Right now, around our place, we think jalapeno bacon dipped into warm, homemade dark chocolate ganache is the best chocolate treat we can make. In our culture chocolate is just beginning to show up in savory dishes. Try a few shakes of unsweetened cocoa powder in the next beef stew you make for more depth of flavor.
Chocolate has been linked to love for centuries. The Aztec king, Montezuma, had no problem drinking 50 golden goblets a day of the early bitter stuff. Though chocolate had its beginnings in Mexico, it is pretty much a European thing these days and began appearing there in 1544 when a group of Mayans from Guatemala took gifts of chocolate to Spain.
Some of Europe’s leading chocolate brands today:
Schladerer Chocolate, German
Bernard Castelain, French
Cote D’Or, Belgian Chocolate
Amedei Italian Chocolate
Callebaut, Belgian Chocolate
Valrhona French Chocolate
Lindt Swiss Chocolate
We know, however you eat it, chocolate tastes good, and these days we are learning chocolate is healthy for us to eat, especially dark chocolate. White chocolate, which is mostly fat and sugar, is considered least healthy for us.
Early in each culture, it was a matter of cinnamon vs. and vanilla for accenting chocolate flavor. Because of this, bitter chocolate ended up in savory Mexican dishes, frequently as a mole sauce. For it, they blended bitter chocolate with chiles, onions, garlic, tomato, sesame seed, almonds, corn tortillas, raisins, clove, cinnamon, coriander, olive oil and chicken broth.
The New World, however preferred its chocolate in the sweet zone, in candies, cakes, cookies and brownies. Their recipes generally contained melted chocolate or dry cocoa powder with butter, sugar, eggs, flour, a liquid, baking soda and vanilla.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF CHOCOLATE:
UNSWEETENED CHOCOLATE: Pure chocolate liquor, the bitterest, used mostly for baking
BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE: Slightly sweetened version of unsweetened chocolate
CAROB: Low-calorie chocolate substitute made of the mashed fruit of a Mediterranean pine tree.
COCOA POWDER: Powdered form of cocoa where nearly all fat is removed. Popular in low-fat cooking.
SEMISWEET CHOCOLATE: Often seen as “chocolate chips,” they are semisweet chocolate blended with sugar, cocoa butter and flavorings.
WHITE CHOCOLATE: Contains no chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, added milk products and sugar.
MILK CHOCOLATE: The sweetest, has powdered milk, sugar, vanilla and cocoa butter added.
Foodsites with chocolate recipes: