Chocolate - the tree, the texture, the recipes.

* Chocolate recipes. NEW Je'oan D'ark Limoncello Truffles.
* Chocolate Diets: Women's Stress Buster and other Diet recommendations.
* Chocolate History.
* Chocolate science: biology, chemistry, and psychology.
* Glossy chocolate glossary.
* Rosenblum on chocolate. * Alice Medrich on chocolate. * Fran Bigelow on chocolate.

Chocolate Taste Tests:

Chocolate recipes.

Buy 'Death by Chocolate' Death by Chocolate: The Last Word on a Consuming Passion
by Marcel Desaulniers (Author), Michael Grand (Photographer)
Try Dark Chocolate and Pumpkin Cheesecake.
Or Caramel Banana Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.
Or Chocolate Dementia.

More super chocolate recipes.

Chocolate Diets: Women's Stress Buster and other Diet recommendations.

The Women's Stress-Buster Diet.

[Taken from an e-mail that circulated a few years ago. Author, Ms. Anon.]

This is a specially formulated diet designed to help women cope with the stress that builds up during the day.

It is hoped that many people will read this web page and that I will therefore lose those "last 10 pounds".

   1 grapefruit
   1 slice whole-wheat toast
   1 cup skim milk

   small portion lean, steamed chicken with a cup of spinach
   1 cup herbal tea
   1 Hershey kiss

   the rest of the kisses in the bag
   tub of Hagen Daas ice cream with chocolate-chip topping

   4 bottles of wine (red or white)
   2 loaves garlic bread
   1 family size supreme pizza
   3 snickers bars

   whole frozen white chocolate cherry cheesecake 
   (eaten directly from the freezer)


   Send this to four women and you will lose two pounds. 
   Send this to six women and you will lose four pounds.
   Send this to all the women you know or ever knew, and you will lose 10 pounds.
   If you delete this message, you will immediately gain 10 pounds.

The South Beach Diet

And see The South Beach Diet: The Delicious, Doctor-Designed, Foolproof Plan for Fast and Healthy Weight Loss by Arthur Agatston (2003).

Agatston recommends that you

  1. Eat plenty of high-fiber foods, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
  2. Cut out simple carbs to get blood sugar under control and stop the incessant cravings. He is concerned about foods usually seen as healthy, such as orange juice, wheat toast, and carrots. He also cuts bread, rice, pastas, and fruits.
  3. Don't worry unduly about portion size or exercise.

His three stages are:

  1. Stage one: The most restrictive period of the diet lasts just two weeks, when you avoid all carbohydrates and fruit. No bread. No potatoes. No rice or pasta. No bagels, croissants, doughnuts, cookies, or cake. This lets you "stabilize your urges" and lose a few pounds.
  2. Stage two: Add fruits. Pick a few carbs to enjoy within limits. You stay in this stage until you have dropped your weight to your target.
  3. Stage three: (for the rest of your life) add more - see his book. You'll be eating normally now.

Chocolate Taste Test.

Chocolate History.

500 B.C. to 1150 A.D.
The Olmecs (believed to be the first to have cultivated theobroma cacao) thrived in Central America.

The Aztecs, a powerful tribe in Central America when Hermán Cortés led the Spanish invasion, used chocolate for the drink of their king and used chocolate as part of their currency.

Christopher Colombus brought the first cocoa beans back to Europe, but failed to exploit them.

Hermán Cortés sailed from Spain and reached the coast of Yucatán, where he led the Spanish Invasion of the Aztec Empire. Cortés then returned with cocoa to Europe, and was the first to exploit the commercial value in the beans in Europe.

Hermán Cortés conquerored the Aztecs with the capitulation of their capital after a long and blood-thirsty siege.

The first chocolate house opens in London. It advertises chocolate as "this excellent West India drink." In the countries that did accept the drink, it was limited to the wealthy because of its high price. London' elite begin meeting in the chocolate houses.

17th century
The chocolate beverage become the fashionable drink throughout Europe. Some condemn it as an evil drink, adding to its popularity.

Europeans think that chocolate "comforted the liver, aided in digestion and made one happy and strong."

