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Artisan chocolate: 7 myths to dispel
Artisan chocolate: 7 myths to dispel

It all started by reading an article on false myths of the artisanal chocolate.

Now, those who follow Dissapore carefully know that our obsession with the different ways of making chocolate, especially starting from cocoa beans and without the use of semi-finished products, it has long since reached guard levels.

You do not imagine, it is suffering. Spasmodic attention to broad beans (I mean broad beans): how are those used by Italian artisans harvested (by hand or not?), If they are dried in the sun, the treatment in the laboratory. And having to listen to every breath that comes from Brooklyn, right now the capital of artisanal chocolate where everything is low houses and red bricks, and the only definitions that can be compared to chocolate are organic, raw and vegan.

Artisan chocolate is the new black, in short, the trend of the moment for the hard and pure of the little one is beautiful. But are we sure we know everything, without relying on clichés, negligence and false myths?

Let's find out together.

# 1 "The higher the percentage of cocoa, the better the chocolate"

chocolate, cocoa beans
chocolate, cocoa beans

The European Union does not go for the subtle definition: we talk about chocolate in the presence of a total residue (weight) of cocoa equal to 35% gross. There are some for every palate: from chocolate with low cocoa residue up to that with percentages that cover almost all of the product (70%, 80%, 90%).

But is it the high percentages of cocoa that make a bar of chocolate better?

Not necessarily. It all depends on the balance achieved between cocoa, sugar and cocoa butter. In itself this does not give aromatic elements but a certain mellowness to the chocolate, while it is the cocoa residue that most connotes the flavor.

Let's take an example: when we find that a bar of chocolate contains 80% cocoa, the percentage includes sugar, usually 20%, cocoa butter and cocoa (dry defatted).

But if the percentage of cocoa is made up of 40% cocoa and the other 40% cocoa butter it is one thing. The result is very different if 80% is composed only of cocoa. The result will be more bitter, but with a stellar bouquet of aromas.

# 2 "Chocolate yes, but without soy lecithin"

mast brothers, laboratory
mast brothers, laboratory

Obtained from the processing of soy beans, lecithin is an emulsifier often used in small quantities in confectionery preparations for its binding properties: it allows you to mix fatty and non-fatty elements such as cocoa butter and water.

Furthermore, when liquid chocolate is poured into molds where, upon cooling, it becomes solid, it may contain small air bubbles, identifiable for example in the bars as small and unattractive holes. Lecithin favors the release of bubbles from liquid chocolate.

Nevertheless, a small part of producers, typically those who aim for quality rather than savings, choose not to use soy lecithin.

However, it is possible to combine fat and dry parts, you have to mix the ingredients longer at higher temperatures, often you have to add more cocoa butter. All solutions that lengthen processing and increase costs, yet someone chooses to give up the emulsifier.

But soy lecithin is tasteless, so it has no contraindications from an aromatic point of view; it is also used in the order of 0.3-0.5% of a tablet.

To use it or not to use it is up to the producers based mainly on the production costs, but the negative halo surrounding soy lecithin is unjustified.

# 3 "White chocolate is chocolate"

White chocolate
White chocolate

Technically speaking, white chocolate is a product derived from the processing of chocolate. It is obtained from the fat of cocoa - cocoa butter - originally almost tasteless. Combined with sugar and milk derivatives, it manages to maintain the solid state; immediate melt in the mouth, extreme sweetness.

It has a relatively recent history: it was born after the First World War, in Switzerland: in the 1930s Nestlé began producing the first white bars, the famous Galak.

White chocolate is not chocolate because it does not contain cocoa but cocoa butter, milk, sugars and flavors - usually vanilla. However, it is easy to work thanks to the presence of cocoa fat and appears in many desserts, both confectionery and packaged.

Why give it up?

# 4 "Milk chocolate is the B series of chocolate"

Milk chocolate bars
Milk chocolate bars

Born in 1867 from the experiments of Daniel Peter, a Swiss manufacturer of candles, and perfected with the help of Mr. Henri Nestlè (that Mr. Nestlè), it is the most popular chocolate in the world.

Abused for a long time, it has been experiencing a kind of rebirth in recent years thanks to the artisans who make quality chocolate, including milk among the ingredients. Just think of the interesting Italian Domori experiment, a chocolate with four different types of milk: sheep, goat, camel and donkey. 25 gram tablets of unusual pleasure.

The milk gives it creaminess and, as in the case of Domori, interesting nuances. In short, if chocolate and milk go well together, why be purists?

# 5 "Only Bean to bar means quality"

Mast Brothers
Mast Brothers

Bean to bar, from the bean to the tablet. It is the new mantra of artisan chocolate. It must be said that with this formula i Mast brothers, tawny beards and brimmed hats, they put us in the bag. For a while, the fashionable big brothers of Long Island, New York, bought and melted other people's chocolate which they then used in their own productions.

Then we moved on to the latest cry, virgin chocolate, that is, coming from raw cocoa beans. Here the reference name is Raaka, once again on Long Island.

But what exactly do we mean by the "bean to bar" method?

The control by the artisans of the entire supply chain of their chocolate starting from the chocolate beans, that is, from the raw material (three types of cocoa most used: criollo, forastero, and trinitario, a mixture of the other two), to arrive at the product finished, the tablet, in fact.

A method made possible by specially designed machines: small tools with a not prohibitive cost that allow you to make your own chocolate, unique and different from all in taste and price.

But is it a method that really makes all the difference?

Putting bean to bar on the package goes a long way, but not everything. Attention must be paid to the indications of organic and sustainable agriculture, to how the workforce is treated in cocoa producing countries, to fair trade.

On the other hand, it is wrong to necessarily desecrate industrial chocolate: there are still good products that can also be found on a large scale.

# 6 "Melting other people's chocolate is a scam"

dark chocolate
dark chocolate

Let's go back to the Mast Brothers, not because they are particularly nice to us, but they were the first to radiate the hipster aura that surrounds artisan chocolate today, scams or not scams.

What scam are we talking about? The one that cracked the myth of bean to bar chocolate for a few moments.

Like rookies, responding to an e-mail asking for clarification on their products, they admitted to buying large quantities of chocolate Valrhona (Franco-Belgian multinational), then dissolved and reused in some preparations. Bye bye bean to bar, here we talk about industrial products.

Artisan chocolate enthusiasts revolted, even if, in the end, the sales so dear to the Mast Brothers were not affected.

Melting someone else's chocolate to work it again is not necessarily a demonic practice: it can give new shades to a good basic product. Of course, however, it must be declared.

# 7 "Cocoa is a superfood that will make us live forever"

dark chocolate
dark chocolate

It is beautiful, good and it is good for you. Dark and dark chocolate (less fat and sugary than milk) as a food of wonders that has a beneficial action for the heart and cardiovascular system, while milk or white chocolate is good for the brain.

Let's be clear: it is an excellent antioxidant, fights degenerative diseases and free radicals, provides iron, magnesium and calcium in quantities. All qualities amplified if the beans are not roasted to form cocoa, then mixed with sugar and fats.

In fact, exposure to high temperatures during the roasting process reduces the levels of antioxidants in cocoa, consequently the benefits of raw cocoa.

Little is said, however, about the possible health risks associated with the consumption of chocolate from non-roasted beans, unless rigorous checks are carried out on the presence of bacteria such as E. coli or salmonella, and on the formation of aflatoxins, toxic and carcinogenic microtoxins..

The use of ascorbic acid-based disinfectants protects you from these risks.

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