Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Chocolate Matters: From Beans to IsaDelight

Cocoa and chocolate
Chocolate quality depends on care from bean harvest to tempering.

Chocolate is often celebrated as one of the holiday season’s top guilty pleasures, a treat with high appeal and often loaded with calories from fat and sugar that can side track weight-management goals. However, dark chocolate is low on calories and can even help you avoid the holiday bulge by satisfying cravings. It is also dubbed a brain food because it helps ward off bad moods and oxidative stressors. Yes, science has given a green light to dark chocolate as a “guilt-free pleasure.” 
The reasons to eat regular amounts of dark chocolate are appearing limitless, but its health benefits and flavor are contingent on manufacturing. Thankfully, Isagenix recognizes the benefits of this healthy indulgence, and has come up with a delightful solution. IsaDelight Plus is a decadent 50-calorie snack rich in quality cocoa (70 percent) with an abundance of cocoa antioxidants, along with brain-healthy amino acids, and  metabolism-boostinggreen tea included. 
Additionally, in IsaDelight, cocoa is not just a simple indulgence. It is here that the road in dark chocolate equality divides: in the process of harvesting, fermentation, roasting, grinding, cooling, heating, tempering and molding. In the case of the IsaDelight, care in processing has made chocolate nutritious without sacrificing the pleasure of the palate.
Isagenix’s VP of Product Innovation Pierre Teissier, Ph.D., gives insight into the intricacies of chocolate production and the ways in which Isagenix has worked to yield a superior cocoa product. Here is a simple overview: the raw cabosses (cocoa beans still in their shells) must be dried, fermented and roasted prior to their use. They are then cracked, winnowed and the white beans are cleaned. These non-alkalized cocoa nibs (alkalization destroys valuable antioxidant flavanols) are then roasted (giving them their familiar dark brown color), ground and pressed yielding three products: cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, and, with additional processing, cocoa powder. The cocoa liquor is a brown paste that contains most of the beneficial antioxidant polyphenols, the cocoa butter is the fat, and the cocoa powder is the fibrous plant material.  
Dr. Teissier explains that many companies take the cocoa liquor and add fillers, flavors, fats and emulsifiers to take the difficulty out of finalizing the product. As he puts it, this is bad chocolate. The chocolate that we all know and love, in its purest form, is a combination of cocoa butter and cocoa liquor. The trouble is that these two substances have different consistencies and melting points. 
IsaDelight Plus combines quality dark chocolate with brain-healthy amino acids, vitamins and metabolism-boosting green tea.
IsaDelight Plus combines quality dark chocolate with brain-healthy amino acids, vitamins and metabolism-boosting green tea.
Combining the liquor and the butter occurs duringtempering. Tempering, Dr. Teissier explains, is an integral part of the final product. As the chocolate is tempered, the cocoa liquor and cocoa butter are heated and brought down to a narrow temperature of 35°C. At this temperature, the cocoa butter just starts to solidify as the cocoa liquor starts to soften—here the two may be combined into a beautiful silky emulsion. However, the temperature range is a mere 2°C. It is during this stage that mood-boosting vitamins and amino acids are added to the mix. Isagenix conducts this process under careful temperature regulation to ensure that the emulsion doesn’t separate, the chocolate doesn’t burn, the amino acids and vitamins aren’t destroyed, and the final product does not require any added emulsifiers. Lecithinis added only to suspend the amino acids and vitamins in the emulsion and prevent them from rising to the surface. 
Many of the world’s most well-known cocoa products neglect the detail of this process and compensate with unhealthy additives. The process that Dr. Teissier recounted above is often avoided by adding synthetic fats, some even hydrogenated, to mimic the consistency of the cocoa liquor and more easily form an emulsion. The detailed process of tempering and roasting that Dr. Teissier described requires great precision and attention to detail. The IsaDelight is a good product, he says, because the “chocolate is very delicate. We strictly control the temperature to get the best antioxidant content. It is a good chocolate, and great for your brain! That is the great thing.”

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