Kirsti: Did you know you can make your own chocolate? Fresh memories of Easter indulgence have got me wanting to try it.
How did you fare on the chocolate front this year? Did you choose your chocolate? Or were you given some and ate indiscriminately? Before you unwrapped an Easter Bilby did you pause, think about the sugar content and plough in anyway? Which chocolate do you like best?
I would seriously like to hear the answers to these questions!
Me? I did not choose any chocolate for myself. I WAS given some, and I ate as much of it as was humanly possible while altruistically sharing with families and friends (read: I gave most of it to the kids). I didn’t pause, I just felt sick after too much.
My favourite chocolate is Haigh’s peppermint dark chocolate frogs. Only slightly ahead of Whittakers milk chocolate with hazelnut….
But now I want to make my own. I want to prove to myself that with some science I can make Lindt-quality deliciousness. I also really want to use paint scrapers to mix something in my kitchen, preferably something from a cacao plant.
Theobroma cacao, the plant from whence chocolate comes, is native to Central and South America. I – for one – am really glad that someone discovered how to mix it with sugar and reduce the bitter flavonoids to make chocolate. First savoured as a drink by the Mayans and Aztecs in the 1500’s, cacao was deemed highly desirable across the globe within a century, and the French and Spanish set up plantations in the colonies wherever they could.
Now that it’s everywhere, making your own chocolate is the ultimate challenge, but apparently you can do it from scratch in your own kitchen. Although making chocolate is often described as an art, I say ‘bah!’ Given the requirements for very specific temperatures during the roasting process (at which the polymorphs of chocolate melt), the need for safety goggles and specific tools, it’s all pointing to science.
And it’s true – dark chocolate is probably better for you simply because it contains less sugar and milk solids, and has an ever so slightly higher concentration of theobromine (a vasodilator, diuretic and heart stimulator also found in black tea and the kola nut) and flavonoids (that have various health benefits including anti-inflammatory and anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties).
Happy chocolate making! I’ll post the results here when I try it!