Chocolate is the "food of the gods,” a sweet treat for many across the world, and a booming industry worth an estimated $110 billion a year. But as we unwrap a favorite bar or tuck into a truffle, how many of us take the time to think about where it came from, and who helped in its transformation from the humble cocoa bean?
America's Test Kitchen is a real 2,500 square foot test kitchen located just outside of Boston that is home to more than three dozen full-time cooks and product testers. Our mission is simple: to develop the absolute best recipes for all of your favorite foods. To do this, we test each recipe 30, 40, sometimes as many as 70 times, until we arrive at the combination of ingredients, technique, temperature, cooking time, and equipment that yields the best, most-foolproof recipe. America’s Test Kitchen's online cooking school is based on nearly 20 years of test kitchen work in our own facility, on the recipes created for Cook's Illustrated magazine, and on our two public television cooking shows.
All chocolate starts with the cacao bean. From there, different processing, flavorings, ingredients, and percentages of cocoa solids and cocoa butter can produce chocolate of all sorts. Here’s a sampler of 12.
The concepts of eating ethically and watching where our food comes from have become hot topics in the food world.
CNN’s forthcoming Freedom Project documentary examines the cocoa industry and the work undertaken to combat exploitation of workers throughout the journey from “bean to chocolate bar,” shining a light on the often challenging issue of eating ethically.
Broadly speaking, eating ethically can cover anything from vegetarianism to eating only local produce and boycotting foodstuffs and products which are considered wasteful or exploitative - for many it’s a personal choice.
Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.
In the run-up to Halloween, I’m not so concerned with all the vampires, gas mask–wearing Walter Whites and twerking Miley Cyruses that will be running amok. I’m worried about the giant case of sugar shock that I will fall victim to after I’ve eaten a million mini candy bars.
For the first time in my life, I might throw some dark chocolate minis into the milk chocolate mix. Like a lot of people, I’ve become more of a fan of dark chocolate recently. (The rise in popularity might have something to do with its alleged health benefits; for one thing, it’s high in antioxidants.)
Coincidentally, there’s some great new dark chocolate out there - let’s look at some of them.