January 7, 2008

Eat Sheet: Chocolate

This past December 11, Sophia Banay wrote a good article in Portfolio helping to lay out the basics of high end chocolate, and how you can take part in the trend.

Some of the important nuggets of advice for any aspiring chocolate aficionado.

The Basics About Chocolate - Chocolate's three main forms—dark (less sugar and milk), milk (much lower level of cacao), and white (mostly cocoa butter, no cocoa solids).

The Big Number for Chocolate Snobs
- The percentage of cacao in the bar - typically shown on the wrapper. 70% is the current level level of choice for the trend-setters.

The Big Kahuna of Beans - There are 3 kinds of commercial cacao beans - Criollo, Forastero, and Trinitario. Criollo is the big dog, because they make a light, aromatic, nutty, caramel-colored chocolate. They sell for up to $15,000 a metric ton!

Buy Nonfumigated, not Organic - "Organic" chocolate is a gimmick, it may not have been sprayed by pesticides, but they have been sprayed with methyl bromide to remove insects and dirt.

The Singles Scene
- Single-bean chocolate bars are all the rage. The trend started when small farms, especially those in Brazil, the Dominican Republic, and parts of Venezuela, started producing exclusive-derivation bean shipments, meaning the beans all come from a small grove of identical trees within a certain area.

It'll Keep - Chocolate can be stored for well over a year, provided the spot is cool and dry and the temperature is constant.

When to Eat It - Eat your chocolate, especially the good stuf, at room temperature: too cold and it’s waxy; too hot and it melts.

Read the whole article.

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Posted by Bob Wallace at January 7, 2008 10:07 PM
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