Sunday, February 21, 2010

Indulge In Your Favorite Chocolates

Chocolate 101

From basic ingredients like tropical cacao beans, vanilla and sugar, candy companies, and dessert chefs around the world create the delicious, seductive substance known as chocolate. Depending on the exact ingredients or cooking process, chocolate can be created in countless forms and flavors to satisfy the tastes and cravings of "chocoholics" of every persuasion. So what are some of the most popular varieties of chocolate, and how do they differ from one another?

Jacques Torres is one of the world’s foremost chocolate experts. A French native who now lives in New York, Torres is an internationally celebrated pastry chef who has won countless awards and honors for his culinary artistry. Torres is also a frequent media guest, and entertains and informs dessert lovers with his own television series and his various cookbooks. Fans of his pastries and confections can now buy products directly from his state-of-the-art chocolate factory and shop. Here Torres gives us an introduction to several basic kinds of chocolate:

* Dark chocolate. According to Torres, dark chocolate, which is noticeably less sweet than other forms of chocolate, starts with a bitter paste of ground beans called cocoa liquor (not to be confused with an alcoholic drink). Cocoa butter is added to make the chocolate more fluid, and then sugar and real vanilla to add sweetness and flavor. Cheaper chocolate will contain vanillin rather than the pure form.

* Milk chocolate. If milk powder is then added, the resulting product will be milk chocolate, which is the most popular kind of eating chocolate in the world. The vast majority of chocolate bars and treats are made with milk chocolate.

* White chocolate. If you take milk chocolate and remove all the cocoa liquor, you get white chocolate, which is sweet and rich and has a dairy taste that is much farther removed from the original beans.

* A global treat. According to Torres, chocolate comes from all over the world. The beans themselves are grown in paces as varied as the US, the Caribbean, and Africa. From there the beans are turned into chocolate in kitchens and factories around the globe. To find out which type of chocolate is best for your taste buds, start sampling different kinds today!

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