Friday, August 20, 2010

The Choco-Story Chocolate Museum in Brugge (Part 2)

(This is a continuation from Part 1)

I never realised that milk chocolate is so "unhealthy", or dark chocolate is so "healthy" until I went to the chocolate museum in Brugge. Well, everything is relative, isn't it? What is healthy to one, may be unhealthy to another and vice versa. But it is always useful to find out what you are actually eating. And after finding out, you will probably think twice the next time you munch on a piece of Godiva or Neuhaus belgian chocolate. :)

Do you know what are the key ingredients of chocolate and what  distinguishes milk chocolate from dark chocolate? Well, the key ingredients are namely Lecithin, Flavours, Sugar, Cocoa Butter, and last but not least, Powdered Milk and/or Cocoa Paste.

Here are the breakdown in components of the different kinds of chocolate.

1) White Chocolate : 
0.49% Lecithin, 0.01% Flavours, 29.5% Cocoa Butter, 45% Sugar, 25% Powdered Milk

White Chocolate
2) Milk Chocolate : 
0.49% Lecithin, 0.01% Flavours, 24.5% Cocoa Butter, 45% Sugar, 20% Powdered Milk, 10% Cocoa Paste

Milk Chocolate

3) Plain Chocolate (or Fondant Chocolate) : 
0.49% Lecithin, 0.01% Flavours, 9.5% Cocoa Butter, 45% Sugar, 45% Cocoa Paste
Plain/Fondant Chocolate
4) Dark Chocolate : 
0.49% Lecithin, 0.01% Flavours, 7% Cocoa Butter, 25% Sugar, 67.5% Cocoa Paste
Dark Chocolate
Gosh, I never knew that white chocolate, milk chocolate and plain chocolate have such high sugar content! But by eating dark chocolate rather than white/milk/plain chocolate, you are cutting down on sugar but getting a higher dosage of cocoa paste in return, which is still quite fattening for the waistline. But I think the worst choice has to be plain or fondant chocolate. 45% sugar, 45% cocoa paste and nearly 10% cocoa butter, oh my god! So the bottomline is, strictly no chocolates if you are on diet. :P

I also learnt something useful about working with chocolate in the chocolate museum. Here is what I read from the exhibits on display, which I had captured using my camera.

Working with Chocolate
1. Tempering with Chocolate
The traditional way is to pour the melted chocolate onto a marble worktop and work it with a spatula until the temperature falls to 27-28 degrees. Then the cooled chocolate is placed in tempering pots and the temperature brought back up to 29 degrees. The first crystals will make sure that the chocolate crystallizes perfectly into very small crystals, which will improve its properties. In particular, it will be very shiny.

2. Moulding Pralines
Chocolate is poured into the mould and the excess removed. Air bubbles are eliminated by vibrating the mould. The chocolate cups are cooled to solidify. The filling is injected and covered with chocolate. After cooling, the praline can be demoulded.

3. Garnishing
The top of the praline is garnished using a small piping bag filled, for example, with liquid chocolate.

4. Enrobing
This is the most ancient way of making pralines. The interior (marzipan, for example) is cut to size. Then it is dipped in chocolate and placed in the refrigerator. And so the praline, or truffle, is ready.

5. Making Hollow Figurines
Pour chocolate into clean dry moulds. On contact with the colder mould, a thin layer of chocolate forms. Pour away the excess chocolate and place the mould in the refrigerator. The chocolate hardens and detaches from the mould.

All in all, my visit to the Choco-Story Chocolate Museum in Brugge was an enlightening one. I didn't visit the Fries Museum which is in the same building, otherwise I would have given a short lecture on how to make belgian fries, hahaha. Maybe the next time. :)

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