I have a few questions for you first of all. Do you like chocolate? Or does it go deeper than that? Do you love chocolate are you what is called a chocoholic? And lastly, was that attitude fashioned by store-bought chocolate such as Mars Bars, Galaxy and Snickers?
I asked all those questions because, if you love chocolate and all you have ever tasted is store-bought chocolate, you have a real surprise waiting for you one day. A really fantastic revelation. One day you will taste gourmet chocolate and it will bowl you over. It will make you regret all those days of your life that you had not known it.
Gourmet chocolate is to a Mars Bar what fillet mignon is to a beef sandwich or what champagne is to cheap wine. It sounds as if I am running Mars Bars down and I suppose I am in a way, but I do believe that they have their place in the hierarchy of the world of chocolate, it is just not near the top and when you have tried gourmet chocolate, you will agree with me.
You will see the light and realize that perhaps you used to eat store chocolate for the sugar rush and not for the chocolate, because the store type is actually a very watered down copy of the real thing. If you do not believe me, look at the contents list on the back of the wrapper.
Dark chocolate is produced by adding fat and sugar to the cacao mixture. The U.S. Government calls this “sweet chocolate”, and demands a 15% concentration of chocolate liquor. European regulations stipulate a minimum of 35% cocoa solids. It does not sound very much, does it? (By the way, chocolate liquor is like lumpy custard and if you pulverize the lumps and remove most of the fat, you get cocoa solids).
This is why European chocolate has a better name than American chocolate in general, although there are excellent gourmet chocolate manufacturers in the USA (called chocolatiers; like a chef is to haute cuisine)..
Some cheap chocolates are even blended with wax and most bakery chocolate products have very little, if any, real chocolate in them! They contain mostly sugar of one kind or another and “partially hydrogenated palm oil.” On the other hand, gourmet chocolate will echo the quality of the ingredients, which includes high quality cocoa beans, no preserving agents or vegetable fats (other than cocoa butter) and sugar, which is also a preserving agent, should only be used in moderation.
Some chocolate is made from only one variety of bean, just like some wine is made from one kind of gape and some whisky is single malt, but most is made from a blend of several kinds of beans again lust like the cheaper wines and whiskeys. Gourmet chocolate has a far greater percentage of cocoa butter, and will be more extensively refined.
Aficionados of gourmet chocolate are like connoisseurs of fine wines and single malt whiskies, they appreciate the object of their affection. In time, they can discuss the advantages of one bean or process over another. If you want to go down this route, you could join one of the many good gourmet chocolate clubs on the Internet
Owen Jones, the writer of this piece, writes on many topics, but is currently involved with Romantic Gifts: Ideas. If you have an interest in romantic gifts, please go over to our website now at Romantic Gifts: Ideas
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