International Chocolate Day

November 3, 2021

On September 13, homage is paid to one of the tastiest delicacies that nature has given, Chocolate . A holiday that arose in France in 1995, as a tribute to the British writer Roald Dahl, author of the story “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”

It is thought to be one of the greatest delicacies in world cuisine and is considered by millions of people as their favorite sweet. It is not surprising that chocolate has its own international day.

There are others who consider July 7 as the correct date. According to the “Academy of Chocolate and Confectionery” in France, the date should be July 7, referring to the arrival of cocoa from America to Europe in 1550. However, that date does not have an entity. For that reason, the most famous and celebrated is that of this September 13.

Where does the Chocolate come from?

Chocolate comes from the cacao tree, more properly from its seed. This tree was quite common in the tropical countries of America, such as Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica and Venezuela, the latter being the country that has the tastiest type of cocoa in the world.

Cacao is an American tree of Amazonian origin, since by cacao it normally refers to the fruit that said tree bears, or even to the product of the drying and fermentation of the seeds of said fruit.

It is an evergreen tree, always in bloom, which requires hot and humid climates. It usually measures around 7 meters if it is cultivated and above 20 in nature.

History of Cacao

Cacao was used by the Mayan, Aztec and Inca tribes more than 2,500 years ago, primarily as a medicinal remedy or as a currency. Its introduction in Europe does not arrive until the 15th century after the colonization of America, when it was imported together with other foods such as potatoes or tomatoes.

Although it was introduced, the recipe for the chocolate drink that existed at that time was not pleasant for most of the population, they considered it very bitter. It was not until the 19th century that its consumption began to spread, due to the appearance of the chocolate industry in this century, which applied the first additions of sugar and other components that gave chocolate a more palatable flavor.

From cocoa to Chocolate

Chocolate is obtained by mixing sugar with cocoa. The production begins with the collection of the best cocoa beans from its trees, which are classified and cleaned to remove impurities. After this process, they are roasted with great care for a maximum of 45 minutes.

In roasting, the typical aromas of cocoa develop. They are then cooled very quickly so as not to damage the aromas obtained and are crushed. Depending on the desired size, the husked cocoa (larger) or the cocoa powder is obtained.

Once the cocoa is obtained, it is mixed with the rest of the ingredients, which will vary depending on the type of chocolate that you want to make. Once the homogeneous paste is obtained, it is refined, based on very fine grinding the product until obtaining very small particles.

The next step is to mechanically stir the product for several hours, which warms up (70ºC-80ºC) and evaporates the water and volatile acids. In this way, the taste of the chocolate will be more pleasant and of higher quality. This process is called conching, after which the pasta is allowed to cool and the tempering stage begins.

The objective during cooling is the crystallization of the cocoa butter. At this time the chocolate is ready, only the molding is missing, which serves to give the final shape to the product.

Cocoa composition

Cocoa has a high level of fat (especially saturated, and to a lesser extent, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated), carbohydrates and proteins. But it also contains magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, theobromine, caffeine, antioxidants, and water, among others.

Cocoa also stands out for having a high contribution of energy, it is usually indicated for those people who carry out sports activities or physical exercise in an intense way.

Chocolate Benefits

Antioxidant action

  • Dark chocolate is a food that contains antioxidants, such as polyphenols, flavonoids (especially proanthocyanidin) and catechins, among others.

Keeps the heart healthy

  • As mentioned, there are several studies that suggest that chocolate prevents coronary heart disease.

It’s good for the brain

  • Some research suggests that consuming dark chocolate helps stimulate blood flow to the brain and to the heart, which may help improve your cognitive functions.

Natural stimulant

  • In the case of dark chocolate, this food has in its composition about 25–35 mg of caffeine, a stimulant that could increase alertness and improve attention and psychomotor performance.

Helps skin health

  • The high antioxidant content has another effect since, in addition to reducing oxidative stress, it helps promote healthier and more hydrated skin.

A food with essential nutrients

  • This type of chocolate is a food with an interesting nutritional composition that includes the following: fat (30%), proteins (6%), carbohydrates (61%); minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, copper, calcium, and iron (3%); as well as vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, E, pantothenic acid, thiamine and riboflavin.

Helps against fatigue

  • Finally, the consumption of dark chocolate helps to improve the action of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, responsible for regulating mood and sleep.

Contraindications

One of the main risks of consuming this food in excess is the caloric increase, 100 grams of dark chocolate is equivalent to 540 calories, which represents almost a quarter of the daily calories that we should consume, as well as saturated fat.

Without a doubt, one of the best known side effects is weight gain. Ideally if we are going to eat some chocolate is to eliminate other “treats” and walk for at least thirty minutes in order to counteract the effect of the additional calories.

Dr. Loony Davis5
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Born and raised in Brussels in an English family, I have always lived in a multicultural environment. After several work experiences in marketing and communication, I came to Smart Water Magazine, which I describe as the most exciting challenge of my career.
I am a person with great restlessness and curiosity to learn, discover what I do not know, as well as reinvent myself daily, someone who is curious about life and wants to know. I enjoy sharing knowledge.
This is my personal project but I also collaborate in other blogs, it is the case, the most important web on water currently exists in the US, if you are interested you can read my articles here.

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