The talented people who attend our chocolate making courses are an inquisitive lot and rightly so. As well as being interested in making beautiful chocolate truffles, naturally they like to know more about cocoa beans and the unique properties that go to make up chocolate.
My favourite chocolate concrete recipe and the best one I've tried so far! Brings back memories for school dinners and so simple to make. Crunchy on the top and served with custard, cream or just on it's own!
Here is what you need for chocolate concrete cake:
If you are trying to lose a few pounds or just try to be sensible by eating healthy food, you might be wondering whether it’s a good idea to eat chocolate. The good news is that there is a good chocolate that can be found amongst the myriad of chocolate flavoured snacks and sugary fuelled chocolate bars.
Is it the latest ‘superfood’, what does it really contain and why are its supporters ‘roaring’ about it?
As we’ve already seen from previous blogs, making chocolate is complicated enough process as it is. The cacao beans have to picked usually by hand before they are fermented and then roasted, ground down, pressed. After that they’re mixed with sugar and fats and eventually turned into the bars and sweets that we know and love.
Chocolate – the nectar of the gods in Latin – is a scare resource. Prices are increasing and the size of the bar itself is getting smaller. Last Christmas, Mondelez, the makers of Toblerone reduced the number of distinctive triangles in its chocolate bars in order to keep the price the same. For many consumers, it simply wasn’t the same.
I always knew that one need quite a lot of cocoa pods to end up with one chocolate bar, but I never actually look into this properly. Until last week, when one of our chocolate courses students ask a relatively innocent question: 'How many seeds are there in a cocoa pod?'
This is quite an interesting question - one that I've been recently asked at our chocolate workshops. I innitially dismissed the idea completely, I mean how could chocolate be possibly a probiotic! But then I thought, let's do a bit of a research and see what happends.
Overall health benefits of dark chocolate
The processes that go into making your average chocolate bar, means that the cacao loses a lot of its natural health benefits. This is on account of the chemicals added during processing, the extreme heat in roasting the cacao, not to mention the introduction of vast quantities of sugar.
Can dark chocolate benefits weight loss? It’s a comment that’s often made and repeated with a question mark at the end of the sentence – either as a definitive statement in itself, or as a hope or wish. After all, wouldn’t it be great if some form of chocolate was good for us. A bit like all those studies that say a glass of red wine a day will help us live longer.
In its raw form, cocoa is very high in a raw plant nutrient called flavonols. Now, research tests seem to point to the flavonol content found in dark chocolate can improve insulin sensitivity in healthy people. What’s insulin? Well, it’s a complex hormone found in numerous biochemical reactions in the body. One of its role is in helping to process whether food is either absorbed into the body or stored as fat.
In our last blog we wrote about the three main types of cocoa beans – criollo, fosteraoro and trinitario. That may be a little bit specialised to all but the most ardent chocolate enthusiast. So this time we’d like to move the conversation on to the finished product.