Discover Germany | Issue 20 | November 2014

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the beans will be dried and made ready for transport to Europe. The indigenous tribes of the Andes were the first to plant cocoa trees, first the Olmecs, later the Maya who not only used the pods to eat but also the beans to brew a drink with hot water. Cocoa beans also became a currency in trade even though the taste of cocoa was reserved for the elites. The conquistadores brought cocoa to Europe and chocolate became famous at courts. With industrialisation, the chocolate business all over Europe changed when chocolate for the first time was produced in big machines. Dairy free milk chocolate In chocolate factories or little manufactories that produce excellent chocolate the cocoa beans get a new identity. Roasted and broken into pieces the beans are ground until they melt on their own.To get a better quality the raw chocolate mass is processed further until it achieves its softness and smoothness. Today even vegans who go without any dairy products or people with lactose intolerance can enjoy every kind of chocolate –

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not only the naturally dark one that is made only from cocoa and cocoa butter and have cocoa concentration of 70 to 90 per cent. There is even milk chocolate without dairy milk – these chocolates use soy or – even better tasting – rice milk as a substitute. Small manufacturers in particular sell excellent chocolate and handmade pralines. And when thinking of social responsibility one could consider buying fair trade chocolate instead of cheap, not even very good tasting chocolate from the supermarket. To buy fair-trade, locally and handmade chocolate is rather more expensive but this exclusivity sometimes means: it tastes far better, there are more interesting flavours, the chocolate is more creamy and of course one can make sure the chocolate is produced under fair labour conditions. After all, one is well advised not to overindulge. To keep in shape the motto should be‘quality instead of quantity’. A good tasting medicine – in the right dose And in the end with chocolate it is like every good medicine: it is the dose that makes the poison. Dark chocolate, especially when consumed in moderation, has a positive effect on blood pressure.Too much

chocolate… one only has to think of the calories. Last but not least: chocolate is good for the psyche. It produces happiness. Or as the German chemist Justus von Liebig – who was involved in inventing the baking powder – put it: “Chocolate is a perfect food, as wholesome as it is delicious, a beneficent restorer of exhausted power… it is the best friend of those engaged in literary pursuits.”

Above left: Defile SDC Lille © Salon du Chocolat, Sebastien Gras Top right: Dounia Coesens - Sebastien Bouillet 4 © Salon du Chocolat, Thomas Raffoux Below: Shoe © Salon du Chocolat