In Britain, Fry and Sons opened as "the first entrepeneurs to pioneer big chocolate in Europe" (Rosenblum).

18th century
Cocoa plantations spread to the tropics in both northern and southern hemispheres. With increased production, the price of cocoa beans falls and chocolate became more generally affordable and popular.

In Britain, the British J. S. Fry and Sons, a chocolate maker, developed eating chocolate. Previously, chocolate was used exclusively for drinking.

In England, the heavy import duties on chocolate were reduced. This encouraged several to start making cocoa and drinking chocolate.

Swiss manufacturers, who have access to huge amounts of milk, add milk to chocolate, creating the first milk chocolate.

Rudolf Lindt added triglyceride cocoa butter. As a result, a bar of chocolate can be snapped and yet it melts in the mouth. Cocoa butter begins to soften at 75°F; it melts at 97°F.

Rudolf Lindt (Swiss) invented the process of conching to make chocolate smooth.

First death by chocolate? Rosenblum reports that Heinrich Stollwerck, from a German family of "big chocolate" and large mechanization, fell into a blending machine he had invented and drowned in chocolate.

Chocolate Science: chemistry and psychology.

Buy 'Chocolate Passion: Recipes and Inspiration from the Kitchens of Chocolatier Magazine' Chocolate Passion: Recipes and Inspiration from the Kitchens of Chocolatier Magazine
by Tish Boyle and Timothy Moriarty
Fifty-four luscious recipes from editors at Chocolatier Magazine
Try Tahitian Vanilla Swirls.
Or Extra Bittersweet Ganache Truffles.
Or Milk Chocolate Mousse Roulade.


  1. Chocolate is made from the seeds of Theobroma cacao, the tropical cacao tree.
  2. Linnaeus, the 17th century Swedish naturalist, named the cacao tree. The Greek term theobroma means "food of the gods".


Chocolate contains:
  1. Anandamide. This is an endogenous cannabinoid present in the brain.

  2. Antioxidants (polyphenols), which can fight cancer and may protect against heart disease. Antioxidants, which absorb free radicals (these can damage cells in the body) prevent fat-like substances from oxidizing and clogging the arteries. It's known that antioxidants come from fruits and vegetables, red wine, and black tea; people that eat antioxidant-rich diets have been found to have lower rates of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

    Antioxidants in dark chocolate and cocoa powder may increase the HDL ("good") cholesterol levels, by up to 10 percent [Penny Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., a registered dietitian at Pennsylvania State University, quoted in ; they also report her previous research (published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1997), which "showed that one of the fats in chocolate, called stearic acid, can boost HDL levels"].

    Heavily processed chocolate has extra oils and sugars, and this dilutes the antioxidants: "while a bar of dark chocolate weighing about 1.5 ounces contains approximately 950 milligrams of antioxidants, a similar bar of milk chocolate contains about only about 400 milligrams. White chocolate is a confection of fat and sugar and contains no antioxidants at all." [As reported at ].

  3. Calories. 50 grams (1.75 oz.) of Trader Joe's dark chocolate contains 230 calories. One of the 12 squares in the bar, then, contains less than 20 calories. A reasonable diet would allow you one such bar per week with one or two squares from it per day.

  4. Flavonoids, which are said to reduce "bad" cholesterol and increase "good" cholesterol. As a result, chocolate can reduce the risk of heart disease, deep-vein thrombosis, and stroke.

    Fresh cocoa beans contain 10,000 milligrams flavonol per 100 grams. Commercial Dove dark chocolate contains about 500 mgm. flavonol per 100 grams, while Cocoapro cocoa powder has slightly under 5,000 per 100 grams - respectively, a twentieth of the amount and a half of the amount of flavonol in fresh cocoa beans.

  5. Glycemic index: low, and so it keeps your blood glucose level relatively stable. Real chocolate has an index of 49. Milk chocolate has an index of 45. [Under 50 is considered low, so we real chocolate just squeaks in.]

  6. Magnesium.

  7. N-oleolethanolamine and N-linoleoylethanolamine, which both inhibit the metabolism of anandamide. (Possibly they prolong the feeling of well-being induced by anandamide.)

