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Frequently Asked Questions About Chocolate

What is chocolate bloom?

Chocolate bloom or fat bloom is the white layer that sometimes forms on chocolate when some of the cocoa butter has separated causing it to rise to the surface of the chocolate. This happens when the chocolate is stored in too humid or too warm a temperature. The chocolate can still be used as it only minimally affects the taste and texture. It can be easily removed by scratching away the thin layer of white that has formed.

Some chocolates that are produced with simpler methods may be more susceptible to blooming. In our experience, we seem blooming more often in less-refined chocolates with a rougher texture.

 

Does chocolate have a lot of caffeine?

Chocolate does not have a high concentration of caffeine, it contains roughly 1/5th of the caffeine present in a cup of espresso coffee.

The caffeine content of chocolate increases the darker the chocolate is. For example, for 100g of chocolate in a milk chocolate recipe, you would have 50mg of caffeine, while in a dark chocolate bar of 60% cacao there would be about 120mg and if you were enjoying the same amount of 100% cacao, you would get more of a jump with almost 200mg of caffeine.

If you feel a boost of energy or a change in mood, it might be attributed to a combination of the caffeine and the theobromine found in chocolate. It is worth noting that while these two can act as stimulants to the human consumer, they can be deadly to smaller animals if consumed in large amounts.

In addition to the caffeine and theobromine, studies have shown that consuming chocolate induces serotonin production in the brain which is a neurotransmitter involved in mood elevation.

 

Does chocolate raise or lower cholesterol levels?

Chocolate is extracted from cocoa beans which contain cocoa butter but no cholesterol. Only milk chocolate has a cholesterol content of approx. 23 mg per 100 g of product as the result of the addition of the milk ingredient.

 

Is chocolate good for you?

Dark chocolate contains conjugated linoleic acid also known as CLA which is a trans fatty acid that is believed to fight cancer. Studies (funded by Hershey’s and Nestle mind you) have shown that chocolate consumption can actually lower the level of LDL (bad cholesterol). However, at this time, you’d have to eat a lot of chocolate in order to see any of these effects and the other effects resulting from consuming so much chocolate might outweigh any benefit.

 

Does Chocolate Cause tooth decay?

The more sugar there is in your chocolate, the more likely the chocolate is not good for your teeth. However, if you were eating 100% cacao, the chocolate itself would not promote tooth decay, and in fact, because cacao naturally contains anti-bacterial enzymes this would help prevent plaque formation.

 

What’s the difference between Praline and Gianduja?

Gianduja is a variant of praline which comes from the Piedmont region of Italy. But on either side of the Alps, the techniques are different. The “classic” praline is prepared using sugar syrup and almonds that are caramelized together before grinding to the fineness required; gianduja is prepared using hazelnuts, sometimes almonds, grilled and peeled and then mixed with caster sugar before being ground to a fine paste to which chocolate is then added.