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Chocolate is a name given to products that are derived from cocoa which are then mixed with some sort of fat (e.g. cocoa butter, oil) and finely powdered sugar to produce a solid edible product. To make chocolate, the cocoa bean is roasted and shelled, leaving only the nibs, or centres .It exists in several types according to the proportion of ingredients used in a particular recipe. Chocolate comprises a number of raw and processed foods produced from the seed of the tropical cacao tree. Much of the chocolate consumed today is in the form of sweet chocolate, combining chocolate with sugar. Chocolate has become one of the most popular flavors in the world. Gifts of chocolate molded into different shapes have become traditional on certain holidays: chocolate bunnies and eggs are popular on Easter, chocolate coins on Hanukkah, Santa Claus and other holiday symbols on Christmas, and hearts on Valentine's Day. Pure, unsweetened chocolate contains primarily cocoa solids and cocoa butter in varying proportions.
How to select
There are many fine chocolate boutique, cafés and brands springing up all the time in cities around the world. When tasting a chocolate for the first time, buy from a source you know is fresh. When buying from a local supermarket always check the dates. Chocolate does not simply "expire" on the date and can last for a few years from the time it was made if properly stored - it is still edible and perfectly good for baking and eating for months or a year or more past the date.
· Chocolate is also used in cold and hot beverages, to produce chocolate milk and hot chocolate
· When included as a cooking ingredient in cakes, desserts, sauces etc. they add a touch of real chocolatey flavor.
· Chocolate is best used in conjunction with other ingredients and used to make tasty treats such a chocolate cookies, muffins and chocolate mousses.
· Chocolate is the best option for use in cooking as it gives the chef greater control over the consistency and sweetness of the dish.
How to store
Store chocolates in plastic wrappings in refrigerator.
· Chocolate contains alkaloids such as theobromine and phenethylamine, which have physiological effects on the body.
· It has been linked to serotonin levels in the brain. Scientists claim that chocolate, eaten in moderation, can lower blood pressure.
· Dark chocolate has recently been promoted for its health benefits, including a substantial amount of antioxidants that reduce the formation of free radicals