Tag Archives: raw chocolate

Experts agree, eating dark chocolate is GOOD for you!

Is Dark Chocolate Good For you
A recent article by
Time Magazine discussed whether or not eating dark chocolate was a good or bad thing, and the result was a resounding – YES!

5 out of 5 experts agreed that you should eat dark chocolate and has been linked to lowering blood pressure and increasing anti-inflammatory activity, which helps protect against heart disease. With most things though, it is always best when you eat it in moderation.

If we take it one step further in terms of ‘health’, you need to take into consideration that not all dark chocolate is the same.

Firstly, dark chocolate can found in two forms, compound and couverture. One of the biggest differences is that couverture contains cocoa butter. However, compound removes this cocoa butter and replaces it with vegetable oil. Compound chocolate has a 45 degree melting point, which means it will never melt in your body, making it harder to digest and can raise your cholesterol.

Secondly, the higher the the percentage of chocolate, the better. Dark couverture can be found in percentages ranging from 54% to 80% and sometimes even higher.

Savour Chocolate & Patisserie School in Brunswick run cooking classes in Melbourne and only use Callebaut couverture chocolate in our school and in our retail store for purchase. Some of the different variants of cocoa percentage include:

Callebaut Dark 54% Couverture Chocolate
Callebaut Dark 70% Couverture Chocolate
Callebaut Dark 80% Couverture Chocolate

Callebaut OriginsCallebaut also produces an Origin range where the cocoa beans are produced from a single region. Each chocolate brings you a different taste and aromatic character – reflecting the soil, the climate and the environment where the cocoa beans were grown. Just like wine, the taste of these couvertures can slightly alter with each harvest. The different origin chocolate regions include:

Callebaut Brazil 66.8% Couverture Chocolate
Callebaut Sao Thome 70% Couverture Chocolate
Callebaut Ecuador 70% Couverture Chocolate
Callebaut Madagascar 70% Couverture Chocolate

YES, dark chocolate is good for you, but as you can see, when it comes to dark chocolate, there are many options and varieties.

I would recommend trying all the different dark chocolates and finding the right one that suits you in terms of cocoa percentage, and of course taste – besides it’s good for you!

Kirsten Tibballs and the Cocoa Tour of Ghana

I always knew Australia was the lucky country and my recent trip on a cocoa tour of Ghana proves it.

 

I was one of 45 blessed industry professionals to be invited on a 6 day tour of Ghana and more importantly the cocoa plantations. Through competitions and awards, F.Mayer Imports invited fortunate Cacao Barry and Callebaut customers to immerse themselves in the world of chocolate from the ground up.

 

Cocoa has sustained Ghana since Tetteh Quarshie, who first brought it from Fernando Po in Equatorial Guinea at around 1879. Cocoa secured Ghana’s future after it became an independent nation in 1957, by providing the bulk of the funds needed for its development.

 

The cultivation of cocoa still provides a living for millions in rural areas of Ghana, including those employed in the provision of ancillary services that support the industry, such as warehousing and the transport sector.

 

Ghana provides 24% of the world’s supply of cocoa, the second biggest supplier in the world after Ivory Coast, and is supplied by thousands of individual farms. Ghana grew over a million tons of cocoa in the last financial year. The average number a cocoa beans grown and processed per acre per year for a farm in Ghana is 350-400kg of beans. The cocoa price is set by the Ghana cocoa board in conjunction with the government each year, and is reviewed accordingly. The current pricing will give a farmer $106 US dollars per 64kg sack of beans.DSC_1613

 

Cocoa is the second most labour intensive agricultural product after vanilla. It takes 5 to 8 months for a cocoa pod to grow from the pollinated flower to a ripe cocoa pod. On cultivated cocoa plantations, only 3 out of 1000 flowers are pollinated, fertilized and grow into fruit. Wild cocoa has a much higher rate of 15 out of 1000 flowers producing fruit. Pods grow directly off the trunk or heavy branches of the tree. The pods are green while maturing and turns yellow, orange, red and purple when ripe. Ghana has created its own hybrid of cocoa, a combination of the robust Forastero and trinitario, which they have found is best suited to the environment, pests and diseases in Ghana.

 

The pod itself has between 30 – 50 individual cocoa beans inside, dependant on the size of the pod. The beans are removed from the pod and fermented in either wooden crates or wrapped in banana leaves for up to seven days. This will break down the fruit membrane on the outside of the bean and develop the flavour. The beans are then dried naturally in the sun in a thin layer and raked over at regular intervals to ensure they dry evenly and separate any joined beans. Once dried the beans can only hold a maximum of 7.5% moisture before being packaged. 1kg of dried cocoa beans produces 800g of couverture with 80% cocoa.

 

IMG_2618Our tour was an amazing opportunity for skilled professionals to gain an insight into the culture and cocoa industry of Ghana. I now have a true appreciation of the labour and love involved in producing Callebaut and Cacao Barry couverture from the ground up. Cocoa is a fragile commodity impacted by so many outside influences; I like to think I give chocolate the affection it deserves.

 

A big thank you to Gary Willis who organised the whole trip, F. Mayer Imports and Callebaut and Cacao Barry chocolate.

 

At the end of this year, Kirsten will be launching brand new ‘bean to bar’ chocolate classes. These ongoing classes are exclusive to Savour Chocolate and Patisserie School.