We invite you to read our periodic postings of chocolate facts for your intellectual nourishment.
Chocolate is notorious for absorbing odors. It should not be stored in any container nor near any items that might impart an odor, particularly chocolate that has not been wrapped in an air tight package.
There are 20 to 40 cocoa beans in the average cacao tree fruit pod.
Cacao trees yield fruit pods. A fruit pod looks like an elongated acorn squash and ripens into a combination of green, yellow, orange, and red colors.
Some of the countries growing cacao are Mexico, Costa Rica, Cuba, Colombia, Equador, Peru, Bolivia, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Trinidad, Venezuela, Brazil, Sierre Leone, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Togo, and Zaire.
"Cocoa mothers" are the chocolate world's example of how, in nature, different species help one another survive. While the cacao tree flourishes only in the hottest regions of the world, their delicate young plants need ample shade to protect them. They depend on other trees to provide this protection; in the cacao-growing trade such trees are called "cocoa mothers" and include the banana and lemon trees, the coconut palm, and the baobab.
Cocoa butter makes up approximately 50% of the cocoa bean.
Americans eat an average of 11 lbs. of chocolate per person per year. The Swiss eat an average of 26 lbs. per person per year.
Before making chocolate bars and candies, chocolatiers must temper their chocolate properly to enable it to set properly. Tempering takes chocolate through a variety of temperatures that can be described as melting, cooling, and working temperatures. The initial melting temperature is approximately 122F (50C).
Fine chocolates are rich in cocoa butter, which is polymorphic - it crystallizes in several forms as it solidifies, only one of which, the "B" form, is stable. The tempering process affects the crystalline structure of cocoa butter, inhibiting the formation of non-B crystals with lower melting points.
The three main types of cacao beans are: (1) Criollo; (2) Forastero; and (3) Trinitario.
One of the leading producers of Criollo cacao is Venezuela.
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