Chocolate

The next step in the preparation of chocolate is the grinding" of the nibs and running the semi-liquid product into molds. If sugar or any flavoring is to be added, it is done at this time.

Cocoa in its purest form is chocolate with part of the fat removed. In order that it may stay in a pow dered condition, it is necessary either to remove this oil or add some form of starchy material. Sometimes flavoring materials such as cinnamon or vanilla are also added.

Theobromine

Cocoa, like tea and coffee, contains an alkaloid called theobromine. Tannin is also present in the raw bean, but is changed during the roasting to cocoa-red which gives the color to the cocoa. A substance somewhat like the caffeol of coffee is also developed during the roasting process. Cocoa beans also contain a large amount of fat - about 50 per cent - with proteids, starch, and other substances in small amounts.

Percentage Composition Of Cocoa

Roasted Cocoa Nibs.

Water .....................

................................2.72

Ash .......................

.............. 3.32

Theobromine ..............

..............1.44

Other nitrogenous substance

............. 12.12

Crude fibre...

................................2.64

Starch...

.............. 8.07

Other nitrogen-free substance

............. 19.57

Fat ........................

.............. 50.12

100.00

The food value of clear chocolate has never been questioned. Perhaps the writer of the eighteenth century who is responsible for the following statements may have exaggerated somewhat. He says:

"In reality, if one examines the nature of chocolate a little, with respect to the constitution of aged persons, it seems as though the one was made on purpose to remedy the defects of the other, and that it is truly the panacea of old age".

"There lately died at Martinico a counsellor, about a hundred years old, who, for thirty years past, lived on nothing but chocolate and biscuit. He sometimes, indeed, had a little soup at dinner, but never any fish, flesh, or other victuals. He was, nevertheless, so vigorous and nimble that at fourscore and five he could get on horseback without stirrups".

Food Value

So good a scientist as Liebig says, however: "It is a perfect food, as wholesome as delicious. It is highly nourishing and easily digested, and is fitted to repair wasted strength, preserve health, and prolong life." A simple statement of the case is that we have in chocolate a highly concentrated food, particularly rich in fat, but containing a fair amount of the other food principles. Since it is so concentrated it demands water in abundance. So far as its digestibility is concerned, there is more question. The very presence of so much fat means that it is too rich for some people, while others can digest it with no difficulty. Hutchison tells us that so far as cocoa as a drink is concerned the food value is over-estimated, since the amount we actually use is small. This depends to a large extent upon the manner in which the beverage is prepared. The milk and sugar used add appreciably to the nutriment, and if we follow Thudi-chum's suggestion, we shall have a beverage of high food value even if one questions its perfection in othei respects. He says: "Chocolate should be served in cups and be of sufficient consistency to be eaten with a small spoon, rather than drunk. In this way it was used by the Mexicans; they also ate it with golden spoons. We have tasted the combination, and find chocolate in a red cup and saucer, to be eaten with a golden spoon, aesthetical perfection; both taste and sight are much pleased with the combination".

The possible effect upon digestion of the theobromine present has not been fully determined. It is a substance similar in character to caffeine in coffee and tea. These beverages, however, unlike cocoa, have no food value.