Cocoa (Theobroma cacao)
Usage / Preparation
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Cocoa beans contain about 2% theobromine, small amounts of caffeine, flavanoids, phenethylamine, vitamins (A, B1, B2, B3, C, E and pantothenic acid) and minarls (megnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium, manganese). Cocoa beans contain approximately 50% fat, primarily comprised of two saturated fatty acids, palmitic and stearic acids, and the mono unsaturated oleic acid.
Cacao was named Theobroma by Linnaeus, which literally translates as "Cocoa, food of the Gods".
The Aztecs, Mayas and Toltecs believed that the cocoa tree was indeed a gift from the Gods.
The word cacao is derived from Olmec and the subsequent Mayan languages (kakaw); the chocolate-related term cacahuatl is Nahuatl (Aztec language), derived from Olmec/Mayan etymology, meaning "bitter water".
Cacao beans were used by the Aztecs to prepare to a hot, frothy beverage with stimulant and restorative properties.
Chocolate itself was reserved for warriors, nobility and priests. The Aztecs esteemed its reputed ability to confer wisdom and vitality. Taken fermented as a drink, chocolate was also used in religious ceremonies. The sacred concoction was associated with Xochiquetzal, the goddess of fertility.
Emperor Montezuma (1502-1520) allegedly drank 50 goblets a day. Aztec taxation was levied in cacao beans. 100 cacao beans could buy a slave. 12 cacao beans bought the services of courtesan.
"The divine drink, which builds up resistance and fights fatigue. A cup of this precious drink cocoa permits a man to walk for a whole day without food." --Montezuma II
Legend has it that Montezuma II was the first to discover chocolate ice and sent his runners to the heights of the volcano to bring back blocks of snow over which thick chocolate was poured, whipped, and served as chilled froth. When the ambassadors of Cortes encountered the Aztec Emperor, he was at the breakfast table shielded by a rich screen. Servants were filing by in endless procession with tempting delicacies. The most frequent (and most favoured) offering was a steaming aromatic drink named "cacahuatl". This beverage was made from water and cacao seeds - so valuable that they were used as currency in parts of Mexico and so costly that only royalty could afford them.
The finest chocolate confectionery, containing pure chocolate liquor, with its remarkable nutritional constituents, is also the most nourishing; in the South African War and World Wars I and II, solid chocolate was issued as standard rations for the troops and given by Queen Victoria as a Christmas gift to all her fighting men.
The first chocolate factory in the United States opened in 1765 in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1805, Conrad Van Houten, a dutch chemist, invented a cacao press that created confections of cocoa butter and sugar. In 1876, Daniel Peter, a Swiss candymaker, developed milk chocolate by adding condensed milk to chocolate liquor, giving it a smoother texture through a process called conching (referring to the shape of the mixing vats).
Cacao (Theobroma cacao), or the cocoa plant, is a small (4–8 m or 15–26 ft tall) evergreen tree in the family Sterculiaceae (alternatively Malvaceae). Native to southern Mexico (Veracruz, Chiapas), Guatemala, Belize; now cultivated pantropically, especially in West Africa, Ceylon, Java.
Cocoa beans are found in the fruit, or pods, of the cacao trees; each nine-inch pod contains 20 to 50 beans. The annual yield per tree is between 20 and 30 fruit pods. When seeds are ripe they rattle in the capsule when shaken; if separated from the capsule they soon become infertile, but if kept therein they retain their fertility for a long time.
After the cacao beans are removed from the fruit, they undergo fermentation, a process that reduces their bitterness and helps develop their heady aroma. After they are dried the beans are ready to be processed into chocolate products.
Any information provided about products on this website, including any links to external websites, is purely intended for historical, scientific and educational purposes and should never be interpreted as a recommendation for a specific use of the products.Back
|Chocolate is a natural product made from the bean of the cacao tree Theobroma cacao. The seeds are dried and roasted and then processed to form cocoa, the basic ingredient in chocolate and chocolate products. When boiled in milk, or milk and water, it is much used as an occasional substitute for coffee, and for a drink at meals. The callets are round drops of chocolate. They are the ideal aid to produce perfectly tempered chocolate quickly and efficiently. They are also the best solution for applications requiring fast melting or the addition of small quantities of chocolate.|