Some not-so-dark secrets about dark chocolate
For all those dark chocolate lovers out there, here are some not-so-dark secrets of dark chocolate!
Dark chocolates need not be dark.
In technical terms, dark chocolates are simply chocolates made with real cocoa butter and contain a minimum of 65% cacao content.
Although some dark-coloured chocolate may look like they have a high cocoa content, this is actually because they contain dutch processed/alkalised cocoa. This refers to cocoa that has been chemically processed to reduce the acidity and harshness of the natural cocoa. By doing so, the flavour of the cocoa is altered (the natural bitterness is mellowed down) and the colour is darkened, making it appear to be more chocolatey.
Most bean to bar chocolates tend to have a lighter brown colour naturally derived from the cacao bean and contain no added alkalised cocoa. This is because the bean to bar process focuses on bringing out only the natural distinct flavours of cacao beans from different origins, ones that are not chemically induced and altered. So, even if they may not be very dark-coloured, rest assured any bean to bar chocolate with at least 65% cocoa content is still considered dark chocolate!
Most dark chocolates are great for health.
As many have heard, dark chocolates make for a healthy snack because they have a naturally high flavonoid and phenolic (antioxidants) content , which is beneficial for the body.
Some health benefits include
1) Protection from disease-causing free radicals
2) Cancer prevention
3) Improved heart health
4) Better cholesterol profile overall
5) Better cognitive function
6) Lower blood pressure
Not all dark chocolates are created the same.
While most dark chocolates are healthy, we feel it is also important chocolate lovers learn that not all dark chocolates are created equally healthy! Research shows that some commercial chocolates undergo a process called heavy dutching to ensure consistency in taste and appearance. However, such processes can destroy up to 90% of the antioxidants in cacao, causing the chocolate to lose much of its natural health properties.
So, if you are looking for dark chocolates that are 100% natural and retain most of their antioxidant properties, it may be better to opt for bean to bar chocolates with no artificial additives!