5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.
White, dark, milk, bittersweet, semisweet - whatever your chocolate persuasion, it's easy, delicious and even healthy(!) to be livin' la vida cocoa.
But how does that perfectly unassuming cacao bean make its merry way into shiny foil wrappers around the globe? We'll let you in on a little secret: It doesn't involve tiny orange-faced, green-haired men.
Here to raise the bar on your level of chocolatey understanding is Ray Major, the head of the development team at Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker.
Five Facts About the Origin of Chocolate: Ray Major
Nearly 95 percent of the world’s cacao can be found +/- fifteen degrees from the Equator. Anywhere there is a tropical rainforest cocoa can grow. And, every growing region in the world produces its own unique flavor.”
2. Chocolate is like wine - it has terroir
Cacao from Pará State, Brazil - for example - has notes of pear, green apple and white wine. Beans from Indonesia have bright acidity and citrus notes. Panama is characteristically earthy and spicy with a strong chocolate flavor. What you like really depends on what you are looking for in your chocolate and how adventurous you are.”
3. Blending beans gives the best flavor
If you combine these three, the flavor profile stretches much longer in your mouth than it otherwise would by itself. The blend will make a more complex and interesting chocolate bar.”
4. The meaning of percentages
If an extra dark chocolate bar label reads “82% Cacao," that means that 82 percent of the formula is derived from the cacao bean. You can normally assume the remainder of the percentage to be sugar.”
5. Cacao vs. cocoa...there’s no real difference!
In the artisan chocolate industry, cacao is generally used in reference to anything mentioning cacao in its raw form - the tree, bean or seeds, nibs, percentage.”
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