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The Chocolate Fantasy

Chocolate is produced from the beans of the cacao tree, which originated in South America, and now grows in Africa, the West Indies, the tropical parts of America, and the Far West. Used as the main ingredient in numerous recipes, chocolate constitutes one of the most loved materials known in today's food world. Children and adults both appreciate chocolate's unique aroma, taste, color and texture and prefer it in comparison to other foods.

The cacao beans, from which chocolate is produced, are large pods -once harvested, both the pulp from the pods and the bean are allowed to ferment in the sun. The pulp evaporates and the bean develops its chocolaty flavor. Later, the outer skin is removed and the beans are left in the sun for a little longer or roasted. Finally they are shelled and the kennels are used for making cocoa and chocolate.

Chocolate once purchased has to be stored in a cool, dry place, away from heat or direct sunlight. Most chocolate can be stored for about a year. When it is stored in the refrigerator or freezer, chocolate can last even longer, but one should be careful with its wrapping as it might pick up flavors from other foods if not properly handled.

If you enjoy using chocolate in your meals, you have to be aware that it should not be melted over direct heat, except when melted with other ingredients, and even then heat should be very low. For easily melting chocolate, begin by breaking it into smaller equal-sized pieces (chunks) of chocolate and placing them into a heat-proof bowl or pot. Then you should place the bowl or pot over a pan of hot water, making sure the base of the bowl is not in direct contact with the boiling water. Once the chocolate starts to melt, stir gently and if necessary leave over the water a little longer. No drops of water or steam should come into contact with the melted chocolate at any time as it will solidify.

After your chocolate is melted, you can use it to create anything, from chocolate cookies and treats to cakes and beautiful decorations. Keep in mind that chocolate sets best at 65oF although it will set, more slowly, in a slightly hotter room. Finally, be careful when you place chocolate into the refrigerator especially after the melting process as it might develop a white bloom.

Submitted by:

Kadence Buchanan

Kadence Buchanan writes articles for http://inutritioncentral.com/ - In addition, Kadence also writes articles for http://foodandourlives.com/ and http://universeofbeauty.net/.


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