How is chocolate made? – Ask Dr. Universe, Washington State University

This article is from Ask Dr. Universe, a science-education project from Washington State University.

Here’s a question posed by Lydia, age 6 from Bedfordshire, England

“How is chocolate made?”

This is Dr. Universe’s response:

Dear Lydia,

A few thousand years ago, humans discovered that beans inside the bright green pods of cacao trees could be made into a real treat.

In South America, people harvested the beans to make a warm, chocolaty drink. Ever since, we’ve found ways to make all kinds of chocolate from cacao beans.

“Chocolate is both a science and an art,” said my friend Jessica Murray. She’s an expert on chocolate and a graduate student in food science and business at Washington State University.

She explained that cacao beans can be separated into a couple different parts. We can extract the fat, or cocoa butter, from the beans. The rest of the bean can be ground up into solids. When we mix these two parts back together, we can make dark, white, or milk chocolate.

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Source: How is chocolate made? – Ask Dr. Universe Ask Dr. Universe | Washington State University

Chocolate prices to skyrocket thanks to strong winds and poor harvest

By Saffron Alexander – 30 November 2015

EXPERTS WARN CHOCOLATE PRICES COULD RISE NEXT YEAR CREDIT: LUKE SHARRETT/BLOOMBERG

Experts have warned that chocolate prices are almost certain to rise next year, thanks to poor harvests in West Africa and strong winds caused by the El Nino weather system.

Cocoa prices have been rising steadily over the last 15 years, and have now reached a four-year high with cocoa selling for around £2322 per tonne.

It is believed fears of strong winds, driven by an El Niño event – in which waters in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean become unusually warm as trade winds die down, disrupting weather patterns around the world – will cause a poor cocoa harvest in parts of West Africa and in turn cause prices to rise.

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Source: Chocolate prices to skyrocket thanks to strong winds and poor harvest

Chocolate Pumpkin Pound Cake Recipe

By Chocolate, Chocolate and More | October 21, 2015

Chocolate lovers looking to put a Fall spin on their favorite baked goods will love this recipe from Chocolate, Chocolate, and More.

Chocolate Pumpkin Pound Cake — rich dark-chocolate, moist cake with just a subtle hint of pumpkin flavor.

It’s that time of year. Pumpkin season.

I’m not a big fan of pumpkin. It’s a fact. My family has to suffer through every year without pumpkin pie. I refuse to make one. Honestly, I don’t even know if I dislike pumpkin pie, it’s been so long since I last tried one.

There are just so many other desserts I’d rather have. Like ones that involve chocolate!

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Source: Chocolate Pumpkin Pound Cake Recipe | POPSUGAR Food

Chocolate: Top 10 facts 

By William Hartson | October 11, 2015

You can find out all about it at chocolateweek.co.uk but meanwhile, here are some chocolatey facts.

Venezuelan chocolatiers attempt to break the world record for the largest chocolate coin

1. The Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire) produces 39 per cent of the world’s cocoa. The second biggest producer is Ghana at 18 per cent.

2. Even before the Mayans and the Aztecs, the Olmec people of Central America were the first to cultivate the cacao plant and eat its beans…

3. …but it was the Mayans, around 300BC, who ground the beans to produce drinkable cocoa.

The Mayans used cocoa beans as currency

4. The Mayans also used the beans as currency.

5. The Aztecs continued using the beans as money: one bean for a tomato, three for an avocado, 10 for a rabbit, 100 for a slave.

6. What the Mayans called cacau, the Aztecs called cacahuatl, then xoxolatl, hence chocolate.

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Source: Chocolate: Top 10 facts | Life | Life & Style | Daily Express

10 best Fairtrade chocolate 

By Jochan Embley | October 9, 2015

 

What’s not to love about Fairtrade chocolate? By tucking into one of the bars listed below, you are supporting small-scale suppliers from across the globe who may otherwise be pushed out of business by their larger competitors. Oh, and it all tastes fantastic too.

We willingly accepted the task of sampling each bar below – some are own-brand offerings from well-known supermarkets, while other choclatiers you may not have heard of, but all are certified by The Fairtrade Foundation. From classic milk chocolate done superbly and others with exotic ingredients to bars fit for vegans, there’s something for every chocolate-lover here.

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Source: 10 best Fairtrade chocolate | IndyBest | Extras | The Independent