  8. Phenylethylamine, which increases the serotonin level in the brain. A surge of phenylethylamine is associated with feelings of bliss.

  9. Phytonutrients, have been linked to the prevention of both cancer and heart disease. These occur in coffee, green tea, and chocolate, as well as fruits and vegetables.

  10. Tetrahydro-beta-carbolines, which are neuroactive alkaloids,

  11. Theobromine, which is a stimulant similar to caffeine, but slightly weaker. You'd have to eat about 10 ounces of chocolate for the same effect as a cup of coffee.

  12. Tryptophan, an essential amino acid.
The Associated Press reported in December 17, 1998 on a study of 7,841 Harvard male graduates, and published in the British Medical Journal. The most successful ate only a little, however: one to three bars a month was associated with a 36% lower risk of death compared with those who did not eat chocolate. The researchers speculated that the antioxidants chocolate may have a health benefit.

In the study, men (average age of 65) were questioned in 1988 about their habits of eating bars of chocolate and "candy" the past year; it excluded other chocolate desserts like cake, sauce, etc.

The men were followed 5 years later, and 514 had died.

Several scientists have expressed suspicion that the lower risk of death is related to other factors, and that a more controlled study is needed.

WARNING: Chocolate contains a compound that can trigger migraines in some people. If you suffer from migraine, you should probably avoid ingesting chocolate.


  1. Chocolate is a psychoactive food.
  2. For example, its contribution of tryptophan can enhance production of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which diminishes anxiety.
  3. Its contribution of phenylethylamine can increase the release of dopamine in the mesolimbic pleasure-centers.

Chocolate Glossary

In the early 19th century, Dutchman Coenraad Johannes van Houten discovered that he could neutralized the acid taste of cocoa by adding alkali-potash to the nibs before roasting them. Industrial chocolate makers use this alkalization process to soften the flavor. Also called the Dutch process.

A powerful tribe in Central America when Hermán Cortés led the Spanish invasion. They used chocolate as part of their currency. See also Los Aztecas: sus números, sus días y sus dioses.

A cocoa bean is the seed of the pod of the Theobroma tree. The beans are cracked open to obtain the nibs.

Bitter Chocolate
A dark chocolate, made from chocolate liquid which has been cooled and molded into blocks. In the USA, the FDA requires it not to contain any sugar. Astonishingly (and hypocritically) it may contain natural or artificial flavoring. Usually it contains about 85% chocolate liquor. This chocolate is intended for cooking.

Bittersweet Chocolate
A slightly sweetened dark chocolate; in the USA, the FDA requires it to contain a minimum of 35% chocolate liquor. Usually, however, this name is reserved for chocolate with a minimum of 50% chocolate liquor. Used primarily for baking, from chocolate curls to dense death-by-chocolate cakes.

Different from unsweetened chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate

After beans roasting and before they are conching, different beans may be mixed to adjust flavor.

See fat bloom and sugar bloom

A cacao tree or its unprocessed pods. Pods that have a higher 'cacao content' have a more intense chocolate flavor and lower sugar.

Ground nibs mixed with sugar and vanilla.

Chocolate liquor
The nibs of the cacao bean finely ground into a smooth, liquid state. Although called "liquor", it does not contain alcohol. As it has not been sweetened it is not yet chocolate technically. Also called unsweetened chocolate. Some European chocolate labels identify it as Pate de Cacao.

A shop or person that creates and sells chocolates.

Someone who knows that a day without chocolate is like a strawberry without cream, spring without tulips, night without stars.

Cocoa Powder
Cocoa solids pulverized and sifted after the cocoa butter is pressed out of the chocolate liquor. Unsweetened.

Cocoa butter
A fat in cocoa beans, obtained by pressing the chocolate liquor or unsweetened chocolate of the cocoa bean into a smooth and liquid state. A bean is approximately 50% cocoa butter, which is firm at room temperature. The butter is a hard fat made up mostly of triglycerides.

