Tofino chocolate: A sweet Treat for your Afternoon
by Nadia Dürig, Tofino
Chocolate, one of the finer things in life. It is no wonder that the ancient Aztecs considered it the food of the Gods.
Grinding the cocoa beans into fine powder then mixing it with hot water and a dash of vanilla beans calling it Xocolatl. The Aztecs had the Cocoa percentage game figured out. It is simply amazing how many people refuse to eat chocolate that has less then 70% cocoa content, when in all actuality it is very common to have a dark chocolate of a lesser cocoa content taste better. A nice dark chocolate Tofino bar, or a honey ganache square with a special mix of 54% and 85% dark chocolates could be just the sweet treat to get you through the day.
Think of cocoa beans as coffee beans... the better the bean the better the brew. It's the same for chocolate. Only the best beans make for the best chocolate. These cocoa beans (that come in pods) are put through a whole refining process. It is the conching of chocolate that makes it have that smooth texture sliding around your mouth and melting upon contact. Conching is a processing technique developed in Switzerland to knead the chocolate mixture and remove the tinyiest of grains resulting in a very smooth texture and help develop the flavour. This process can take up to 72 hours. Part of chocolate's satisfying quality is due to chocolate releasing the same brain chemicals as sex, so who wouldn't feel good? Chocolate makes the perfect pick me up after a long day; especially when combining the two in an espresso truffle or gelato.
Chocolate comes in different grades. Cheap chocolate is such due to the addition of oils, for example palm kernel oil, instead of cocoa butter. Cocoa butter that naturally occurs in the cocoa bean is separated during processing and then added again in different quantities depending on whether making milk, dark or white chocolate. This would be when the milk solids and sugar are added to the milk, and white chocolate. Eating chocolate made from the finest Belgian sources and handmade with additions of fresh local ingredients makes a spectacular pairing. Once you go gourmet, you'll never go back.
White Chocolate, chocolate or not? The only thing white chocolate lacks is the cocoa press cake. The press cake is what gives chocolate the brown colour and is also used in manufacturing cocoa powder. White chocolate still contains cocoa butter, cocoa liquor, milk solids, sugar, and sometimes soy lecithin as a stabilizer. For all intents and purposes white chocolate is chocolate.
Chocolate makes a perfect gift whether it be for someone else or a gift to yourself. That little $15 box of chocolate goes a long way, even if it only lasts one night. Try some new flavours; what's true for food is also true for chocolate... a dark chocolate coffee truffle to increase a male's stamina, or perhaps a nice strawberry or vanilla for warming up your woman. Or share some ginger to increase the circulatory system. Let your senses guide you and indulge in the sweet bliss of chocolate on your lips.
Have a Sweet Day!
Nadia Dürig is the Chef Patissiere / Chocolatiere at Chocolate Tofino. Visit her there to get your sweet treats for Valentine’s; ask about Nadia’s Naughty Chocolates if you dare.
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Chocolate Tofino’s Nadia Dürig on history of chocolate, differences between white and dark chocolate and the benefits of chocolate.