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Valentine's Day! Chocolate 101

Date:
February 12, 2014
Source:
Institute of Food Technologists (IFT)
Summary:
Here’s a brief look at where chocolate comes from, nutritional information, how it’s made, and the ingredients that make chocolate -- whether milk, dark or white -- a memorable treat.

Here's a brief look at where chocolate comes from, nutritional information, how it's made, and the ingredients that make chocolate -- whether milk, dark or white -- a memorable treat.

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Cocoa Seeds, Not Beans

Cocoa comes from the cocoa plant grown in the remote areas of West Africa, Asia and South America. While often called cocoa beans, cocoa plants actually are large, brightly colored pods filled with many seeds.

Cocoa to Chocolate

Cocoa seeds are removed from the pod, dried and roasted, giving them a distinct dark color and unique flavor. After roasting, cocoa seeds are ground into a paste called chocolate liquor. The liquor separates into dry cocoa and cocoa butter, or fat.

Chocolate Ingredients

Cocoa is heated and combined with other ingredients, such as sugar and milk, to create chocolate bars and candy. Dark chocolate is at least 35 percent cocoa liquor; and milk chocolate, 10 percent. White chocolate has cocoa butter, but no chocolate liquor. Chocolate contains protein, magnesium, and flavanols (antioxidants). Dark chocolate has caffeine; white chocolate does not. Dairy-based chocolate provides calcium.

Chocolate Safety

The roasting process kills bacteria on the cocoa seeds. Because of the high fat, low moisture content, chocolate generally does not spoil. A white coating, called "chocolate bloom," may appear on the surface of a chocolate bar. This is either the cocoa butter or sugar rising to the top of the chocolate, often due to high temperatures or sun. The presence of chocolate bloom does not mean that the chocolate is unsafe to eat.

Chocolate for Heath

Antioxidants, like the flavonols found in chocolate, may boost the body's immune system. There is still a lot more research that needs to be done, but exciting emerging research shows that chocolate may be good for both cardiovascular health and even memory. The sweetness in chocolate certainly makes it taste good, but chocolate should always be consumed in moderation due to sugar and fat content.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institute of Food Technologists (IFT). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Institute of Food Technologists (IFT). "Valentine's Day! Chocolate 101." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140212164315.htm>.
Institute of Food Technologists (IFT). (2014, February 12). Valentine's Day! Chocolate 101. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140212164315.htm
Institute of Food Technologists (IFT). "Valentine's Day! Chocolate 101." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140212164315.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

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