April 7, 2013

Chok’lit all the way

The  following  is  a  rather  thorough  explanation  and  the  first-hand  experience  in  involving  those. The subject in question is chocolate. Chocolate, is  we  all  know  is  a  food; to  teens, a  needed  ingredient  if  engaged  in  a  relationship. It  is  at  times  a  mode  to  express  affection, comfort  and  joy.

"The  people  who  make  constant  use  of  chocolate  are  the  ones  who  enjoy  the  most  steady  health, and  are  the  least  subject  to  a  multitude  of  little  ailments  which  destroy  the  comfort  of  life; their  plumpness  is  also  more  equal.” - Brillat−Savarin

And  just  like  in  Economics’ “law  of  diminishing  returns”, having  chocolate  more  than  what  is  needed  becomes  hazardous  to  one’s  health. A  person  who  eats  so  much  chocolate  can  get  the  dreaded  disease  called  Diabetes (shall be thoroughly discussed later). Too  much  sugar  in  chocolate  could  even  cause  obesity, which  inevitably  leads  to  serious  problems  such  as  low  self-esteem  and  other  social  hurdles. But  what  really  is  chocolate, its  components, impact  and  relevance  in  one’s  life?


To  study  the  history  of  chocolate  is  to  embark  upon  an  extraordinary  journey  through  time  and  geographical  space. The  chocolate  story  spans  a  vast  period  from  remote  antiquity  through  the  21st  century. Historical  evidence  for  chocolate  use  appears  on  all  continents  and  in  all  climes, from  tropical  rain  forests  to  the  icy  reaches  of  the  Arctic  and  Antarctic. The  story  of  chocolate  is  associated  with  millions  of  persons, most  unknown, but  some  notables including  economists, explorers, kings, politicians, and scientists. Perhaps  no  other  food, with the  exception  of wine, has  evoked  such  curiosity regarding its beginnings,  development, and  global  distribution. But there is a  striking difference: wine is forbidden  food to millions  globally  because of  its  alcohol  content  but chocolate can be enjoyed and  savored  by  all.

Historically, the  Mayans  used  the  fruit  and  seedpods  from  the  cacao  tree  as  a  food. This  food  was  one  of  many  brought  from  the  New  World  by  the  Spanish. The  Aztecs  made  a  drink  that  was  thick, unsweetened, and  eaten  with  a  spoon, although  now  chocolate  products  are  widely  used  around  the  world, with  many  modifications.

The  term  "Cocoa," a  corruption  of  "Cacao," is  almost  universally  used  in  English−speaking  countries  to  designate  the  seeds  of  the  small  tropical  tree  known  to  botanists  as  THEOBROMA  CACAO, from  which  a  great  variety   of  preparations  under  the  name  of  cocoa  and  chocolate  for  eating  and  drinking  are  made. The  name  "Chocolatl"  is  nearly  the  same  in  most  European  languages, and  is  taken  from  the  Mexican  name  of  the  drink, "Chocolate"  or "Cacahuatl." The  Spaniards  found  chocolate  in  common  use  among  the  Mexicans  at  the  time  of  the  invasion  under  Cortez  in  1519, and  it  was  introduced  into  Spain  immediately  after. The  Mexicans  not  only  used  chocolate  as  a  staple  article  of  food, but  they  used  the  seeds  of  the  cacao  tree  as  a  medium  of  exchange.

Before chocolate was known in Europe, good old wine was called the milk of old men; but this title is now applied with greater reason to chocolate, since its use has become so common that it has been perceived that chocolate is, with respect to them, what milk is to infants. In reality, if one examines the nature of chocolate a little, with respect to the constitution of aged persons, it seems as though the one was made on purpose to remedy the defects of the other, and that it is truly the panacea of old age.

The three associated beverages, cocoa, tea, and coffee are known to the French as aromatic drinks. Each of these has its characteristic aroma. The fragrance and flavor are so marked that they cannot be imitated by any artificial products, although numerous attempts have been made in regard to all three. Hence the detection of adulteration is not a difficult matter.

