TRUFFLE MAKING SEMINAR15 July 2012 by Timothy Crum
Cocoa Beans & Chocolate 52% of the world says chocolate is their favorite flavor. (Euromonitor, 2006) Chocolate standards are set by the FDA in the U.S. To be real chocolate and not chocolate flavoring, the product must contain both cocoa butter and chocolate liquor Both of these products are found in cocoa beans ByUS standards, “chocolate” cannot contain any other fat besides cocoa butter.
Cocoa vs. Cacao Cocoa and Cacao are not interchangeable but have the same origin. Cacao refers to the bean, the source of chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, and cocoa powder. Cocoa is the remainder after the cacao beans have had their cocoa butter removed.
Types of Chocolate Extra bittersweet, bittersweet, and semi-sweet are all types of dark chocolate The difference is the amount of sugar, not fat. Extra bittersweet has the least amount of sugar. Bittersweet & semi-sweet contain at least 35% chocolate liquor as well as cocoa butter, and is typically labeled as 50% cacao. Dark chocolate contains at least 15% chocolate liquor as well as cocoa butter, and it typically labeled as 60% cacao.
Types of Chocolate, continued Milk chocolate is a combination of 10% chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, sugar, and 12% milk or cream. It is labeled as 35% cacao. White chocolate isn’t “chocolate.” It does not contain chocolate liquor, though it does contain cocoa butter, sugar, cream, and vanilla.
Cocoa Powder Natural cocoa has a natural red-brown color and a bitter, fruity, chocolate flavor. Dutch processed cocoa has been treated with alkali (in chemistry, a base) which reduces the acidity of the cocoa. This turns the cocoa dark brown and gives it a mellow, mild flavor. However, this process removes phenols and antioxidants.
Ancient Chocolatiers Ancient civilizations as far back as 1400 BCE began using cocoa. Anthropologists believe humans first observed monkeys eating the sweet pulp of the cacao pod. An ancient tribe called the Olmecs from the lowlands of central Mexico (1200-1300 BCE) were the first known group to bake cacao pods to sweeten them. The Mayans cultivated and processed cacao next, and it spread to other civilizations from there.
Chocolate in WesternCivilization During the Anglican Reformation, strictly conservative Protestants fled England for the Netherlands in 1690. Ironically, they took up residence next to a noisy chocolate factory and bakery. They dubbed the products “Devil’s Food” These same pilgrims banned chocolate in Plymouth colony once in America. Years later, chocolate cakes in the Netherlands were dubbed “Devil’s Food” referring to these pilgrims.
A Few (Historical) HealthBenefits Joseph Bouchat, a French physician of the 1600’s declared cacao a treatment for kidney disease, liver illness, faintness, and overall health. He called it a “a treatment that is a gift from God.” Other countries in Western Europe also believed in cacao’s medicinal effects in the treatment of colds, diarrhea, exhaustion, gout, infertility, lack of sexual appetite and erectile dysfunction.
Current Known Health Benefits Flavonoids: same substance found in dark vegetables. Acts as antioxidant and prevents cancers. 8 times as much antioxidants as fresh strawberries. Known to lower blood pressure by producing nitric oxide. Reduces LDL (bad) cholesterol. Stimulates endorphin (a “feel good” chemical) production.
…More Health Benefits Contains serotonin, a known anti-depressant Contains theobromine and caffeine, stimulants Only 1/3 of the fat in dark chocolate is bad for you! PalmiticAcid is the “bad” fat that effects cholesterol. The other 2/3 of the fat is… Oleic acid – the same fat as in olive oil Stearic acid – a neutral plant fat These fatty acids are important for many body systems and especially vitamin absorption.
Chocolate as a Commodity Dark chocolate sales have gone up 60% in the last decade. The most cited reasons are health benefits, availability of premium chocolate, and availability of organic and free trade chocolates. Euromonitor reports chocolate sales worldwide are $74 billion, $17.6 billion in the US alone The average American eats 13 lbs/year The Irish eat the most, around 23 lbs and the Swiss come in 2nd
Chocolate as a Commodity Asian countries are increasingly finding it rewarding to blend traditional Asiatic flavors with chocolate Shienzen Le Conté has combined milk chocolate and rice in a bar. Nestlé Japan now manufactures green tea Kit Kat bars. Trade magazines report that in China and Indonesia, chocolate is the fastest growing “impulse purchase.”
Chocolate and the Environment Cacao cultivation plays an important role in maintaining rainforests and their inhabitants local economies. Through agroforestry, local farmers are able to produce valuable foods while maintaining habitats for wildlife and rainforests. Cacao trees are picky. They thrive in constant warmth – within 15 degrees of the Equator – and plenty of rainfall: at least 80 inches a year! They also need the shade of the taller rainforest trees.
Isn’t a Truffle a Mushroom? Chocolate truffles gain their name because when dusted in cocoa they resemble the rich, luxurious mushroom found in the wild, especially France andn northern Italy. Realtruffles (tuber magnatum) grow underground and are sniffed out by specially trained pigs. Truffles are a prized gourmet food around the world now and are known for their distinct aroma and rarity. Beware: “You normally get what you pay for.”
Truffles-Making, finally! Truffles contain two primary, imperative ingredients: Chocolate Heavy Cream It is also very common to find butter in truffle recipes for richness and firmness. Flavorings are also possible. Vanilla extract, almond oil, hazelnut oil, etc.
Equipment Large glass bowl Pot in which the bowl will sit nicely Rubber spatula Teaspoon or small dough scoop Parchment paper Baking sheet
Caramel GanacheDipped in Pure Milk Chocolate with Fleur de Sel
Storage of Chocolate andTruffles Cool, dry place. 65 degrees is best with 50% humidity Airtight container Chocolate will absorb other flavors. Freeze chocolate up to 6 months Trufflesup to 1 month Thaw in airtight container in fridge then in airtight container at room temperature. This prevents cloudiness.