A patented process for cocoa owned by the Mars chocolate company and used in the some of its chocolate products, including the Dove dark chocolate bar (see

Not a home-improvement product, but a "not really chocolate" blend of sugar, vegetable oil, cocoa powder and other components such as sorbitol or xylitol. Vegetable oil (replacing cocoa butter) reduces costs, and causes the coating to melt easily and then harden quickly. Also, in such chocolate-flavored compounds, milk is replaced by whey powders, whey derivatives, and dairy blends that are not allowed in milk chocolate.

Thus, it is a "chocolate-flavored candy", not a real chocolate. Also called confectionery coating or Decorator's Chocolate.

Rudolf Lindt (Swiss) invented the process of conching in 1880. He pummeled the chocolate between granite rollers for up to a week. The temperature is held at 126 to 186 degrees. The longer the chocolate is conched: The machines he designed to perform this action contain rollers shaped like conches.

Confectionery coating
Another "not really chocolate" product: a blend of sugar, vegetable oil, cocoa powder and other products. Vegetable oil (replacing cocoa butter) reduces costs, and causes the coating to melt easily and then harden quickly. It is a "chocolate-flavored candy", not a real chocolate. Also called compound (which sounds like a home-improvement product) or Decorator's Chocolate.

High-quality chocolate with good bean quality, fine particle size of ground bean, and at least 36% cocoa butter.

Used as a professional-quality coating chocolate: due to the extra cocoa butter, the chocolate can form a thinner coating shell than non-couverture chocolate.

The richest and most fragrant of the cacaos, and the most expensive and fragile. Grown especially in Central America, Venezuela, and Indonesia. Fragile; goes into 1% of all chocolate.

Dark chocolate
Europeans define this to contain a minimum of 43% cocoa. The better European chocolate bars list their percentage clearly. A "70% cocoa chocolate" is considered quite dark. "85%" or more is quite popular among lovers of dark chocolate.

Dutch-Process cocoa powder
Removes some bitterness from cocoa through treatment with alkali. However, this can remove complexities from the flavor. Also, conventional and Dutch Process chocolate have difference in pH (acidity) values, which means that you should stick to which ever is called for in the recipe (especially if it uses baking powder or baking soda).

Enrobed chocolate
A chocolates-making technique where the center of a chocolate is covered it with a layer of outer chocolate by (1) dipping the chocolate center by hand in liquid chocolate or (2) pouring liquid chocolate over it. (Contrast with molded chocolate.) The covering layer should have been tempered.

Fast Chocolate
Chantal Coady defines fast chocolate as containing less than 5 percent cocoa, and where the other ingredients are mostly "sugar, solid hydrogenated vegetable fats, nut oils, and a host of artificial flavorings. ... Use of fat other than cocoa butter is ... unacceptable." Coady co-founded the Chocolate Society.

Fat bloom
A white cast that sometimes appears on the surface of the chocolate. This is cocoa butter, and it separates slightly because of poor tempering or exposure of the chocolate to excessive heat or cold. The product, while not pretty, is safe to eat.

Contrast with sugar bloom.

Cocoa butter can solidify into different crystalline forms at different temperatures. Therefore untempered chocolate may develop a white film if it has changes in temperature. Sometimes the chocolate becomes crumbly. While bloom is unwanted, it is not harmful: chocolate with bloom is still safe to eat.

FDA standards
The USA FDA specifies that all semisweet chocolate and bittersweet chocolate chocolate contains at least 35% chocolate. This is significantly less than the percentage in Real Chocolate.
The FDA specifies that sweet chocolate need contains only 15% chocolate.
The FDA specifies that milk chocolate need contains only 10% chocolate.

After harvesting and before roasting, the beans and pulp emptied from the pods are fermented in the natural tropical heat (i.e., not in an oven, for the best chocolate).
Fermentation takes 2 or 3 days, and during this period the flavors and aromas of chocolates develop. The beans turn from violet to brown. European chocolate (and European-style chocolate) is roasted at lower temperatures

French word for dark chocolate.

Most chocolate worldwide is made from forastero beans, grown especially in Brazil and West Africa. It is the most disease-resistant and high yielding of the cacaos. However, its beans tend to have a rough and harsh taste, and be less flavorful than other types of beans. May have been the first variety to appear.

