an audible snap. Original chocolates melt inside the mouth without sticking to the roof of the mouth. It would also easily melt if you hold it in your palm. The distinctive aroma of the cocoa is quite prominent and has a unique and exotic flavour as well.

Cocoa solids are mixed with cocoa butter and sugar to prepare dark chocolate

Milk chocolate is made by mixing cocoa solids, cocoa butter, sugar, and milk powder.

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