SWEET NOTES ON CHOCOLATE

We’re taking a breather after packing off the Caperberry chocolate orders that kept us busy through the Diwali season. Even as the luscious-centred delights were being crafted and placed in their luxury boxes, I found myself thinking about our endless fascination with chocolate, the perfect gift and a sensory pleasure like few others.

Diwali Special Chocolates

How it all began: The history of chocolate goes all the way back to the Mayans. Cacao beans were so valuable to them that they were used as currency. In 1519, the Aztec emperor Montezuma served some to his guest, the conquistador Hernando Cortes.  Cortes took cacao back home to Spain in 1529, sweetening the cacao drink for Spaniards.  As the drink gained popularity, the Spanish planted cacao trees in their colonies in Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru and Jamaica.

Early experiments: Milk chocolate wasn’t invented until 1875. The first European chocolate involved removing half of the cocoa butter, crushing what remained and mixing it with salts to counter the bitter taste, this was known as Dutch Cocoa. Milk chocolate was discovered by taking this powder and mixing it with sweetened condensed milk, which had been invented by a man named Nestle. Sounds familiar?

Chocolates By Caperberry 1

Early experiments: Milk chocolate wasn’t invented until 1875. The first European chocolate involved removing half of the cocoa butter, crushing what remained and mixing it with salts to counter the bitter taste, this was known as Dutch Cocoa. Milk chocolate was discovered by taking this powder and mixing it with sweetened condensed milk, which had been invented by a man named Nestle. Sounds familiar?

As a gift: According to some historical versions, Anne of Austria, daughter of King Philip III of Spain, who married King Louis XIII of France in 1615, gave him chocolate as a wedding gift.  That is also how news of chocolate spread from Spain to France and other parts of Europe.
Chocolates by Caperberry 2

The food of love: Famed lovers Montezuma and Casanova had declared chocolate to be an aphrodisiac, and the Marquis de Sade was once arrested for hosting a ball where he spiked the chocolate pastilles with Spanish fly, turning the gala into an amorous affair. There’s no denying that chocolate gives most people the feeling that they’re in love. Apparently, that’s because of what phenyl ethylamine (PEA), a chemical in chocolate, does when it’s released in the human brain.

A sensation: People desire chocolate for its sensory properties, its melting sensations and intense flavour, which develops in the cocoa solids during the fermentation process. Its aroma and flavors are highly complex. More than 500 compounds responsible for aromas have been found in roasted cocoa beans, and chocolate has more 1,500 flavor compounds, which is three times the number found in wine.

Too much demand: The world is facing a chocolate shortage due to the demand for chocolate increasing all the time. Supply is unable to keep up, making this unique and delightful ingredient dearer every passing day. So indulge in it before it becomes unaffordable ore ven worse, unavailable!

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