Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Don't be swindled by low prices!

It would make sense for chocolate to contain cocoa butter, right? Well, some companies have been exploring other options.

In America, there has been a pattern of using less and less cocoa butter because, rather than using it in the chocolate, many chocolate companies are selling their cocoa butter to cosmetics companies. Instead cheaper, lower quality fats (such as sunflower oil, palm oil, and coconut oil, among others) are added to the “chocolate” we tend to see in the supermarket. But wait…can you call a product “chocolate” if it doesn’t contain cocoa butter, or at least some percentage of the fats come from cocoa butter? Some companies are trying to see to it that the definition of chocolate is changed!

How is this even possible? During the process of making chocolate, they press the cocoa beans to extract the cocoa butter, leaving behind cocoa powder or cocoa mass. (For those that are curious after my detailed report on how chocolate is made, this scandalous extraction is done by the companies in question after the beans are roasted but before they are put through the stone mill.)

American chocolate is known for its waxy, sour taste. Now you know why. By certain definitions it isn’t chocolate. So when you see an expensive chocolate bar, it probably is expensive for a reason: namely, that it contains more chocolate. Makes sense why it tastes better, huh? When you see a percentage written on a chocolate bar it accounts for the percentage of actual cocoa solids, cacao or cocoa mass.

In short: If it’s chocolate you want, don’t accept anything that doesn’t have some form of cocoa, cacao or chocolate as the first ingredient. Stay safe. Stay informed.

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