Designing persons, aware of the extreme difficulty of imitating these substances, have undertaken to employ lower grades, and, by manipulation, copy, as far as may be, the higher sorts. Every one knows how readily tea, and coffee, for that matter, will take up odors and flavors from substances placed near them. This is abundantly exemplified in the country grocery orgeneral store, where the teas and coffees share in the pervasive fragrance of the cheese and kerosene. But perhaps it is not so widely understood that some of these very teas and coffees had been artificially flavored or corrected before they reached their destination in this country.

Cacao lends itself very readily to such preliminary treatment. In a first−class article, the beans should be of the highest excellence; they should be carefully grown on the plantation and there prepared with great skill, arriving in the factory in good condition. In the factory they should simply receive the mechanical treatment requisite to develop their high and attractive natural flavor and fragrance. They should be most carefully shelled after roasting and finely ground without concealed additions. This is the process in all honest manufacturing of the cacao products. Now, as a matter of fact, in the preparation of many of the cacao products on the market, a wholly different course has been pursued. Beans of poor quality are used, because of their cheapness, and in some instances they are only imperfectly, if at all, shelled before grinding. Chemical treatment is relied on to correct in part the odor and taste of such inferior goods, and artificial flavors, other than the time−honored natural vanilla and the like, are added freely. The detection of such imposition is easy enough to the expert, but is difficult to the novice; therefore the public is largely unable to discriminate between the good and the inferior, and it is perforce compelled to depend almost entirely on the character and reputation of the manufacturer.

On Nutrition

The nutritional value of chocolate bars should be based on human nutritional requirements to help reduce mental ill health, obesity, and other postprandial insults. In the near future, food technology could allow people to get their chocolate fix, while simultaneously and significantly increasing nutrient intake and reducing energy intake per day. Nanocellulose and calorie-free monk fruit extract could be used to lower the energy density of chocolate, and aquatic biotechnology can provide the nutrients needed to make it really nutritious.

On  how  Chocolate  affects  our  body  as  a  whole, Chocolate  has  been  said  to  cause  acne  and  tooth  decay; and  has  a  reputation  for  being  a  fattening  and  likewise  a  nutritionless  food  amidst  those  that  we  heartily  consume  in  fast  food  chains. On  the  other  hand, chocolate  is  also  known  for  being  a  comfort  food  and  everything  from  an  anti-depressant  to  an  aphrodisiac. While  there's  still  much  we  don't  know  about  chocolate, recent  research  is  helping  us  better  understand  how  chocolate  consumption  affects  our  health.

The  good  news  is  that  most  of  the  bad  effects  of  eating  chocolate  are  either  overstated  or  entirely  false. Eating chocolate neither causes nor aggravates  acne. Two  studies – one  by  the  Pennsylvania  School  of  Medicine  and  another  by  the  U.S.  Naval  Academy – showed  that  eating  chocolate (or  not  eating  it) did  not  produce  any  significant  changes  in  the  acne  conditions  of  the  study's  participants. These  results  are  further  backed  by  research  which  shows  that  acne  is  not  primarily  linked  to  diet.

Chocolate  also  has  not  been  proven  to  cause  cavities  or  tooth  decay. In  fact, there  are  indications  that  the  cocoa  butter  in  the  chocolate  coats  the  teeth  and  may  help  protect  them  by  preventing  plaque  from  forming. The  sugar  in  chocolate  does  contribute  to  cavities, but  no  more  than  the  sugar  in  any  other  food.

Obviously, eating too  much  of  any  food  may  cause  health  problems. The  cocoa  butter  in  chocolate  does  contain  saturated  fat, which  can  increase  blood  cholesterol  levels, and  high  cholesterol  can  contribute  to  heart  disease. However, recent  research  has  found  that  chocolate  carries  high  levels  of  chemicals  known as  phenolics, some  of  which  may  help  lower  the  risk  of  heart  disease. Plants  such  as  chocolate,  coffee,  tea, and  others  contain  high  levels  of  phenolics.

The  possible  health  benefits  of  antioxidant  phenolics  found  in  red  wine. Studies  have  told  us  that  phenolic  compounds  are  found  in  all  plant  products, and  that  the  plants  "probably  make  them  as  protective  agents  and  for  improving  their  success  at  reproduction." The  bitter, astringent  taste  that  these  plants  have  is  an  indication  of  the  phenolics  found  within.

