Chocolate Decoded

What’s in my chocolate?

 We all love to open a box of chocolates and select our favourite centre, but I hope no-one would put a single chocolate in their pocket to eat later!  Filled chocolate bars are a great way to have a more portable alternative. 

 Whether you like sugar free chocolate, chocolate sweetened with stevia or even plain old fashioned chocolate’ sometimes manufacturers use descriptions for their fillings that need Wikipedia to understand!  So to save you time we have tried to decode some of those descriptions for you!

 When the filling is something like orange or peppermint cream, we know what to expect, but other descriptions like ganache or gianduja may be less familiar.    

 It gets really confusing when we see the word praline on the chocolate bar. Originally praline was invented in France in the 17th Century. If you watch Masterchef you will have seen contestants making praline by cooking sugar and nuts, letting it cool and smashing it up into crunchy crumbs.  On the other hand there are also glamorous chocolate shops boasting about their mouth-watering “Belgian Pralines” which are chocolates with all sorts of centres; nuts, cream, fruit, truffle and even liqueurs.  Neither of these really applies to most of the chocolate bars described as having a praline filling. This praline will be made from nuts and sugar blended with other ingredients such as cream and chocolate to make a creamy paste. 

So what is gianduja?  The simple answer is that it is really just an Italian version of praline!  It was invented in Turin in the early 19th Century when there was a shortage of chocolate in Italy. It was originally made by adding ground hazelnuts to chocolate. That popular chocolate/nut spread was originally known as Gianduja paste.  As with praline other ingredients are added to make the commercial chocolate filling. 

Ganache is different.  It is traditionally made by melting chocolate with cream and can flavoured in many different ways.  If a lot of cream is used it can be used as a cake icing or filling.  But made with more chocolate, it can be rolled into little individual balls and rolled in cocoa to make luxury truffles (particularly delicious if flavoured with rum!).  The fresh cream in the classic ganache means it is only suitable for products that are going to be eaten soon after making so the ingredients are modified to give a good shelf-life.

 

All the fillings are delicious, making that bar of chocolate just too good to share!

March 13, 2015 by Peter Simons
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