For the love of chocolate!

When we have something delicious, we often wonder who might have discovered this and how did they know what to do with this? This week, with all the Valentine’s Day fervor, we thought about chocolate, and wondered about the same thing.Like most great discoveries, chocolate too is a result of accidents, trials and errors. Grown only along the equator, the use of cocoa was known to Central American Indians since about 1400 BC, when they used cocoa pods to make beer. Cocoa pods, which are roughly the size of a papaya, were wholly fermented and the resulting pulp was used to make beer while the fermented seeds were discarded. It took a while for them to realize that the fermented seeds too could be used to make a non-alcoholic drink!Cocoa drink was highly valued, despite its bitter taste. Usually, it was mixed with other things like wine, spices, vanilla, etc. It was had during festivities like marriages and childbirth and was believed be an aphrodisiac and also give strength. When it was discovered by Columbus, cocoa got introduced to Europe, who knew about sugar.

However, it was only during the 19th century that chocolate became commercialized thanks to the work of a Dutch chemist, Coenraad van Houten. Later in the same century, others like Daniel Peter, Henri Nestlé, Rodolphe Lindt and Milton Hershey got into chocolate making and commercialized it.

Today, majority of cocoa is sourced from West African countries like Ivory Coast, Ghana and Nigeria. There is much wrong about cocoa sourcing today, with slave and child labour being rampant. So when you buy chocolates, please look for the Fairtrade logo at the back of the packet and do your bit to encourage ethical sourcing!

 

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Don’t you just heart this chocolate?

 


 

Chocolates make the best gift, always. No wonder, with Valentine’s Day coming up, you must be out there hunting for the best ones in town. This time, how about we tell you how to make some at home? We bet it will melt your partner’s heart faster than chocolate 🙂

Here’s a simple recipe to help you with it:

Ingredients:
Cocoa butter or coconut oil ½ cup
Cocoa powder ½ cup
Honey ¼ cup
Vanilla or other essence 1 tsp
Roasted almonds, raisins, etc. As preferred

Method:

  • Heat water in a small pan. Place the cocoa butter in a bowl over the pan until it melts. (Step not needed if using coconut oil in liquid form)
  • Take the bowl off the heat. Add cocoa powder, honey, essence and other ingredients. Mix well until uniformly consistent
  • Pour into molds or over baking paper or other non-stick surface. Allow it to cool. If using coconut oil, refrigerate to cooll

Have a very special Valentine’s Day!

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