October 14, 2014 § Leave a comment
It’s chocolate week this week – a time when you actually have an excuse for indulging!
And at the same time, Ireland are enjoying maths week . . . maybe a less pleasurable experience for most people!
So, let’s mix it together and take a look at the importance of maths in chocolate.
The percentages on the front of chocolate bars refer to weight: they refer to how much of the total weight of the chocolate bar is made up of actual cocoa bean products. By cocoa bean products, we mean cocoa butter and cocoa solids. So, “70% cocoa” means that 70% of the weight of the chocolate bar is made up of cocoa bean products, while the rest is mostly sugar (yikes!) with a touch of vanilla, lecithin (this makes it smooth and creamy) and milk solids if it’s milk chocolate or white chocolate.
A typical cocoa bean is made up of 54 percent cocoa butter and 46 percent cocoa solids (the solids are often ground down and used to make cocoa powder). Different amounts of the cocoa butter and cocoa solids will be used depending on what type of chocolate you eat. White chocolate, for instance, contains cocoa butter without the cocoa solids.
So, as you sit back and tuck in to a chocolate-y treat, spare a thought for those clever chocolatiers who have mixed the right percentages together to make it!