Good vs Bad Chocolate
Everyone loves a good chocolate, however not everyone is able to taste the difference in the quality of chocolates. Fret not, for this read will tell you how to differentiate couverture chocolate(high quality) from compound chocolate(low quality).
Let us first look at how chocolates are produced. Cacao trees grow in tropical climates, and the cocoa found in the fruit of the trees are taken down to be broken into compounds, and then dried. The quality of the fermentation process decides the extent of flavour the cocoa beans give. Once the beans are transported to the manufacturer, the beans are cleaned and roasted.
Roasting is a crucial step to bring out the flavour of the beans as well. The duration, method and temperature of toasting also affects how the cocoa taste. After roasting, the center of the bean (known as the nib) is taken out, as this is what is consumed. The nib is segmented into three forms: cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, and cocoa powder.
Forms of Cocoa Content
When the nib is grounded, it produces cocoa liquor or cocoa mass, which contrary to its name does not contain liquor and is the purest form of chocolate. Upon pressing cocoa liquor, cocoa butter is formed, and the remains are the cocoa cake. Lastly, one gets cocoa powder by grounding the cocoa cake. The concentration of chocolate thus diminishes with each step of grounding.
What Goes Into Making Chocolate
To produce milk chocolate, cocoa butter (for a flowy form), cocoa powder, sugar and milk are added. White chocolate on the other hand does not require cocoa powder. Depending on the different manufacturers, emulsifiers may be added to enhance the flow of the chocolate, reducing the need for more cocoa butter. The ingredients are then poured into a conching machine where they are mixed to an even fluid form and solid particles are broken down. Thereafter the mixture is tempered (heated) and left to cool to crystallize, and then heated again, to smoothen the surface of the chocolate. It is then filled into blocks of molds, ready for consumption.
Couverture vs Compound Chocolate
Couverture chocolate is a higher quality chocolate, as it has higher cocoa content of minimally 35% cocoa solids and 31% cocoa butter. Couverture chocolate contains cocoa butter and cocoa liquor, while compound chocolate contains cocoa powder and vegetable oil. Vegetable oil, however, is harmful for the human body as it contains saturated fats which increases the chances of cardiovascular diseases. Cocoa butter, on the other hand contains monounsaturated fats which does not raise cholesterol levels, hence being a much better ingredient than vegetable oil. Manufacturers use vegetable oil because it is a cheaper alternative and is easier to handle during the chocolate production process.
Differences in Good and Bad Chocolate:
High quality chocolate should smell exactly of rich chocolate and should not smell of wax.
Couverture chocolate would melt in your mouth more easily, as compared to compound chocolate due to the cocoa butter content found in couverture chocolate. Couverture chocolate tastes more luxurious as compared to compound chocolate, which has a waxy taste. Lastly, couverture chocolate tastes more bitter compared to compound chocolate, as the former has higher cocoa content while the latter is mixed with sugar and milk.
Good chocolate should be smooth, without white or grey spots and has a glossier appearance.
The Way It Breaks
Good chocolate should break more cleanly and have a clear snap to it when broken, while bad chocolate tends to bend and does not make much sound when broken.
Benefits Of Chocolate
Couverture chocolate should have minimally, 60% cocoa content and the higher the cocoa content, the better. This is because cocoa contains a compound called flavanol, which helps to protect cells against unstable molecules in the body. Flavanol also promotes blood circulation, reduces the clotting of platelet cells, and thus lowering blood pressure. It also helps to elevate one’s mood and contains magnesium and potassium. A research showed that the group of elderly that drank hot dark chocolate for three months had better memory than the group that drank a drink of lower flavanol content. Thus, consuming dark chocolate may be even more beneficial for the elderly who are suffering from age-related cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Lastly, findings from a six-month research in 2018 showed that consuming 48g of 70 percent of dark chocolate everyday helps to lower insulin resistance and therefore lowers glucose level.
We Provide Dark Chocolate Mixed Nuts
Now that you have understood what is the difference between a good and bad chocolate and are looking for a healthy snack, look no further! Here we have the Superboost snack blend, which uses couverture chocolate that contains a minimum of 70.4% of cocoa solids, so you can be sure that you are eating good chocolate. Do remember however, to eat in moderation because excessive consumption is always a no-go.