One of the favorite foods of young and old is chocolate. This confectionery product brings great pleasure and happiness to those who consume it . Whatever the occasion, and even if there is none, it is the most desired food, as well as an irresistibly sweet temptation.
Origin of chocolate
European sailors brought chocolate from America to the royal court in 1528. The main culprit was Hernan Cortes, but Christopher Columbus himself also encountered the miraculous beans.
They were extremely valuable at the time. They kept them in secret, like gold metal and other jewels. Also used for payment.
It is not known where the name of the chocolate comes from. It is supposed to be a combination of words that mean bitter and water. Chocolate was used to make a special drink that was a favorite of important people. Maybe that’s why they called it “food of the gods” .
Cocoa retains its popularity and it is only increasing worldwide. There is even an international chocolate day – November 29. Switzerland is the country that consumes the most chocolate products, and is also one of the producers of the highest quality ones in the world.
Chocolate is actually made from fermented, baked and ground cocoa bean seeds. The delicious product is obtained when cocoa butter and a little sugar are added to the cocoa mass.
When the presence of cocoa is over 70% – this is the so-called natural chocolate. Its bitterness is due to the large amount of cocoa, low sugar and lack of milk. That is why it is known as “dark” chocolate.
It starts with collecting the cocoa pods, selecting only the well-ripened fruits. Then they are dried and ground, thus obtaining chocolate butter , etc. chocolate liqueur, although it does not contain alcohol.
When pressing the cocoa nuts themselves , cocoa butter is obtained. The rest of this is processed into cocoa.
When cocoa butter is mixed with chocolate liqueur, natural chocolate is obtained. No or no milk is added to it.
There are several subspecies of dark chocolate. The main ones are sweet and bittersweet. It can exist in the form without sugar, ie. the cocoa content is 100%, or full cocoa mass. Only fat is added to it to harden the solid. It is quite bitter, which makes it unpleasant to eat directly, but is used in cooking.
Composition of dark chocolate:
- Cocoa – a natural raw material that is extracted from cocoa nuts.
- Theobromine – which stimulates the nervous system because it is a strong antioxidant.
- Carbohydrates, protein and fats.
It is considered to be good for health because it has a good effect on a person’s figure and the stress under which he is constantly placed. With it you can easily get the necessary magnesium for the body, which helps for bone strength and relaxes muscles, zinc, which stimulates the reproduction of cells and iron, thanks to which healthy red blood cells are produced.
Other useful substances contained in it are:
- vitamins from group B, E, PP
Chocolate should be stored in a cool place where there is no contact with other foods, because it easily absorbs foreign odors and changes its taste.
Benefits of its consumption:
- Natural chocolate is a powerful antioxidant. This quality is important because it protects cells from oxidation and aging.
- Reduces the development of diabetes.
- Protects against obesity.
- It dulls the feeling of stress and activates the positive mood. Chocolate is believed to increase hormone levels of happiness.
- Fights depression and fatigue.
- It has an antiviral effect.
- Regulates blood pressure.
- Reduces the risk of heart attack and can help avoid clogging blood vessels.
- Relieves menstrual pain in women. It also has a beneficial effect in pregnancy by reducing the stress of future births.
- It is believed that high consumption of cocoa makes people smarter. It enhances the movement of blood to those parts of the brain where cognitive activity and attention are activated.
- It is debatable whether dark chocolate can improve memory.
- Strengthens the immune system.
- Nourishes and tones the skin, making it thick and hydrated. It also makes it more resistant to sunburn. It also improves the appearance and strength of hair and nails.
- It is a good motivation for training and physical activity. Brings a sense of energy. The theobromine in chocolate resembles the caffeine in coffee, but the former has a longer lasting effect.
- It is useful for digestion because it has prebiotic properties. At the same time it can act as a probiotic.
- Dark chocolate satiates and reduces appetite.
Note the fact that chocolate is a high-calorie food regardless of its type and yet natural contains up to 15% fewer calories than other types. It has high levels of fat in its content and can dramatically increase levels of blood sugar. It is good to take small amounts every day or every other day, but do not overdo it. The recommended ones are about 20 to 30 grams per day.
When you decide to eat dark chocolate, pay attention to its origin and composition. The products of some traders contain impurities. Thus the necessary ingredients are in smaller quantities, and in their place are soy, palm oil and other ingredients that do not have a beneficial effect on the body.
In the short term and in moderation, chocolate can fight bad moods, but this is not for a long time. If it goes too far, things can turn around.
Dark chocolate is not recommended for people who have developed an allergy to cocoa. Care should be taken with the amounts consumed by diabetics. Not suitable for children.
What to look for when choosing natural chocolate
Manufacturers have usually created very beautiful and luxurious packaging for their products, but more important is what lies inside them. When choosing chocolate pay attention to a few important things:
- What are its ingredients; Cocoa content to be at least 50%
- What is the duration of its shelf life. Here it is important to know that real chocolate has a shelf life of up to 10 months.
- Real chocolate does not melt in the hands, but in the mouth.
- When you break it, you hear a crunch.
The importance of chocolate
In addition to its huge role in confectionery, dark chocolate has even played a role in medicine. History knows a time when Europeans consumed chocolate only on prescription. It has been used for sore throats or fatigue.
Ideas for combinations and combinations with other products
The temptation we feel for sweets leads us to consume dark chocolate as a healthy option. It is a great option for a final meal or a snack and has an important role in many dessert recipes.
It can be consumed in any way – in its original state after purchase, as part of pastries and desserts and others.
Used in recipes for many cakes, muffins, cakes, pastries, creams, rolls and countless other tempting cakes. Combines well with cream, strawberries, milk and other ingredients, which are often used in confectionery. Therefore, it is safe to say that chocolate has a very wide application in cooking.
As a way to get the necessary minerals and antioxidants, you can add a teaspoon of cocoa to your food. For example in shakes, muesli, bars or as a drink – milk with cocoa.
A great combination is natural chocolate with wine. Red wine goes perfectly with the taste of chocolate.
Dark chocolate is available on the market both in standard form and in combinations with orange, raspberry and other fruits. The most surprising combination is the proposal dark chocolate with hot pepper. It turns out that this option has many fans.
If you do not like these offers, we suggest you buy or make one of these captivating recipes: chocolate cheesecake with raspberries and icing, chocolate cream, chocolate shake, brownies, cake garage, chocolates, chocolate souffle, chocolate truffles.
Strange but interesting applications of natural chocolate
Apart from being a food, dark chocolate has other applications that can surprise a person.
- Strengthens tooth enamel, thanks to its content of eobromine (a component of cocoa beans). When consumed in moderation, it can even be a cure for unpleasant cavities.
- Due to the high content of flavanols, chocolate strengthens the immune system, at the same time it is a strong antioxidant. This makes it a perfect cosmetic against skin aging. You can prepare a homemade face mask that will assure you of this fact.
- It also acts as a cosmetic for the whole body, which moisturizes and tones the skin, and its smell stimulates good mood.
- Helps with quality brain activity and quick thinking. This is due to the caffeine it contains.
- It can be an inspiration in fashion.
Natural chocolate is an exquisite product and a powerful antioxidant, whose value should be appreciated and highly. Do not hesitate and include it in your diet in combination with other favorite foods.
Not only is it very tasty, but its special taste is memorable and delights the palate . It will also bring you many benefits. Share it with loved ones and enjoy it.