I love cooking sweet and savoury dishes with chocolate, however a lot of people, when they think of chocolate, only think chocolate can be in sweet foods, deserts and baking, especially when you think of cocoa or cacao and especially when we think of chocolate.
However, because raw cacao is unsweetened, it works well in savoury dishes as well as sweet, and chefs and flavour experts suggest it works particularly well with spices especially chilli, cardamon, wasabi, clove and cinnamon.. You should try our 80Noir Ultra Spice rack to try it for yourself. As mentioned on the other article about intriguing flavours it can be paired with meats, including beef, pork, steak, venison (My favourite) and duck, as well as shellfish, beetroot and certain cheeses, including ricotta and parmesan.. There are many types of chocolate:
Cacao v's Cocoa
Cacao and cocoa both come from the cocoa bean, the difference is in the amount of processing. Cacao is made from cold-processing un-roasted cacao beans, whereas cocoa is raw cacao that has been roasted at a high temperature, it is then usually sweetened with sugar. Cocoa still has many of the nutrients that cacao has, just smaller quantities due to the heat in the processing.
The Different Types of Cacao
Once cacao beans are dried, that are then cold-pressed to remove the cacao butter, the fatty part of the fruit found in the inner part of the lining of the bean. The beans are then either ground to create raw cacao powder or crushed to create the nibs. Solid cacao is a combination of the raw cacao powder and cacao butter.
Cacao Powder - Has a bitter chocolatey taste
Cacao Nibs - Similar to chocolate chips but are more bitter and savoury in taste
Solid (100%) Cacao Chocolate - Extremely dark, quite bitter chocolate with no sugar added, made by combing raw cacao powder and cacao butter.
Cacao Butter - White in colour and is buttery and chocolatey in texture. It has an incredible aroma of chocolate. its used to make chocolate and natural beauty products.
Ways in which you can use the different types of cacao in your cooking.
1. Add a few shavings of solid cacao to stews to add a wonderful extra layer of flavour.
2. Use the nibs as a healthy alternative to chocolate chips, perfect for your morning porridge. They are often toasted to boost the flavour
3. Add a spoonful of cacao powder to your favourite smoothie for an extra hit of antioxidants.
4. Make your own chocolate with cacao butter.
5. Break off a square of solidarity cacao chocolate to make a healthy hot chocolate drink.
When cooking with chocolate, please be mindful that cooking it in very high temperatures, reduce the nutrient content, and why when we make hot chocolate. it's around 70-80 degrees and always added when taken off the heat so its no longer cooking through.
So go on, be adventurous, try adding chocolate to your dishes to boost nutritional content and flavour.