Like chocolate? I do, in fact most people I know, likes chocolate. It is one of the most loved foods in the world and is used and eaten in several ways. It can be in the form of cakes, fudge, ice ream, cookies, drinks, candies and more.
It's an all around comfort food! My love affair with chocolates started when I was young as my father grew cocoa trees in our backyard and when harvest time comes we had a lot of fun making sweet treats out of pure chocolate.
Chocolate isn't just a candy. I grew up having it around as our breakfast drink. It is also used for cooking, like in sauces. In other countries like in Mexico, chocolate is made into a sauce served with chicken! Can you imagine how that tastes?
Chocolate is made from cocoa beans harvested from the seeds of cacao or cocoa tree. These trees grow in warm tropical climates. Here's one variety my father has in our yard in the Philippines..
How then, are chocolates made? Cocoa beans are first dried and roasted on very low fire. Then the beans are ground and crushed. It releases a liquid that is really oily, sticky and bitter but the aroma is just so heavenly. This bitter liquid is a fat called cocoa butter. This cocoa butter is what makes chocolate creamy, gives it the delicious taste and the crave-worthy aroma.
Making the powdered cocoa needs the cocoa butter to be squeezed from the unsweetened chocolate liquid. The hard and dry particles left behind are ground into fine powder. This is usually mixed with sugar and makes a great flavoring or a hot cocoa drink on a cold day.
To make chocolate bars and candies, sugar, cocoa butter and the unsweetened cocoa liquor are added together. To make it more delectable and to make varied flavors, ingredients like milk or vanilla are added.
There are several types of choclates. One is the unsweetened chocolate and is used for baking. Another is the semi-sweet chocolate or what we commonly refer to as dark chocolate, also used for baking cookies, cakes and other homemade treat. Milk chocolates are sweeter and has of course, milk, is usually eaten as candy bars or as coating for candies. White chocolate is another type, and it contains cocoa butter but no other nonfat chocolate solids. Used mainly as candy coating.
I personally prefer eating dark chocolate. Compared to white chocolate it is bitter but I love it coz I get to savour more of the delicious chocolate flavor. Most people though prefer milk chocolate as it has a good balance of chocolate flavor and the bitterness is diluted by the added milk and sugar.
Are you craving for chocolates now? I am! That's why I am writing this post... I wish I could have some choco fix right now but I'm on a diet :P..