All food products have a history. With cocoa, we have to go back to the time of Columbus while on one of his adventures, he came across the cocoa bean. He brought the cocoa bean back to Spain but alas, no one was interested in these bitter beans called cocoa. It was not until the Aztecs prepared these beans that the cocoa beans aroused interest.
For many years Spain kept this method of preparing chocolate a secret. It was only when Jews fleeing to Bayonne, France that the long-kept secret leaked outside of Spanish occupied lands. After that, interest in the cocoa bean spread to Austria, England, the Netherlands, and North America.
For cakes and chicken.
Today, chocolate has spread out to virtually all continents on the globe. We are most familiar with chocolate for desserts, cakes, chocolate bars, etc. But in Mexico, for example, chocolate is mixed with chili to form a molè-sauce which is eaten with chicken. The Spanish also ate chocolate sauce with glazed pearl onions and with wild fowl. Whereas, the Germans are fond of chocolate soup and chocolate potato tarts.
Harvesting and export.
Most cocoa beans come from the "cocoa belt" which stretches from America, Africa and Asia from 10° latitude N to 10° latitude S. When the cocoa bean is harvested, the flesh of the bean is removed from the shell. The flesh is then fermented. Fermentation can take between 5 to 7 days and is very important for the development of the aroma and color of the beans. Hereafter the flesh is dried and ready for export.
The three types of chocolate.
There are three types of chocolate. The dark chocolate consists of cocoa mass, cocoa-butter and sugar. The
milk chocolate consists of cocoa mass, cocoa-butter, sugar and powdered milk. The
white chocolate doesn't contain any cocoa mass but consists of cocoa butter, powdered milk and sugar.
Did you know that cocoa has...
* a little caffeine which can have a stimulating effect.
* many healthy minerals which include calcium and magnesium.
* dark chocolate which consists of 3 mg of iron per 100 grams of cocoa.
* an antioxidant just like wine.
* as much as 70 g of sugar in 100 g of chocolate!