Wednesday August 8, 2012
Getting to know your chocolates better
THERE is a saying by artist and cartoonist John Tullius that nine out of 10 people like chocolate. The tenth person always lies.
Everyone knows chocolate and just about everyone loves it. But, did you know that both woman and man savour chocolates differently?
CACAO BEAN: The flavour of cocoa is determined by its origin, bean variety and processing.
A man would chew and swallow a piece of chocolate down his throat within minutes! But, for a woman, it’s a personal if not an emotional experience. She would savour and enjoy each moment eating chocolates in private or sitting comfortably on the sofa.
But, what is the best way to savour and appreciate chocolate?
According to Chef Anil Rohira, biting into chocolate tells us about its consistency, whether it has a hard or a soft structure. Even the sound it makes as one bites into chocolate as well as the feel of it on the tongue is also crucial.
“The best method to taste and appreciate chocolate is by melting it on the tongue. This is because you will get the cocoa taste lingering in your mouth even after the chocolate is gone,” explained Anil, who has been working with world-renowned chocolate producer Max Felchlin of Switzerland.
As the chocolate melts on the tongue, the taste papillae picks up all of the many flavours and trigger a signal to the brain, where the taste memory is challenged.
The tongue first detects the basic tastes such as sweet, sour, bitter and salty.
By holding our breath for a moment, and then breathing out gradually through the nose, one can detect the aromas and basic flavours of a chocolate such as spicy, strong, fruity, nutty, etc.
Rohira, who was at the chocolate appreciation and tasting session in Kuala Lumpur recently, gave an insight on how to savour and enjoy chocolates.
Rohira: 'Go for chocolates that have the least amount of ingredients in them.'
At the event, he also gave tips on what to look-out for when tasting dark, milk and white chocolates.
A good quality dark chocolate should be bitter-sweet with natural fruity notes and acidic flavours. On the other hand, a good quality milk chocolate should be milky, creamy, smooth i.e. melts on the tongue with a balance of sweetness.
“White chocolate should not be excessively sweet. The chocolate should have flavours of cocoa butter, dairy and vanilla,” he said.
“All three types of chocolates should be smooth with strong aroma,” he added.
Rohira explained that chocolate is made from the cacao bean. Cocoa cultivation requires a tropical kind of climate like that of Malaysia. The flavour of cocoa is determined by its origin, bean variety and processing.
Chocolate is made from either single-variety beans or blends of different beans. Sugar is also added. Mixing in milk powder produces milk chocolate while white chocolate does not contain any cocoa solids, only cocoa butter.
The basic chocolate recipe of a dark chocolate contains 70% cacao and 30% sugar while milk chocolate contains 35% cacao, 40% sugar and 25% milk powder. White chocolate contains 35% cacao butter, 40% sugar and 25% milk powder.
Just about everyone loves chocolates.
Rohira advises chocolate lovers to avoid chocolates that contain hydrogenated fats. Go for chocolates that have the least amount of ingredients in them.
To enjoy chocolates better, you need to store them properly. If stored in the fridge, chocolates should be kept in a sealed, airtight plastic container.
This is to protect the chocolate from moisture and unwanted odours - such as chicken curry, cooked cabbage, etc - which it would otherwise absorb.
Before the chocolate is eaten, it should be brought to room temperature, as low temperatures prevent the aroma from unfolding fully.
If stored properly, the shelflife of dark chocolate is up to 18 months while milk and white chocolates are up to one year.