Too much information about my obsession with chocolate
I love chocolate.
I think chocolate, is one of the best things that has ever happened to humanity...or, very close...although i (really) try to be the, `only one bite` type, its clearly not my style. I love the taste, texture and smell of chocolate. And most of all, the pure moment of joy - that lasts only for a few moments... but that moment is so very very close to perfection.
It´s also funny how the `chocolaty` moments from my travels around the world stand out. I mean, I do off course remember the eiffel tower and things like that. But, what i really remember is the wanderings in the streets of paris small hidden streets. Spotting a small chocolate store. Suddenly my people is gone, cause i have one goal in mind. Walking in. Absorbing the decadent chocolate aromas. Carefully selecting three (maybe ten..) chocolates. Getting spotted by my friends, which off course knew where i was headed. Big smiles. And slowly enjoying the chocolate pieces one by one! Those moments stands out even more
// The story
Are you ready for chocolatication? (It’s chocolate education) here it goes:
Many believe the story started in mesoamerica over three thousands years ago, with the maya people (today mesoamerica is mexico and central america).
But there is some speculation that chocolate has been around even longer than that! So let’s go all the way back to…
The olmec, which means ”the rubber people” lived in the southern west portion of the gulf, which is today known as veracruz and tabasco, from around one thousand two hundred bc to four hundred bc.
There is a really strong possibility they were the first users of cacao, as a drink, because of their other great discoveries that were later taken on by the mayans, and then the aztecs//maya but, with that said, the strongest evidence of chocolate is with the maya people, they lived in north eastern guatemala four hundred and fifty ad. a mayan kings pottery was found with hieroglyphs that read `ka ka wa, cacao.
Labs confirmed findings of two alkaloids- caffeine and theobromine. Which are found together in chocolate so, the mayans drank a lot of chocolate, and they seasoned it with vanilla and chili among other seasonings.
But it was only the elite that drank it. K ings, politics and in some marriage ceremonies. They also used the cacao bean as currency.
When the aztec came to central mexico, they had never heard about chocolate before. But they saw people drinking it for themselves. they began importing cacao from the tropic area the mayans called home. Among the aztec this also was a completely elite drink. Kings, members of the court and nobles could drink it. Aztec knew that the best quality chocolate came from the province of shoconocho, and today that chocolate is called criollo. And it is still regarded as some of the world’s finest chocolate.
// How did chocolate come to europe?
That very same criollo chocolate, was the first to find its way to europe, its been said. And the first country being Spain, in philip 2 court. They loved it, especially the women. They had to add sugar to the drink though, because of its bitterness.
For many year spain had this chocolate drink, to the elite to use, and had it as a secret - slowly the secret got revealed and the chocolate drink spread to italy, france, germany, england and russia.
// Chocolate bars
Eventually, in the nineteenth century, chocolate evolved from the chocolate drink into chocolate bars, that we can today hold in our hands, break up and eat.
Coenraad johannes invented a way to press out the coco butter from the cacao beans. Which was genuis. And do i hear; Halleluja, to that!
// The journey of the cacao bean
So, all starts with the cacao tree—theobroma cacao—which means `food of god`.
Found in tropical countries, this tree bears a pod-like fruit the size and shape of a small football. inside the pods there are 30-50 fruits seeds encased in white pulp.
These seeds are what we call cacao beans. When the pod gets ripe after 5-6 mounts, they got cut open using mancetesthe beans are then placed on banana leaves for fermentation, for uptill one week.
The flavor development begins. When the fermentation is over, the beans need to dry. If its wet, mold can occur, and if its to dry they will become brittle. The bean is winnowed to get the outer shell of, so the nib can shine; which is the key to making chocolate.
The nibs are ground into a chocolate liquor, which is a mix of the cacao bean and cocoa butter. You can press it further down, leaving you with a cacao presscake. This presscake is then milled into cacao powder.
//Cocoa vs cacao?
The word, smell, texture, taste and look are almost the same. But they aren’t the same, and hopefully you will look for the `right` one after this ;) The big difference is in how the bean is processed.
One is cold- pressed, and the other one is heated. Raw means that it’s made by cold-pressing un-roasted cacao beans to remove the fat without killing the living enzymes.
Cocoa is the one you probably grew up with when you were making brownies with your mother after school. By heating the cacao bean, you destroy the fragile enzymes and vitamins, and you get cocoa so next time you get a chocolate craving, choose the certified organic raw cacao.
And make sure you are not missing out on all the health benefits that come with the delicious taste
// Chocolate benefits
Raw cacao is one of our greatest super foods! it is so high in antioxidants. Especially high in the mineral magnesium. A teaspoon of cacao nibs will serve you with nine grams of magnesium. If you suffer from cramps when you are working out, or have problem with insomnia, you probably need some more magnesium.
But that isn't all. Raw cacao also contains zinc, iron, phosphorus, copper, manganese. The wonderfulness (maybe i made up my one word there) is that it also has to mood boosting ingredients, such as serotonin and phenylethylamine that gives you the same feeling you get when you are in love, or after a workout. and, yes we love that feeling!
Chocolate also promotes heart and cardiovascular health. The polyphenols in cacao can prevent `LDL` cholesterol from clogging up the arteries. It also reduces blood pressure. In the darkest chocolate there is also more theobromine, that has a similar effects to caffeine. (so, that’s why im afraid of the sheets, when I consume a lot of chocolate at night..)
// The beauty part
The phytochemicals in cacao can help you with aging, as it blocks formation of wrinkles. It also protects the cell mechanism. There is ingredients that protects from UV light. And we know that UVA light is the bad one, that makes us get wrinkles.
And with the magnesium that calms the nervous system, leaving stress out, that is very beautiful.
It is also high in sulfur, a beauty mineral, that helps with stronger nails, better skin and shinier hair
//white-, milk-, dark chocolate
White chocolateis actually not chocolate, it’s just the cocoa butter that comes out of the fat in the chocolate. And then is mixed with sugars and flavors. You get the amazing taste of white chocolate. Milk chocolate is the chocolate liquor I mentioned above, mixed with milk product, such as condensed milk or milk powder. The percentage of how much chocolate liquor you have in it varies, but it can go all the way down to ten percent. Dark chocolate - always buy the raw vegan chocolate that has seventy percent cacao or higher.
I'm always thinking the more bitter, the better. These you will in most case find in the health store. And again, you want the certified raw vegan chocolate, to get all benefits mentioned above :)
// The limitless chocolate
With a creative mind, chocolate an be used in so many ways - cacao powder | great for making deserts, baking, smoothies and even cooking. - Cacao nibs | I mix the cacao nibs with goji and hemp and has it as a survival kit. You can also use it over your cereal, in smoothie and smoothie bowls. you can also mix it with dates, nuts and hemp for a energy/ protein-bar.