Particle size.

A silky emulsion of chopped semisweet chocolate with heated cream and butter. Also called truffle. Sometimes the butter is omitted. It is even possible to omit the cream.

It is used to glaze cakes, or fluffed and used as fillings for truffles. It is made by mixing, then stirring until smooth.

The mechanical process of pulverizing the roasted cocoa bean nib into the smooth liquid chocolate liquor.

Hermán Cortés
Sailed from Spain in 1519, reaching the coast of Yucatán, where he led the Spanish Invasion of the Aztec Empire. Took cocoa to Europe successfully.

Earlier (in 1502-1504) Christopher Columbus brought the first cocoa beans back to Europe, but failed to exploit them. So it was Cortés who first exploited in Europe the commercial value in the beans.

A natural thinning emulsifier extracted from soy beans; added to chocolate to reduce its viscosity (increasing its ability to flow when molten).

A sugar substitute based on a Malt extract. Allows chocolate to keep a sweet taste without sugar. A popular sugar substitute in many chocolate couvertures, such as in Belgian chocolate sugar-free products.

A thick paste made by blending melted sugar and ground almonds. Marzipan can be covered by a shell of milk, white or dark chocolate. The Lubecker method uses only pure almonds and sugar, to achieve the richest almond taste.

Classical Maya culture 250-900 C.E.

milk chocolate
Chocolate with at least 10% chocolate liquor and 12% milk solids (and/or milk or cream - condensed milk in Switzerland), combined with sugar, cocoa butter, and vanilla; lecithin may be added.

Quality milk chocolate contains at least 33% chocolate liquor.

molded chocolate
A chocolates-making technique where the chocolate is placed in molds, which results in a molded chocolate "shell". This shell is filled with one or several fillings and then it is sealed with another layer of chocolate. (Contrast with enrobed chocolate.)

Spicy; developed in Ecuador as a 'better' forastero.

The kernel (center) of the cacao bean. Without this, chocolate does not exist. After roasting, the beans are cracked open. The husks are removed by winnowing. What remains are the nibs, the essence of chocolate.

Some products add these dark and rich nibs to add texture to chocolate bars or desserts.

But most of the nibs are ground and heated. Their high fat content makes them readily liquefied, converting them to a chocolate liquor. Half of this is cocoa butter, which is melted and separated out. The other half, which more readily solidifies, is what can be ground up and used as cocoa powder. Now the chocolate is ready for conching.

Sugar is heated until it caramelizes. Then finely crushed roasted hazelnuts (or sometimes almonds) are mixed in. The resulting paste is cooled then rolled and crushed to small pieces. A filling in chocolates.

From 500 B.C. to 1150 A.D., the Olmecs thrived. Believed to be the first to have cultivated theobroma cacao.

Organic chocolate has a minimum of 95% organic (naturally grown and certified) raw material.

The cocoa pod is the fruit of the theobroma cacao is egg-shaped, 6 to 12 inches (15 and 30 centimeters) long. They hang from the trunk itself as well as the largest branches. One fruit pod contains 30 to 40 beans, each of about 0.5 inches (1 centimeters) in length.

Chocolate to which has been added: caramelized sugar; well-roasted, finely-ground hazelnuts (or almonds); and vanilla.

Press cake
Remains after cocoa butter has been pressed from the chocolate liquor. Pulverized to make cocoa powder.

Real Chocolate
Chantal Coady defines real chocolate as " best-quality bittersweet chocolate with minimum 60 percent cocoa liquor". See her Five Senses Chocolate Test to learn how to recognize quality chocolate.
Buy 'Real Chocolate : Sweet and Savory Recipes for Nature's Purest Form of Bliss' Real Chocolate : Sweet and Savory Recipes for Nature's Purest Form of Bliss
Real chocolate advocate Chantal Coady specifies simply that real chocolate is made with all-natural ingredients, without over-sweetened additive and addition of non-cocoa fats. The heart of the book has 50 delicious recipes arranged in 3 chapters: (1) Savory Chocolate; (2) Desserts and Drinks; and (3) Cookies, Cakes, and Breads. Try her Dark Chocolate and Cherry Crème Brûlée,

After fermentation, the beans are roasted. European chocolate (and European-style chocolate) is roasted at lower temperatures and for longer than is American chocolate. The longer roasting of for American chocolate makes the chocolate bitter, and so it then has to be masked heavily with sugar and (sadly) corn syrup.

