Chocolate & Chemistry

by - October 10, 2018

Hello my beautiful people, welcome back!

Today I'm going to be sharing with you two things that I love, CHOCOLATE & CHEMISTRY. The topic that I will be sharing with all of you is the chemistry behind the chocolate that make us love it so much and feel that gratifying moments in our lives. So let's start with a little story about the chocolate and some of the things that you can found in it. 

The chocolate goes back to 2000 years or more, but it wasn't until 1847 that the chocolate as we know it today was made. The chocolate was also known as cacao, even though today cacao is refer to the chocolate powder, the tree or the plant or bean before processing. So, in the 1828 a chemist found a way to create the powdered chocolate with the bitter taste which led to the creation of the solid chocolate on 1847 by Joseph Fry. This was possible because when the Dutch chemist was making the powdered chocolate he removed about a half of the natural fat, which we know as the cocoa butter from the liquor and then pulverized the remaining and treated the mixture with an alkaline salt that help cut a little the bitterness of the powdered. After that Joseph come and add the melted cocoa butter again to the cocoa and just like that the chocolate as we know it was born. Obviously they're more details in the history but this was a super short summary. Do you know from where the origins are trace down? It has to found that the "chocolate" etymology is trace back to the aztecs and the word "xocoatl" . Also, do you know that the Latin name for the cacao tree is "Food for gods"? Yeah and I'm totally agree with it. The chocolate is HEAVEN!

The chocolate not only taste good, also have a lot of properties and healthy compounds for us, which make it more perfect! Some of the properties and compounds that you can find on the chocolate are small quantities of vitamins such as riboflavin, some minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron, and copper. Another important properties found are the polyphenols and antioxidants. Some of this are catechins (flavan-3-ols) and procyanidins. The total amount of polyphenol content of the bean is estimated to be 6–8% by weight of the dry bean. In addition, contains 3-methylbutanal, phenylacetaldehyde, and other aldehydes that are key components of chocolate’s familiar aroma. The principal responsibles for our cravings are the caffeine, theobromine, contains the cannabinoid molecule anandamide. Also, it has an aphrodisiac effect. The chemical have this effect because of the chemical phenylethylamine (PEA), which is a chemical produced naturally in the brain, but also present in relatively high concentrations in chocolate (0.4-6.6 micrograms per gram). This chemical acts as a stimulant, because increase the actions of the neurotransmitter dopamine and lead to an elevated mood and feelings of pleasure. It's not the only one responsible for that effect, it has been found that that Tryptophan(essential amino acid for humans) also contribute to this.

The amount of cocoa solids in the chocolate is going to depend on the kind of chocolate (dark, milk, white). In the picture you can see how many cocoa solids each one contains and what else you can found on them. The cacao butter also have its properties and healthy components, for example help us with skin health, reduces the sign of aging, among others. Also consist of various triglycerides with mainly oleic acid, stearic acid, and palmitic acid side chains. The taste of the chocolate is going to depend on origin of the cacao, roasting conditions, and processing techniques, because the aroma compounds affect the taste.

In the picture below, you can see the different types of chocolate with the parameters that they need to be that way and used them in the kitchen. As you can see the temperature has a key role in how the chocolate is made and how we can use it. Depending on the type of chocolate will depend on the melting point, because like I said before the compounds and ingredients are going to varied which means that their properties (physical and chemicals) varied too.

Now I'm going to share with all of you a small diagram with the process of the creation of the chocolate as we know it today. Obviously the process involve a lot more, but this are just the key process to get the chocolate that  we love!

A. Fermentation: It's one of the most important process to obtain our chocolate. In this process the seed’s storage protein begins to be broken down into its constituent amino acids.

B. Roasting: When the cacao is roast, the process allows that the water and non-wanted compounds evaporate, which helps with the unpleasant smell and taste that they can left. They're a lot of chemical cascade of reactions that occur between the amino acids formed in fermentation and the sugars in the grain, where these reactions lead the compounds responsible for flavour and taste like aldehydes, esters, ketones, furans. Also these reactions form the compounds which give the brown colour to the grain and therefore to the chocolate bar. 

C. Crystallization: This is the process that is responsible for the texture of chocolate, because the fat crystallization behavior during tempering of dark chocolate play vital roles in defining the structure, mechanical properties, and appearance of the final product. With fat, it means the cocoa butter. This can crystallize in six different ways, a property known as polymorphism. They're six possible forms of polymorphism but just one is the most common and pleasant to the people, the silky and smooth one that melt in your tongue.  The structure of the chocolate depend on the temperature, so if it is exposure to high temperature it will lose his structure and properties.    

The infographic in this post I found them on pinterest and google (except the diagram). I really hope you guys like this post, if you do don't forget to share with your friends and all of the choco lovers like us! Yay!!

Love you guys!!!

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