But there are quite a few positive nutritional values in accordance in eating and consuming plenty of these chocolates. Studies today says that chocolate contain a large amount of antioxidants (flavinoids). Cocoa and dark chocolate may keep high blood pressure down and reduce the blood's ability to clot, thus the risk of stroke and heart attacks may be reduced. The darker chocolate with the most concentrated cocoa will be the most beneficial. According to an Italian study, a small square (20 g) of dark (bittersweet) chocolate every three days is the ideal dose for cardiovascular benefits. Eating more does not provide additional benefits.

What’s in it?

Naming a few of chocolate’s seemingly hideous contents are:
         Phenylethylamine. It’s related to amphetamines, which are strong stimulants. All  of  these  stimulants  increase  the  activity  of  neurotransmitters  (brain chemicals) in  parts  of  the  brain  that  control  our  ability  to  pay  attention  and  stay  alert;

·     Caffeine  is  the  most  well  known  of  these  chemical  ingredients, and  while  it's  present  in  chocolate, it  can  only  be  found  in  small  quantities. This quite alarming given the fact those kids and kids alike are fond of consuming the same. This could very well lead to various medical and health complications. Just like any other thing, if taken in large amounts, will turn up eventually bad. This content can cost you more than you can ever imagine;

·      Theobromine, a weak stimulant, is also present, in slightly higher amounts. The  combination  of  these  two  chemicals (and possibly others) may  provide  the  "lift"  that  chocolate  eater’s  experience.

·         Serotonine, Cocoa and chocolate can increase the level of serotonine in the brain. Serotonine levels are often decreased in people with depression and in those experiencing PMS symptoms.

·         Essential minerals, Cocoa beans are rich in a number of essential minerals, including magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium and manganese.

·         Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, E and pantothenic acid.

This  short  study, however, takes  great  risk  in  finding  and  putting  the  chocolate  under  the  microscope. It  is  within  the  said  health  potentials  and  risks  that  this  minute  work  is  carried  upon. Trying  various  chocolate  products, identifying  and scrutinizing  the  same  under  a  single  taste  gland  or  organ  is  quite  hard  in  pursuit  of  results  that  is  objectified  and  for  academic  purposes, so  to  speak.

From the bean to the fun and lovely bar (the process)

At the factory, the cacao beans are first sifted for foreign objects- you know, rocks, machetes, whatever got left in the bag. The cacao is weighed and sorted by type so that the manufacturer knows exactly what type of cacao is going into the chocolate. Some manufacturers use up to twelve types of cacao in their recipes, and they must carefully measure so that the flavor is consistent time after time. Next, the cacao beans are roasted in large, rotating ovens, at temperatures of about 210-290F. Roasting lasts from an enduring, yet rewarding, half an hour up to two hours. The heat brings out more flavor and aroma, and it dries and darkens the beans.

Then the cacao beans are cracked and winnowed, that is, their outer shells are cracked and blown away, leaving the crushed and broken pieces of cacao beans, called “nibs.” At this point, we have something edible and really chocolatey, but they’re also really bitter. You might try some cacao nibs on a salad. I can hardly look my way out in imagining the sumptuous meal in front of me. Nibs can certainly bring some delight in a chocolate lover.

But how is chocolate made? We’ve gone through all these steps and we still don’t have a chocolate bar! Be patient, it can take up to a week!

The cacao nibs must now be crushed and ground into a thick paste called chocolate liquor (there is no alcohol in it). What happens next, though, depends on what type of chocolate we’re making.

Let’s pretend that in addition to knowing, “how is chocolate made?” you also want to know how cocoa is made. Say the manufacturer divides our chocolate liquor in two. We’ll make cocoa with half, and use the other half to make some chocolate bars.

To make cocoa, the powdery stuff you mix up into hot chocolate, the cocoa liquor is slammed by a giant hydraulic press. This removes much of the fat, or cocoa butter. The cocoa butter will be used in making chocolate, but it is also used in cosmetics and medicines. What’s left of the slammed chocolate liquor is very dry and can be ground into cocoa.

Now, on to the chocolate, which we’ll make with the other half of our chocolate liquor. Chocolate liquor by itself is bitter and not very smooth and creamy. To sweeten it up and improve the texture, the manufacturer will add things like sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla, and milk.

