On February 1st, National Dark Chocolate Day reminds us to indulge a little. Many tout dark chocolate as the healthier chocolate. However, for some, it can be an acquired taste.
Also known as bittersweet chocolate, dark chocolate is different from milk chocolate. Candy makers add milk or butter to milk chocolate, giving it a creamier consistency. Dark chocolate includes no added milk or butter. Instead, the percentage of cocoa solids remaining in the chocolate determines how dark the chocolate is. The higher the ratio, the darker the chocolate. It may also have a slightly bitter taste.
Chocolate comes from the seed of the tropical Theobroma cacao tree. We have been cultivating cacao for at least three millennia, and the plant grows in Mexico, Central America, and Northern South America. Our earliest known documentation of using cacao seeds dates to around 1100 BC.
Fermentation helps develop the flavor of the cacao seeds. Otherwise, the seeds are too bitter to eat. Once fermented, the beans are dried, cleaned, and roasted. After roasting, the shell is removed to produce cacao nibs. Processors then ground the cocoa nips into cocoa mass, pure chocolate in rough form. Next, they usually liquefy the cocoa mass and mold it with or without other ingredients. At this point in the process, it is called chocolate liquor. The chocolate liquor may then be processed into two components: cocoa solids and cocoa butter.
Besides being lower in calories and fat, dark chocolate has many other health benefits. It also serves as a decadent ingredient in many desserts and sauces.
HOW TO OBSERVE NATIONAL DARK CHOCOLATE DAY
- Eat some dark chocolate.
- Bake with dark chocolate.
- Add dark chocolate to a savory dish.
- Share dark chocolate recipes.
- Host a dark chocolate tasting.
- Learn about the health benefits of dark chocolate.
- Use #NationalDarkChocolateDay on social media……….[read more]
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