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MANILA, Philippines - There’s more to eating chocolate than simply opening the wrapper and scarfing it down.
Ancient civilizations like the Aztecs used cacao beans (from which chocolate is made) as a currency; this should tell us that chocolate deserves a bit more attention.
“Chocolate, for me, is not just a dessert ingredient,” Makati Shangri-La's executive pastry chef Anthony Collar told Rappler at the Magnum Ice Cream event last February 19.
The chef waxed poetic: “For me, chocolate is gorgeous, luxurious, and seductive — some people even say it’s addictive.”
According to Chef Anthony, the first thing one should do after purchasing chocolate “is not to put the bar in the fridge. I don’t understand people who do that.”
He added, "When you buy a chocolate bar in a supermarket, for example, it’s not placed in a fridge. It’s always at room temperature because it’s supposed to be eaten at that temperature. When you place it in the fridge, you just spoil a premium product.”
Simply storing chocolate in a cool area away from direct sunlight will suffice. The reason, according to Chef Anthony, is that “at room temperature the chocolate starts to release all its aromas. If you take a chocolate bar from the fridge, you can’t smell it; you don’t get to appreciate it fully.
"But when the chocolate is warm it will give off more flavor.” This is even before you put it in your mouth.
After opening, don't rush with eating the chocolate. “Once you put it in your mouth, don’t bite through it yet.” Let it melt through the warmth of your mouth and “roll your tongue around it while breathing in to get all the flavors it gives off.”
It is at this step where one can start to distinguish the subtle flavors of coffee, cinnamon, caramel, and other subtleties. “Then finish it off. It’s just like drinking wine; you don’t just swallow it. You slosh it around your mouth to get all the flavors before you swallow it. Chocolate is the same,” said Chef Anthony.
When choosing chocolate, go for dark or milk chocolate, he advised. “Depending on the chocolate, a lot of varieties have anti-oxidants in them. Dark chocolate is better because there is a higher concentration of cacao after it is grounded from the cocoa beans. It’s the same thing when you eat high-fiber bread compared to white bread.”
White chocolate, according to Chef Anthony, is the least nutritious. Contrary to its name, “it’s not really chocolate because there’s no cacao in it. It’s only coco butter, sugar, and milk; it’s pure fat all the way through.”
As for chocolate pairing, Chef Anthony said that “it should be paired with something else to enhance the flavor and give you that unique taste.
"Dark chocolate pairs very well with 'heavier things' like whisky and cognac. Milk chocolate, meanwhile, tends to pair better with milk products like milk tea, Baileys, and other creamy items.”
Still, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with eating a chocolate bar all by itself “as long as it’s pure and natural chocolate made with the finest cocoa beans and the best cocoa butter."
Just enjoy a piece of chocolate at the end of the night with a glass of water or a cup of tea. There’s absolutely no problem with that. Eat chocolate in small portions.
"It’s an indulgence in itself,” said Chef Anthony. - Rappler.com
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