You could eat this now, and it would taste pretty good, but it wouldn't have the texture you associate with a chocolate bar, and you still wouldn't be able to answer the question, “how is chocolate made?” The cacao and the sugar are still pretty grainy at this point, so the manufacturer runs the mixture through a series of steel rollers to refine the texture.

To further refine the texture, and to really bring out the flavor, the mixture is then “conched.” That is, it’s run through a chocolate making machine (a conch – so named because the first such machine looked kind of like a conch shell) that mixes and mashes and swirls and aerates the chocolate. At this point we will probably add some more cocoa butter and maybe some soy lecithin – these will give the chocolate its silky smooth texture. Conching can last a few hours for cheaper chocolates, and up to six days for the expensive stuff!

The chocolate is then tempered by stirring it, letting it cool, heating it back up slowly, and repeating the process several times. This will give our chocolate that nice glossy look, and it will help it melt properly.

Finally, we have chocolate! Some people might use the liquid chocolate in candies or cookies or ice cream, but let’s pour our lovely mixture into a mold (how about in the shape of a bunny rabbit?), let it harden, then chomp its ears off!


This short and challenging experience used in this mini-experiment further utilizes every available means, especially in ever having to taste and differentiate these chocolates from one another. Given the reality that chocolates are everywhere – groceries, bakeshops, markets, convenient stores, etc. And there can be in many forms – liquid, shavings, a food ingredient and many more. These would only suffice to say that there is more study concentration in tasting chocolates that are in the form of bar. To detach from the vagueness of the subject matter, it was intended that chocolate in a solid state would best picture said study. But the extent chocolate market was vast for it covered both those that are manufactured and sold locally (in Philippine setting) and those that are not. To more personalize the process, the use of the first person approach is done.


Ever since the early Mayans brought it and as  time  went  by,  different  types  of  chocolate suddenly  came  into  existence or somewhat sprouted  through  our  tables and made its way through the end of our meals.  It has been all around the market and to almost anywhere this time now. Some of the income or revenue driven chocolate   companies had widen their variety of chocolate products.  Every  year,  they  produce  various types  of chocolates  that boasts  a  special twist  to  every  consumer. Something that is surely everyone can be addicted to. These  are chocolates  with  different  flavour  and  has  a  variety  of  ingredients.

Allow me to give and explain a brief experience on some  examples  for  this. The  first  common   type  of  chocolate  is  the  milk  chocolate. This  type  of  chocolate  has  been  the  most  popular  of  them  all.  Today, some of these are encased and known to be well presented by Cadbury and Nestle chocolate products. Milk  chocolate  is  composed  of  solid  chocolate  with  milk  in  the form  of  milk powder,  or  sometimes  condensed  milk.

During  1875, Swiss  chocolatier  named  M. Danile  Peter, who  is  known  as  the  man  behind  the  perfection  of  milk chocolate struggled quite a handful of issues in developing the right formula to perfect the same. Peter's  main  obstacle  in  producing  milk  chocolate  was  the  effect  of  water. Adding  water  to  chocolate  caused  the  chocolate  shrink, separate  and  generally  fall  apart. Because  water  is  a  major  constituent  of  milk  it   was  difficult  to  add  milk  to  chocolate  without  ruining  it. However,  when  Peter  visited  Henry  Nestle, inventor  of  evaporated  milk,  he  came  up  with  the  idea  of  mixing  sweetened  condensed  milk  with  chocolate.

The second one is  the  dark  chocolate. These kinds are quite expensive for its contents, benefits and at times, rarity. I was able to have a taste of it through a Lindt and a rare Cadbury product. This  type  chocolate  is  also  known  as  black  chocolate   because  it  has  less milk  compared  to  milk  chocolate. Aside  from  being  known  as  the  black  chocolate  it  is  also  popular  as  the  healthy  chocolate.  Studies  show  that  dark  chocolate  can  lower  your  blood  pressure. Findings  indicate  that   milk  may  interfere  with  the  absorption  of  antioxidants  from  chocolate  and  may  therefore  negate  the  potential  health  benefits  that  can  be  derived  from  eating  moderate  amounts  of  dark  chocolate.

