How science is making chocolate taste even better
Updated: Jul 19
Picture Credit:Pablo Merchán Montes
Chocolate is more than simply a food. It is a therapy, calling up images of opulence, sweetness, and sensuality since childhood .World Chocolate Day on the 7th of July, will serve as a reminder to honor the modest cocoa bean in all of its delicious forms. The BBC has conducted extensive research on the cocoa bean producing environment and has discovered, the scientifically proven procedures to manufacture cocoa beans.
According to BBC, Nottingham-based artisan chocolatier, Luisa Vicinanza-Bedi is the creator of Luisa's Vegan Chocolates. A large portion of the chocolate that is consumed is created from a blend of cocoa from several farms, regions, or nations. According to her, the use of a single bean variety, from a single farm, gives the chocolate a distinctive flavor. She invents new techniques that can affect cocoa flavor at the molecular level to get the most out of each harvest and produce a consistent quality.
Traditional methods for fermenting cocoa beans involve piling or placing the pulp-covered beans in baskets, wrapping them with banana or plantain leaves, and allowing them to warm up in the sun. The pulp covering the beans is deteriorated by environmental microbes and the beans are then dried outside in the sun on mats. Poorly fermented cocoa beans yield minimal flavor, whereas beans that have been overly fermented have an acidic flavor. The "moist incubation" method of fermenting, created by Prof. Chetschik and her colleagues, involves drying cocoa beans first and then adding a lactic acid solution containing ethanol. She claims that although it is much simpler to regulate, this causes the same reactions in the beans.
Around six million cocoa farmers are employed worldwide, and about 95 percent of cocoa is farmed on modest, family-run farms. Increasing profits in the industry do not reach cocoa producers, due to low yield and insufficient power, and many farmers experience persistent poverty. The cocoa value chain remains unequally split and millions of smallholder cocoa growers are underpaid, while a selected few large corporations generate enormous profits. Farmers that grow cocoa are also vulnerable to changing weather patterns. According to Fairtrade International, climate change will cause a sharp decline in the amount of land suitable for cocoa production in the near future.
Picture Credit :Bake Magazine Website
Ms. Adarme is working with Nottingham University and Luisa's Vegan Chocolates on a project to enhance the flavor and cost of their beans. The bacteria fermenting on cocoa beans can be examined by researchers and farmers, using portable DNA sequencing devices. Then the farmers are advised to maximize their cocoa for the premium market utilizing this data. The beans that Ms. Adarme had gathered were sent to Luisa's Vegan Chocolates to be turned into single- origin bars.
According to Dr. David Goupaulchan, growing cocoa is an extremely risky business. A lot can change in yields from one year to the next, depending on the weather, pests, and illnesses. According to him, fermentation has a significant influence on the flavor and quality of cocoa. These processes are still mostly uncontrolled. As a result, farms' quality varies greatly from one another. He explains that increased process knowledge will lead to better chocolates for consumers and higher pricing for farmers. Science is employed in order to modernize and revitalize the cocoa sector and provide sustainable livelihoods for all.
BBC states that, in order to minimize the amount of additional processing or additions required for the cocoa, following fermentation, Professor Chetschik works to maximize the potential of the raw materials in Switzerland. Cocoa has a fantastic flavor and there are so many chemicals that affect the flavor, and furthermore, she claims that there are already far too many flavor-active molecules existing and additional molecules are not required. Despite having a negative reputation for inducing weight gain, this delightful dessert may have several health advantages, and sending it as a gift for a birthday, Christmas, or Mother's Day is always cherished.
Picture Credit:Rodrigo Flores
July 15th 2022| 10:00 AM