Everyone loves chocolate. Well, maybe not everyone — but pretty damn close, it seems. Of course, even those of us who love chocolate may have different opinions on what makes good chocolate. This is in part because there is a wide variety of different types of chocolate in the world. Certified pareve chocolate, for example, is pretty different from the types of chocolate you’ll find at a grocery store for fifty cents — not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with grocery store chocolate, mind you. Pure dark chocolate will also provide a very different flavor than that you’ll find in white chocolate or other types of milk chocolate. And in turn, entirely unsweetened chocolate will taste quite different from dark chocolate with sugar added. Then there are the many flavors that can be added to chocolate. There are the more familiar flavorings, like peanut butter or caramel. Then there are flavors that think outside the box, like chili pepper and rose. There’s more to chocolate than meets the eye, especially when it comes to gourmet chocolates and kosher chocolate. Let’s look into what makes chocolate the sweet treat that you love and crave, and why some chocolates differ from others.
What Goes Into Making Chocolate?
Chocolate has a reputation as one of the world’s favorite types of candy — and candy has is known as synthetic, for the most part. So it may surprise you that real chocolate comes from a plant; the cacao tree, to be exact. Cacao trees are difficult to maintain, and must be kept in very specific conditions. A single cacao tree can produce 6,000 flowers in a year, and these flowers produce a fruit known as the cacao bean. Despite the bulk of a cacao tree’s flowers, the tree will not bear fruit until it is six to eight years of age, though some hybrid trees start producing fruit at three years of age. These beans are fermented, then dried, cleaned, and roasted. The bean’s shell is removed, producing cacao nibs. The nibs are ground into cacao mass — this is, technically, pure chocolate. Usually, this is liquefied before being mixed in with other ingredients. Cacao beans can be imported all over the world before being converted into various types of chocolate, with 50% of the world’s chocolate sales being in Europe, and 20% of its consumption lying in the United States. Sometimes, the chocolate sold and consumed is certified pareve chocolate.
What Is Certified Pareve Chocolate?
Certified pareve chocolate is a type of chocolate that abides by strict kosher standards. In Judaism, pareve foods are foods that are neither meat or dairy. As such, pareve chocolate cannot have any dairy products in it whatsoever, nor can it be made alongside dairy products. Some chocolate claiming to be pareve chocolate was actually made by equipment that creates chocolate containing dairy, which is why it’s important that the pareve chocolate you buy is actually certified and confirmed to be kosher and pareve. Some people consume this chocolate not only because of its religiously significant qualities, but because it is guaranteed not to contain any dairy. Some prefer this true dark chocolate as a matter of taste, while lactose intolerant individuals feel safer eating this chocolate over others. Needless to say, there are other great types of chocolate on the market if this isn’t your type. But the fact is that some still don’t know everything they should about chocolate.
Isn’t Chocolate Unhealthy?
Before we leave you, a few parting words about chocolate. Chocolate is often seen as an unhealthy treat, but this isn’t always the case. For one thing, chocolate can be a good caffeine alternative for those who want pep in their step without the coffee jolt. A one ounce bar of chocolate has only five to six milligrams of chocolate, which is less than most coffees and teas. Chocolate is what you make of it — and if you choose healthier, purer chocolates, you’ll have better results.