cocoa

(Dark) Chocolate Lovers? This Post is For You!

How dark do you like your chocolate? 70% cacao? 80% cacao? Even darker? I personnaly alway go for dark chocolate. Why? Stronger taste, the bitterness in my head, I think: 85% Chocolate means only 15% sugar, right? Is that true or just the pure guilt-free self-proclamed theory of mine? Lets find out together in OiB today.

Cacao beans | OrganicIsBeautiful
Cacao beans | OrganicIsBeautiful

So, this post is dedicated to all the dark chocolate lovers out there and to the reasons that we should eat more of it. Can I get a whoop whoop?

Dark Chocolate, 3 components.

Emulsifiers: Emulsifiers are simply molecules that attach to both oil and water. It helps provide the right consistency. They have two ends, like a magnet.

Soy lecithin is the most widely used type in chocolate. It is derived from naturally such as soybeans but is considered article because it is usually extracted with chemicals. Other examples are the ammonium phosphatide and the very controversial, PGPR.

NOTE: The maximum dosage for emulsifier in the EU is 0.6% by weight and 2.3% in the US. ConfectioneryNews.

Sugar:

Brown Sugar | OrganicIsBeautiful
Brown Sugar | OrganicIsBeautiful

→ And of course, cacaoThere are four major types of cacao bean:

  • Criollo: Native to Mexico and Central America
  • Forastero: Mostly cultivated in Africa
  • Trinitario: Actually a crossbreed of the Criollo and Forastero. Usually found in Central and South America but in parts of Asia as well.
  • Nacional: Typically found in South America, west of the Andes. The Nacional is the most difficult to grow.

Why is Dark Chocolate Better than Milk Chocolate?

Dark chocolate is essentially chocolate without the milk solids added to it. The more milk solids in chocolate, the lower the percentage you will see on the wrapper (70%, 85%, 100%, etc.).

Chocolate | OrganicIsBeautiful
Categorie: Healthy Recipes | www.OrganicIsBeautiful.com

So when you see a package of Lindt dark chocolate and it reads 90% dark chocolate, you know that figure represents the percentage of cacao solids in the bar.

Some hidden Health Benefits.

According to Epicurious.com, the health benefits of chocolate are almost entirely due to the polyphenols found in cocoa. As a rule of thumb, whenever you read something good about chocolate, what they’re really talking about is cocoa – Not sure of the difference between cocoa and cacao, click here for my plain English explanation.

Therefore, as the cocoa content of chocolate increases, so do its positive effects on health. A standard milk chocolate will contain about 30% cocoa, while premium dark chocolates usually have more than 70%.

Dark chocolate contains less sugar, more cholesterol-neutral fat, and more cocoa polyphenols in a more bioavailable form than milk chocolate. Dark chocolate is also said to be more filling, which means it takes less calories to satisfy your chocolate cravings.

What To Look for When Shopping for Dark Chocolate

According to the Paleo Guide, you should always choose dark chocolate over milk chocolate despite what talking M&M’s say.

  • Antioxidants are higher in dark chocolate.
  • Milk chocolate and the ingredients in it (sugar, trans fats, milk solids, artificial sweeteners to name a few) can lead to hardening of arteries, cancer, arthritis, diabetes, and weakening of the immune system.
  • Milk can interfere with the absorption of vital nutrients, especially those flavonoids.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, always opt for 70% or darker and, in this guy’s humble opinion, for 85% and higher. The more naturally occurring cacao that is available, the greater the benefit.

NOTE: I have said before and will keep reminding you: Read labels. Look for dark chocolate that has as little sugar as possible (under ten grams). Keep skimming and look for vegetable fat as an ingredient. If it is on there, keep shopping around.

I hope you enjoy this article as much as I did researching and compelling those information. We learn something new everyday and the purpose of OiB is to list different way of consumption that are healthier and organic.

Feel free to share your feedbacks in the comments box.

Amanda

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Lovers

How to Select The Chocolate that Makes You Happy!

Happy, Happy, Happy + Energy = Chocolate. A dessert. An antidepressant. A favorite indulgence. Eating cacao makes you happy! It contains phenylethylamine which is responsible for our state of mood and pleasure and the same feelings you get when you are in love. It also acts as a stimulant and can improve mental alertness.

A bit of History

Our word chocolate comes from the Spanish version of the Aztec Nahuatl word chocolatl, which in turn derives from a word xococ, meaning bitter. Literally chocolate means bitter water.

It all started in 1500 BC-500 BC in the ancient Olmec civilisation in Mesoamerican and continued on through the time of the Maya and Aztecs before making its trek across to the Old World in the 16th century.

Raw Chocoloate | OrganicIsBeautiful
Raw Chocoloate | OrganicIsBeautiful

Did you know? Chocolate was much more than just a piece of indulgence. Below are some of the traditional  usages of Chocolate in the Aztecs culture:

  1. The Aztecs associated the cacao bean with the goddess Xochiquetzal, the goddess of fertility.
  2. Aztecs also used them as a kind of sacred currency with which the captive peoples of their empire could pay tribute.
  3. The Aztecs believed that chocolate was a powerful aphrodisiac, able to arouse the sexual passions.

The Cacao Tree

According to HeritageDaily, the tree produces fruits approximately the size and shape of an American football! Actual cacao beans are found inside the fruit of the tree in fleshy, oval-shaped pods. The beans are harvested, fermented, and dried.

Each pod contains an average of 40 seeds (or beans), which are what is used to make cocoa powder, cocoa butter and chocolate.

Raw Chocoloate | OrganicIsBeautiful
Raw Chocoloate | OrganicIsBeautiful

Difference Between Cacao and Coca

  • CACAO

According to Obsev, the cacao bean is the source of both cacao and cocoa powders.
It is to the raw form of chocolate. The cacao bean is what any type of chocolate (cocoa powder) is initially made of.

Cacao contains an abundance of antioxidants, because it’s raw and pure.

It’s also a fantastic source of fiber, magnesium, essential fatty acids, iron, copper, zinc, sulfur, and calcium.

NOTE: Raw cacao is a stimulant so it is advised not to consume it after about 2-3pm as to not interfere with a good night’s sleep!

  • COCOA

In short, cocoa is what you and I eat. What comes out of the processed and roasted steps of cacao! Cocoa exists because 100% cacao has a rich, chocolate flavour but is also very bitter (The taste of cacao can actually vary depending on the variety of plant, soil, temperate, sunlight and rain that is received during the growing process).
You have to know that once roasted and processed (turning cacao to cocoa), the beans lose much of their nutritional benefits. In your grocery shop, you can find chocolate in different formats. I share som

How to use it

Cacao powder can be added to smoothies, to make chocolate desserts or to make a yummy hot chocolate.

Cacao butter can be used in conjunction with cacao powder and natural sweetener to make your own chocolate (see some recipes below). It is also great to add to bliss balls or nut bases to hold them together and can be used in the place of coconut oil. It will add a lovely velvety, chocolate flavour. Cacao butter is edible but it is also used in skin care products.

Cocoa Butter | OrganicIsBeautiful
Cocoa Butter | OrganicIsBeautiful

Cacao nibs add a lovely crunch to muffins, ice-cream or as a topping on your favourite dessert. They are also great to add to your favourite granola mix for breakfast or on top of a smoothie.
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