Semisweet Chocolate
A sweetened dark chocolate; the USA FDA requires it to contain a minimum of 35% chocolate liquor. Different from unsweetened chocolate and bittersweet chocolate

To prepare it, blend chocolate liquid with sweetening and added cocoa butter. Optionally include flavorings. Cool after processing. Semisweet chocolate is primarily available in pieces (blocs, squares, etc.), and is also available in bars.

Sugar bloom
The product, while not pretty, is safe to eat.

Contrast with Fat bloom. Do not allow condensation on the surface of chocolate. It combines with sugars to create a syrup. When the moisture evaporates, the sugars recrystallize in dry and hard crystals that speckle on the surface. This can happen if cold chocolate is exposed to warm and humid air. An un-posh visual and textural defect. Unless you are a terrible snob, close your eyes or eat it by candle-light - it still tastes great.

Sweet Chocolate
A sweetened dark chocolate with a minimum of 15% chocolate liquor. Different from unsweetened chocolate and bittersweet chocolate and semisweet chocolate.

To prepare it, blend chocolate liquid with sweetening and added cocoa butter. Optionally include flavorings. Cool after processing. Sweet chocolate is primarily available in bars.

Chocolate is tempered by heating and then cooling it in a certain way to create a lustrous shine and to avoid the appearance of fat bloom. If successfully tempered, the chocolate solidifies with a stable cocoa butter crystal form.

When chocolate is melted at the normal temperature (between 40 and 45°C) and then cooled, the result does not have a gloss. Chantal Coady advises heating bittersweet chocolate and semisweet chocolate at 136°F to 142°F, and milk chocolate and white chocolate at 116°F to 126°F. Then you pour a portion (between a third and three-quarters!) of the chocolate onto a marble slab, where you spread it and work it till it thickens and cools to about 80°F. Recombine the portions of the chocolate and continue to cool your chocolate uniformly. A great deal has to be attended to during the cooling to ensure that you get the desired gloss, so see her book for clear instructions.

Theobroma cacao
An evergreen tree whose fruit lets us make chocolate, the food of gods. The genus name, Theobroma, is derived from the ancient Greek for "god" (theo) and "food" (broma). Native of tropical Amazon forests. Now grown commercially worldwide, in tropical rainforests within 20° latitude of the equator. The tree is in blossom permanently, and has fruit at various stages of development.

Has a greater flavor than forastero, and often blended with it to enhance its flavor. Grown especially in Central America. A hybrid; in 10% of chocolate; thrived in Trinidad after the early-1700s Caribbean calamity.

An irregularly shaped confection of ganache, coated with chocolate. Some are irregular, some are smooth. Some are dusted with cocoa powder.

Unsweetened chocolate
The ground up nib of the cocoa bean. When in a liquid state this is chocolate liquor. The liquor is cooled and molded into blocks. This is the best type for baking or cooking. Also called Bitter Chocolate.

Flavor often added to chocolate; derived from the cured pod ('vanilla bean') of a tropical orchid.

White chocolate
Made from cocoa butter, milk solids, sugar, and vanilla; it often includes lecithin also. For good quality, it should have at least 32% cocoa butter. Critics and fuss-budgets hold that this is not, actually, chocolate as it does not contain cocoa solids or chocolate liquor.

Without cocoa butter, the product is a confectionery but is not white chocolate.

witches' broom fungus
A huge problem for cocoa farmers, this fungus has blighted Brazil's cacao industry.

From the health point of view, if has few of the benefits of dark chocolate, and so the latter is preferred for those on a chocolate-using diet.

The name used by the Aztecs, Toltecs, Mayas, and Incas for the drink they brewed from cocoa beans. They mixed cocoa and maize with water.