The  third  one  is  the  white  chocolate. A Nestle bar would be my guinea pig. White  chocolate  is  made  the  same  way  with  milk  and dark  chocolate but  the  difference  is  number of the ingredients. White  chocolate  consist  of cocoa  butter , sugar, milk  and salt. Aside  from  being  different  to  milk  chocolate, white  chocolate  is  a   derivative  of  chocolate  as  it  does  not  contain  cocoa  solids, the  primary  nutritional  constituent  of  chocolate  liquor. Some  addition  in  chocolate  like  mint,  vanilla,  coffee  or  strawberry  are  sometimes  add-up  in  some  new  variety  of  chocolates. A lindt mint bar was for me, quite new for it tasted differently.
Now  let’s  go  to  the part  where  everyone  is  excited  of.  Here  I have  my  top  chocolates  that  classified  into  five.  Milk  chocolate,  white  chocolate,  dark  chocolate,  chocolate with  nuts/raisins/crisps  and  lastly  mint  chocolate. Let’s  have  first  the  most  popular  of  them  all  milk  chocolate.
Here  in  the  Philippines,  the clamor for many  imported  chocolates  are  in  demand.  They  are  either  from  Japan, USA and Canada.  These  are  the  following  milk  chocolates  that  I  had  the  chance  to  take  a  bit of, savor for a meantime and proceeded to satisfy my inquisitive taste buds.

A.   3 musketeers - It  is  milk  chocolate  bar  with  different  filling:  chocolate,  vanilla  and strawberry. I  got  to taste  the  classic  one. The  bar  is  quite  small. The  scent  of  the  creamy  cocoa  on  the outside  makes  it more  inviting.  But  when it  comes  to  the real  taste,  3 musketeers  is  only  good  for  me. When  you  look  from  the outside  you  think  that  it also  creamy  on the  inside. Don’t let neither your senses or hunger fool you,  but  it is  not.  The  filling  is  quite  dry  when  it  melts   in your mouth.  But  the  milk  chocolate  saves  and reincarnates the  taste  of  the  whole  bar.  You  can  taste  that  it  is  relay  milky.

B.    Breakaway - When  I  got  to  the  chocolate  store,  I was  surprised  of  this  brand  of chocolate. It  is  new  for  me.  I  only  saw  this  when  I  was  watching  some  foreign  movie  and  thought  that  it  is or was  only  available  in  their  country, or something that is fictional.  But  nothing  beats  the duty  free shop nearby. Just  like  Kitkat  and  any other  wafer   coated  with  milk  chocolate,  Breakaway  is  one  of  them.  It  has  biscuits  on  the  inside  that  does have  oats.  And  it was  coated  of  melting  milk  chocolate. It  is  absolutely worth the buy.  Its  size  is relatively small  and  leaves  you  to want  more. Marketing and packaging strategy from manufacturers, perhaps.

C.    Dairy  milk - I  think  that  dairy  milk  is  not  new  to you. It  is  widely  known  all over  the  world  for  its creaminess  that  melts  in  your  mouth.  Well  it’s  just  true.  Cadbury  has  come  up  with  many  kinds  of  their  products  but  nothing  beats  the classic  milk  chocolate bar.  When  you  taste it  the  milky  flavor  that in turn just  simply  melts  in  your  mouth.  As  time  goes on,  Cadbury  tried  changing  that  shape  of  the bar  but  still  it  has no  impact  to their  sales.  The classic  taste, notwithstanding the shape,  will  simply  remain stuck  on  the  glands of those who love and enjoy it.

D.   Fudge - Fudge  is  a  brand  of  chocolate  bar  manufactured  by  Cadbury. It  is  a  bar  of  fudge  in  a  semi-circular  cross-section  covered  in  a  layer  of  milk  chocolate. Produced  in  small  bite  size  bars  and  in  larger  bars. Smooth  on  the  top, and  a  sort  of  rough. It is  regular in texture  on  the  bottom  which  looks  like  it  sat  on  mesh  while  the  chocolate  set. On  biting  into  the  bar, the  overwhelming  flavor  is  that  of  the  buttery  sweetness  of  the  fudge  – not  as  sophisticated or  creamy as  true fresh  fudge, of  course, but  still  has  a  satisfying  and  more  quality. The  chocolate  to  fudge  ratio  is  a  little  on  the  mean  side, but  enough  to  complement  the  fudge  nicely.

