May I freeze chocolate?
Yes. Ready your chocolate for freezing by first wrapping it in freezer paper. Then use two plastic bags to seal the package.
How do I defrost chocolate that is frozen?
Bring the chocolate to room temperature before opening the package. This will eliminate condensation.
Should I store chocolate in my refrigerator?
A cool and dry space in your house is a better place to store chocolate. The refrigerator is a high humidity environment. Additionally, chocolate if not well wrapped, may take on the flavor of other food stored in the refrigerator.
What temperature is best for chocolate storage?
The best temperature for chocolate storage is around 65 degrees. The best humidity level is under 50%.
Chocolate is the most romanticized food in the world. It has a reputation of being an aphrodisiac, a mood enhancer, an addiction. For the ever hopeful, chocolate has been touted as an antioxidant, tooth decay retardant, diet food, and the key to longevity.
There is no doubt a bit of truth and a bit of hopefulness in all of the claims made upon chocolate. But here are a few indisputable facts:
- Chocolate is a plant food. It contains naturally occurring vitamins and minerals.
- The sweetness of chocolate comes from the addition of sugar. Before sugar trading, the Aztecs drank a bitter mixture called Xocolatl. Crushed cocoa beans were used as the main ingredient.
- The melting point of cocoa butter is just below the human body temperature. This is why chocolate literally melts in your mouth. Yum!
- Chocolate is the most widely accepted and sought after flavor in our country. It outpaces any other flavor by a 3 to 1 margin.
Girls just wanna have chocolate
While men appreciate chocolate, women are more passionate about it.
Enjoy these insights into women's special relationship to chocolate:
- Chocolate is the #1 food craved by women.
- 69% of women do not feel guilty when they indulge in chocolate.
- 65% of womean eat chocolate weekly.
- 85% of women agree that chocolate in moderation fits into a healthy lifestyle.
- 52% say eating chocolate makes them happy.
Info from the Chocolate Manufacturers Association website.
Candy is a relatively recent tradition for the Easter holiday. Here are some other Easter candy tidbits:
- Pretzels and hot cross buns were among the earliest Easter treats.
- The first chocolate eggs were made in Europe in the 1800s.
- 90 million chocolate bunnies were produced for 2007.
- 16 million jellybeans are sold each year. If all those jellybeans were lined up end-to-end, they would circle the earth nearly three times.
- Most people (70%) prefer to eat their jellybeans one flavor at a time. Favorite flavors: 20% cherry, 12% strawberry, 10% grape, 7% lime, and 6% blueberry.
- In 1953, it took 27 hours to create a marshmallow peep, now it takes six minutes. More than 7 million marshmallow peeps are sold for the Easter season.
||The Source of Chocolate
Chocolate is grown in tropical regions of the world. Twenty degrees latitude north and twenty degrees latitude south of the equator is known as the cocoa belt. The constant warmth of this regional climate is the perfect environment for cacao trees to thrive. It is from the bean of these tropical plants that chocolate is derived.
The countries that are the leaders in cocoa bean production are as follows:
1) Ivory Coast, Africa
2) Brazil, South America
3) Ghana, Africa
4) Malaysia, Southeast Asia
5) Nigeria, Africa
Cacao vs Cocoa
Because of a mistake in spelling, probably made by English importers many years ago, beans from the cacao tree became known as cocoa beans in English speaking countries. This causes many people to think that the beans come from the coconut palm tree instead of the cacao tree.
Chocolate and Fruit Fondue
Chocolate and fruit fondue is a leisurely group activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. It is also a dessert that is vitamin packed. With the abundance of fresh produce arriving in our grocery stores, no time could be better than this Spring season to treat your family or guests to a chocolate and fruit fondue. Here’s what you do:
- Decide how many chocolate choices you will serve: Milk, semi-sweet, and white are all possible or exclusive choices.
- Choose fruits that are in season. “It depends on the fruit,” says Bob Hertzberg, a local produce grocer, when asked about the availability of fresh fruit. “Grapes, peaches, nectarines, kiwi, and blueberries are all coming from Chile right now. Navel oranges are coming from California, and strawberries from Florida.” Strawberries are a common favorite with chocolate, but experiment and find some new favorites.
- Prepare your fruit. Wash all fruit thoroughly. Cut larger fruits such as apples, pears, nectarines, and bananas into manageable pieces. Grapes, blueberries and strawberries can all be used whole. Arrange the fruit in a pleasing manner on a platter, or in separate bowls.
- Warm the chocolate in a microwave or double boiler. Be patient when melting chocolate, as most of the problems people have at home with chocolate come from overheating.
- It is not necessary to invest in fondue pots to enjoy this activity. Though fondue pots have the advantage of flames or burners to keep the melted chocolate warm, you may use heat resistant bowls. If the chocolate begins to harden, the microwave can serve as a quick reheating method.
- Each guest needs a dipping fork, a plate, and a napkin. For very fancy occasions, you may serve the fondue with sparkling grape juice, wine or champagne.
Chocolate And Your Diet
No matter which diet you are on - low carb, low fat, or just plain healthy eating - chocolate is one of the last foods you want to give up. Here are some guidelines to help you stay on your diet, and continue to enjoy the treat you love most.
An ounce of milk chocolate contains 16 grams of carbohydrates. Adding almonds in a 50/50 proportion reduces your carbs by 30% for one ounce. Substitute peanuts for almonds and reduce your carbs by 40%. Combine dark chocolate (lower in sugar) with nuts and create an even lower carb treat.
An ounce of plain milk chocolate contains nine grams of fat. Instead of pure chocolate, eat a cream filled chocolate (no fat in the center). This would reduce the fat grams by half.
A little trick we use at Wilmar: Eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. People tend to overeat sweets when they skip regular meals. Our "on the job" research has found that people are better able to savor each piece of chocolate if they have consumed regular meals, using chocolate as a dessert or a snack - not the whole meal!
Satisfy with Quality
Chocolate with a higher percentage of cocoa solids tends to confer more favorable health benefits and taste more chocolatey. Chocolate can vary widely in cocoa solids, anywhere from 10-70%. The rule of thumb is to buy the best chocolate that your pocketbook will allow. More expensive chocolates generally contains more cocoa mass; and the denser chocolate flavor will satisfy your chocolate craving with less calories.
The Deep Dark Truth
Dark chocolate is a luxurious, complex, and mysterious food. It is the most dense source of chocolate flavor. Dark chocolate contains at least 15% cocoa mass, and sometimes as high as 80%. It comes in four basic varieties: dark sweet, semi-sweet, bittersweet, or bitter.
The varieties of dark chocolate denote sugar and cocoa mass content. Bitter chocolate has no sugar at all. It is often called baking chocolate, bitter chocolate, or chocolate liquor. Semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolates have medium amounts of sugar, and at least 35% cocoa mass. Sweet dark chocolate has the highest sugar content, and the lowest cocoa mass content (15-35%).
A popular trend in the dark chocolate market is to produce a semi-sweet chocolate with a hight cocoa mass content. Many of the artisan bars that we sell in our store have 70% cocoa mass. The semi-sweet Callebaut that we use for our dark truffles contains approximately 55% minimum cocoa solids. Most semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolates contain somewhere between 32-50% of the cocoa solids.