Are you really eating chocolate when you pick up a 10 Rs bar?? Well yes you are indeed eating chocolate but in very small percentage, the rest of it is milk solids, vegetable fat and a lot of sugar. Many more such facts were revealed when I attended a chocolate making class with Chocolatier Hanumanta Dhotre at Artisan, Sofitel BKC.
Chocolate is derived from cocoa pods some popular regions for the growth of the tree which is the Theobroma are Ghana, Madagascar, Ecuador and a lot of it comes from the Ivory Coast, Kerala in India also does grow it. The Cocoa pods have the beans; the beans are then fermented, roasted and deshelled for separating the cocoa nibs. These nibs are ground to form the Cocoa Mass/Chocolate liquor and this mass is eventually separated into two; Cocoa Solids and Cocoa butter.
Understanding the Chocolate Label:
- Dark Chocolate: It usually comes with a percentage. Say for example 85% bar will have 15% sugar and the rest will be Cocoa Mass (Cocoa Solids + Cocoa Butter) with a hint of Vanilla (optional) and emulsifying agent of Soy lecithin. This bar certainly has a bitter finish as the sugar isn’t enough to sweeten the Cocoa. A 60 or 70 % one will be sweeter, you can also find 99% bars.
- Milk Chocolate: This will have Milk solids (powder) added to Cocoa solids and cocoa butter which is more expensive could be replaced by hydrogenated fat. So a Milk chocolate could have as less as 7-10% Cocoa, 15% Milk solids and the rest is sugar and fat. Now you know why dark chocolate is healthy?
- White Chocolate: It is white in colour because the white does not have cocoa solids but just cocoa butter mixed with milk solids. Milky bar remember?? We made one with a pistachio filling.
- With pitches for Diwali Chocolate gifting will begin soon and here is where the dark chocolate compound plays a very important role! At Rs 200 odd a Kilo one can make a lot of cute looking chocolates wrapped in glitzy wrappers and bejeweled boxes and sell it for Rs 2000. So dark chocolate compound has no cocoa butter (it is perhaps sold to the cosmetics industry) and has vegetable oil instead. In most premium hotels they use dark chocolate and it costs over Rs 2000 a kilo and even more if it is a single origin. That explains the Rs 100 for a piece to a certain extent!!
Chef Dhotre took us through a process of making coconut centred dark chocolate where we understood a few more terms, truffle ( of the Dutch Truffle fame!) is 2 parts of cream and a part of semi-sweet chocolate ( 60-70%), Ganache which is a part each of Chocolate and Cream etc. So the next time you buy your Dutch Truffle cake you better ask about the chocolate that was used! I did get to taste a lot of his creations with Macha (Japanese Tea), Whisky, Caramel and Crushed Cocoa Bean Bar and more.
These days I am on Moth Roser 70% and 85% Cocoa however if I were to buy it in the country my go to option will be a Bournville (50%). Last thoughts, if you bar of Chocolate breaks with a snap, you know you are in for a treat!