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Chocolate: History, Culture, and Heritage.

12 Sep

Metate 

A metate is a flat, or slightly concave, stone slab used in conjunction with a mano (hand stone) for grinding grain and other material into powder or paste.

Chapter 46

Authors: Rodney Snyder, Bradley Foliart Olsen, Laura Ann Brindle

Title: From Stone Metates to Steel Mills: The Evolution of Chocolate Manufacturing.

This chapter provides a timeline detailing the sequential developments of the processing of cocoa into chocolate. It explores the relationship between processing cocoa using equipment common with the processing of other foods and the development of specialized cocoa processing equipment. As chocolate manufacture spread from the old world to the new world and back again, differences and advances in technology were adapted to improve process efficiencies. These process changes also had an effect on the flavor, texture, and product form of the chocolate. As an example, the cocoa butter press patent of Van Houten focused on improving the solubility of cocoa in water by removing a portion of the non-soluble cocoa butter. This resulted in a different flavor and texture of the chocolate drink. More importantly but unrealized at the time, the excess cocoa butter by-product ultimately resulted in the decline of chocolate as a drink. Once it was discovered that adding extra cocoa butter to chocolate could produce a solid form of eating chocolate, the foundation was set for chocolate to transition from the limited consumption of drinking chocolate to the universal popularity of eating solid chocolate. The exponential increase in the popularity of eating chocolate can be traced to the discovery of the beneficial effects of conching by Rudolphe Lindt. Lindt successfully protected his technology to produce smooth “fondant” chocolate for over twenty years. Once the process was made public, innovations and improvements to the technology have continued to the present day. Chocolate, in all of its current forms, can be traced back to the innovations of Van Houten and Lindt.

Chapter 47

Authors: Laura Ann Brindle and Bradley Foliart Olsen

Title: The Dark World of “Dirty” Chocolate.

Gold, silver, and cacao beans/chocolate: three commodities that have been highly valued throughout history. History also reveals that when the value of a specific item or good increases beyond ‘x’ limits, human nature is such that unethical behavior commonly follows on the part of merchants and product-related crime commonly rises. As the value of processed chocolate increased during the 18th through 19th centuries, unethical suppliers, manufacturers, and merchants diluted and thereby “extended” their finished products through addition of a wide range of adulterates, among them: brick dust, chalk, lead (red), as well as potato-, rice-, and sago-starch. Because cocoa butter was highly prized and expensive, it was not unexpected that unscrupulous merchants extracted the valuable cocoa butter during the chocolate manufacturing process and then re-added or substituted to the de-fatted cocoa products such as: mutton suet, paraffin, various vegetable oils, even tallow. Adulteration of finished chocolate became so widely practiced in North America that honest merchants—to maintain customer loyalty—began branding their products as “warranted pure.” Export to India of North American adulterated chocolate resulted in a “caution” issued by local port authorities. A notable no less than Sylvester Graham condemned chocolate as being a “vile indigestible substance” in part due to its unreliable composition. Consumer and ultimately governmental response to such widespread adulteration of food ultimately led to the formulation of 19th century Pure Food and Drug Laws in Europe and North America. Manufacturing and product identity lie tangentially in the realm of technical development and legal patent law. This section will provide patent-related information at different stages of chocolate history, and conclude with the debate on what constitutes and defines chocolate—product identity definitions—that facilitate or hinder the free trade of chocolate-related products. In essence: why is it possible in certain countries to call a product “white chocolate” when “white chocolate” is not chocolate?

 
Text: From the Historic Division of MARS Incorporated
 
 

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