E.   Galaxy – Every  single  bite  of  Galaxy  Chocolate  needs  to  be  savored  and  lovingly  enjoyed. The  smell  is  so  wonderfully  rich  that it  will  make  you eventually mouth  water.  Galaxy  Chocolate  is  pure  creaminess  with  a  matching  texture  that  is  simply  divine.  Galaxy  Chocolate  doesn't  just  melt  in  your  mouth, the  rich  and  full  bodied  taste  spreads  all  across  your  mouth  and  lasts  a  lot  longer  than  other  chocolates, allowing  you  to  savor  this  gem  of  a  chocolate  for  a  few  precious  moments  longer.

F.    Hersey - Hershey's  milk  chocolate  bar  is  a  timeless  classic. A  thousand  years  from  today, people  will  still  be  eating  them. When  you  look  for  it  in  a  store, you  will  never go out  without  having  it  on  your  hand. Hersey  milk bars are  great  for  many  reasons  and  among the chief  the  reason  is  the  smooth, delicious  milk  chocolate  itself. Unlike  most  other  brand of chocolate  that is  usually  include  at  least  one  other  taste – sensation. Hershey  milk  chocolate  satisfies  the  consumer  with  the  taste  of  chocolate; nothing  more, nothing  less. It  proves  that  there  is  often  greatness  in  simplicity.  Nothing beats  the  classic  goodness  of  it.

G.   Meiji – it   originated  from  the land of the rising sun and sushi, Japan. It  is  not  your  usual  milk  chocolate  bar  compared  to  others.  The  flavor  is  deep  and  smoky. It’s  much  darker  than  ordinary  milk  chocolates, but  also  much  less  milky. The  toasty  caramel  and  charcoal  notes  have  a  bitter  aftertaste  that’s  quite  pronounced. It  is  not  the  ordinary  sweet  taste  that  will melt  in  your  mouth,  a  different  kick  will burst  in  your  taste  buds.

H.   Nestle  milk  chocolate – Still  it  is  one  of  the  classic.  Because  it  is from  Nestle, known to be  one  of  the  most oldest but prestigious  founders in the ranks of  company  of  chocolates. This  time,  you  will find  it a  hard  time  to  find  one. But  I’m  lucky  that  I found  one  in  a  certain  candy  shop  in  Manila. The  wrapper  looks  very  simple  but  classic.  The  taste  isn't  very  chocolatey. It’s  not  overly  sweet  and  has  a  lot  of  milk  taste  to  it, but  really  lacks  much  else. It  would  go  well  with  inclusions  like  crisped  rice  or  nuts  but  as  a  bar  where  this  is  all  I  had  to  go  on, it  really  didn't  satisfy  at  all.

I.     Goya – Let’s  go  to  our  very  own  Goya. Aside  from  being  locally  made  it  also  has  a cheap  price  that  is  affordable  to  its  buyers. It  has  many  variants  but  milk  chocolate  will  go  on  review  first.  It’s  purely  milk  chocolate  completes  the  whole  taste.  You  feel  that  you  are  biting  into  a  pure  milk  chocolate.  The  melting  on  your  mouth  will satisfy  you  when  will  try  this.

Now, unto the white chocolate stuff...

A.   Cadbury – has for me, the most exquisite form of white chocolate. Insofar as the appearance displays itself, it connotes clarity and straightforward chocolate experience, though not full of chocolate in flavor  I based solely on the looks. The lightness brings easiness and to some, a great display of guilt brought about by the craving fir more chocolate.

B.   Toblerone – a proven white chocolate winner. Its size is just right for that chocolate hunger. Just as the chefs would say: it tastes right the way it actually looks. The whole package just rightly compliments the cost.

C.   Nestle – has its own version of this type of chocolate. Some of them have crispies along with the chocolate so the pure enjoyment of eating the same tends to lay back for a while.
Just as they say, with the white, come the black. But this type connotes a healthier viewpoint of what chocolate should be not just a food for those that love it.

A.   Goya – I did not believe at first but after savouring the same though I had hesitations, the true essence of being a dark chocolate, clings in the aftertaste.

“Without pain, how could we know joy?' This is an old argument in the field of thinking about suffering and its stupidity and lack of sophistication could be plumbed for centuries but suffice it to say that the existence of broccoli does not in any way, affect the taste of chocolate.”


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