3 things you may not know about cocoa
- It starts off as a kind of unsweetened baking chocolate-chocolate liquor-derived from the beans of the cacao tree. The liquor is separated into solids and butter, and the solids are then ground to make cocoa powder.
- There are only three varieties of cacao tree: the Criollo, Forastero and a hybrid of these, the Trinitario; most cocoa is made from a mix of varieties.
- We could soon be celebrating Cocoa Day. One of Ghana's politicos has proposed a holiday devoted to cocoa and chocolate-and we're more than ready to jump on that bandwagon.
2 ways to try cocoa right now
- In cocoa nibs, the unsweetened kernels of cacao beans that are roasted and chopped.
- Served in a frosty drink, sweetened with honey, spices and vanilla like they did in its native South America.
1 thing to remember at the grocery store
- Natural (unsweetened) cocoa has a dark, intense flavour; use it for brownies and cookies. Dutch-process cocoa has some neutralized acids; use it in icings and sauces.
1 collectible to pick up when you see it
- Vintage cocoa tins from companies like van Houten and Cadbury.
1 tip you can't live without
- If a recipe (especially with baking soda) calls for cocoa, use natural cocoa. Dutch-process cocoa can alter the chemistry of a recipe.
1 way to indulge your inner cocoaholic
- Book into the Hershey Hotel in Hershey, Pennsylvania, for a 50-minute Cocoa Massage-it doesn't have a single calorie!