It is a romantic notion that chocolate is an aphrodisiac. Certainly just consuming chocolate can be a sensual pleasure. It’s melting point is just slightly below that of the human body and it melts delightfully in the mouth. Eating chocolate has been linked with release of serotonin in the brain, which is thought to produce feelings of happiness. So even if it is not a proven aphrodisiac its many other virtues make chocolate a most appropriate gift for your sweetheart on Valentine’s day.
What is the best chocolate to buy?! The “cocoa percentage” refers to the percentage of cocoa mass in the chocolate bar itself. Different manufacturers develop their own “signature” blends where varying proportions of the different ingredients are used. More is not always better when it comes to cocao percentage, finding the perfect percentage for you is more important than finding the highest cocao percentage available.
Dark chocolate is one of the longest lasting and most stable foods you can buy. The finest dark chocolates contain at least 70% cocoa (solids + butter), More cocoa mass means a higher percentage, darker colour, and a more intense chocolate flavour.
If a dark chocolate contains 70 percent cocoa mass, it must contain about 30 percent sugar. The chocolate will have an intense chocolate taste, with just enough sweetness to make it palatable. The lower the chocolate’s percentage, the higher the percentage of sugar and the sweeter the chocolate will be.
Unsweetened or bitter chocolate contains nearly 100 percent cocoa mass. Semisweet and bittersweet chocolates have added sugar, so their cocoa percentages are a little lower.
Milk chocolate usually contains up to 50 percent cocoa. Because milk chocolate has more added sugar than dark, as well as dried milk solids, it has a lower percentage of cocoa mass. Inferior and mass-produced chocolate contains much less cocoa (as low as 7% in many cases) and fats other than cocoa butter.
A higher percentage doesn’t guarantee a better chocolate. One manufacturer may roast inferior cocoa beans longer than another would roast its superior beans (which require less heat to bring out their flavour). Both chocolates may contain the same percentage of cocoa mass, but the chocolate made from inferior beans will taste bitter, while the other has a more clear cocoa taste.To avoid paying too much for inferior chocolate purchase from well know chocolatiers. Higher quality chocolates have fewer ingredients, usually only five or six, and use real vanilla not artificial vanilla.
The texture of chocolate is also heavily influenced by processing. The more expensive chocolates tend to be processed longer and thus have a smoother texture and “feel” on the tongue. While you enjoy the mouth feel and the flavour of good chocolate you can think about all the health benefits linked with eating chocolate:
- Cocoa possesses a significant antioxidant action. Research has confirmed that chocolate is a good source of the kind of antioxidants found in tea. (chocolate’s antioxidant content is actually four times that of tea!)
- Dark chocolate, with its high cocoa content, is a rich source of the compounds which are thought to possess cardioprotective properties.
- Consuming relatively large amounts of dark chocolate and cocoa could help lower your cholesterol. Chocolate contains the same phenolics that are found in red wine.
- Research indicates that chocolate may be effective at preventing persistent coughing.
- Scientists have concluded that pure chocolate won’t cause acne.
- A dark bar, with its high cocoa to sugar ratio may actually discourage tooth decay and lead to fewer cavities.
- Chocolate is rich in magnesium
Finally, from the Godiva website:
“How to consume chocolate is for maximum pleasure?
Everything starts with eye appeal. The creativity of form, gives rise to an anticipation of the delicate balance of flavours. The shine on the coating heralds the crunch and smoothness. Bite into the subtle flavours of the finest cocoa beans. This mouth feel comes from a couverture chocolate prepared with 100% cocoa butter. For Godiva, there is no question of substituting a gram of any other kind of vegetable fat. Let it melt in your mouth. Slowly savour the chocolate inside and outside. Then press it against the palate to appreciate its length.”
A world of delicious chocolates are all easily within your reach. Godiva Chocolates are made from high quality ingredients and are available as beautiful gifts for your favourite love-dove here at Herma’s.