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**Historical Development of Chocolate:**
– Cocoa originated from the Olmecs as ‘kakawa’ around 1000 BC.
– The term ‘chocolate’ came from Spanish in the 1600s.
– Mesoamerican civilizations like the Olmec, Maya, and Aztecs were early consumers of chocolate.
– Cocoa beans were used as currency and tribute payments in Mesoamerica.
– Chocolate was introduced to Europe in the 17th century and became popular among European nobility.
– Industrialization of chocolate production began in the 18th century, leading to mass-produced chocolate bars.
– Notable chocolate companies like Cadbury and Rowntrees emerged in the 19th and 20th centuries.

**Types and Production of Chocolate:**
– Types of chocolate include dark, milk, white, raw, ruby, and gianduja.
– Various forms of chocolate like baking chocolate, couverture chocolate, compound chocolate, and modeling chocolate are used in baking and confectionery.
– Roughly two-thirds of the world’s cocoa is produced in West Africa, with Côte d’Ivoire being the largest producer.
– Genome sequencing aims to improve cacao plant yields and resilience.
– Main cocoa bean varieties are criollo, forastero, and trinitario, grown within specific climates near the equator.

**Chocolate Production Techniques:**
– Conching refines and blends chocolate mass to determine its smoothness and quality.
– Tempering controls cocoa butter crystallization for a uniform sheen and crisp bite.
– Chocolate is molded into various shapes like bars, chips, wafers, and couverture for different uses.
– High-quality chocolate contains at least 70% cocoa, with variations in cocoa content based on type.
– Regulations govern chocolate ingredients and labeling to ensure quality and authenticity.

**Nutritional and Health Aspects of Chocolate:**
– Chocolate provides essential nutrients like riboflavin, vitamin B12, manganese, and various minerals.
– It contains polyphenols, flavan-3-ols, theobromine, and caffeine, which have potential health effects.
– Concerns about lead and cadmium levels in chocolate products exist, with regulations in place to address them.
Caffeine content in chocolate varies based on the type and processing methods.
– Proper storage conditions are crucial to prevent blooming effects and maintain chocolate quality.

**Innovations and Modern Trends in Chocolate Industry:**
– Innovations like alkaline salts, conching machines, and milk chocolate creation have transformed chocolate production.
– Chocolate companies continue to evolve, with a focus on quality, mass production, and diverse product offerings.
– Ongoing research and collaborations aim to enhance cacao plant resilience and address environmental challenges.
– The chocolate industry is dynamic, with continuous advancements in production techniques, flavors, and sustainability practices.
– Modern trends in chocolate consumption and preferences drive innovation and market growth in the industry.

Chocolate (Wikipedia)

Chocolate or cocoa is a food made from roasted and ground cacao seed kernels that is available as a liquid, solid, or paste, either on its own or as a flavoring agent in other foods. Cacao has been consumed in some form for at least 5,300 years starting with the Mayo-Chinchipe culture in what is present-day Ecuador and later Mesoamerican civilizations also consumed chocolate beverages before being introduced to Europe in the 16th century.

Chocolate in its most common forms: powder and bars
Region or stateMesoamerica
Main ingredientsCocoa bean
VariationsChocolate liquor, cocoa butter, cocoa solids, solid chocolate

The seeds of the cacao tree have an intense bitter taste and must be fermented to develop the flavor. After fermentation, the seeds are dried, cleaned, and roasted. The shell is removed to produce cocoa nibs, which are then ground to cocoa mass, unadulterated chocolate in rough form. Once the cocoa mass is liquefied by heating, it is called chocolate liquor. The liquor may also be cooled and processed into its two components: cocoa solids and cocoa butter. Baking chocolate, also called bitter chocolate, contains cocoa solids and cocoa butter in varying proportions without any added sugar. Powdered baking cocoa, which contains more fiber than cocoa butter, can be processed with alkali to produce Dutch cocoa. Much of the chocolate consumed today is in the form of sweet chocolate, a combination of cocoa solids, cocoa butter, or added vegetable oils and sugar. Milk chocolate is sweet chocolate that additionally contains milk powder or condensed milk. White chocolate contains cocoa butter, sugar, and milk, but no cocoa solids.

Chocolate is one of the most popular food types and flavors in the world, and many foodstuffs involving chocolate exist, particularly desserts, including cakes, pudding, mousse, chocolate brownies, and chocolate chip cookies. Many candies are filled with or coated with sweetened chocolate. Chocolate bars, either made of solid chocolate or other ingredients coated in chocolate, are eaten as snacks. Gifts of chocolate molded into different shapes (such as eggs, hearts, and coins) are traditional on certain Western holidays, including Christmas, Easter, Valentine's Day, and Hanukkah. Chocolate is also used in cold and hot beverages, such as chocolate milk and hot chocolate, and in some alcoholic drinks, such as creme de cacao.

Although cocoa originated in the Americas, West African countries, particularly Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana, are the leading producers of cocoa in the 21st century, accounting for some 60% of the world cocoa supply.

With some two million children involved in the farming of cocoa in West Africa, child slavery and trafficking associated with the cocoa trade remain major concerns. A 2018 report argued that international attempts to improve conditions for children were doomed to failure because of persistent poverty, the absence of schools, increasing world cocoa demand, more intensive farming of cocoa, and continued exploitation of child labor.

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