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World Chocolate Day: 7 things you need to know when cooking with chocolate

Chocolate is not just a snack but much more than that. Picture: The Kate Tin

Chocolate is not just a snack but much more than that. Picture: The Kate Tin

Published Jul 6, 2022


July 7 is World Chocolate Day! This day is all about celebrating the finest creation of humankind.

Chocolate is not just a snack but much more than that. If there is anything that everyone unanimously agrees upon, it would definitely be the delicious taste of chocolate.

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Chocolates are not only mouth-watering but also work as a perfect mood enhancer. In celebration of this special day, below we look at some of the things you need to know when it comes to cooking with chocolate.

Cooking with chocolate is not as easy as it sounds, which is why we have put together an easy guide – by Lindt master chocolatier Dimo Simatos and chocolate expert and founder of The Kate Tin Katelyn (Williams) Allegra – for you to follow, so that you know everything there is to know about cooking with chocolate.

Lindt chocolate. Picture: Supplied

Dimo Simatos’ tips

Apply gentle heat when melting chocolate

Chocolate requires temperatures of only 30ºC to start melting, due to the high cocoa butter content. Chop or break the chocolate pieces before melting. Melt chocolate straight in a saucepan or pot. It has to always be over a gentle heat. For example, steam or indirect, like a microwave.

Taste test

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Do taste a variety of chocolates that have a high cocoa content in order to see what will best suit your palate. We always recommend starting with the highest percentage of cocoa you might have. For example, 90% then drops down to 85%, and then 70 % cocoa.

Be careful to mix and match

Don’t mix a variety of good quality chocolate with inferior chocolate that falls outside the premium category, as this will not yield the best results and will be a waste of money – and a waste of the good quality chocolate.

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Don't assume all artisanal-made chocolate is better

Many chocolates are not formulated to re-melt and are not used in recipes successfully, thus not yielding maximum flavour and, more importantly, might change the texture of the bake or dessert.

Decadent melted chocolate flows down a stack of chocolate pieces. Picture: Supplied

Katelyn (Williams) Allegra’s tips

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Treat chocolate with care

Chocolate does not like high heat, so use gentle heat to melt it. If the bowl is too hot to touch, you are overheating it. This will turn your smooth glossy chocolate into a crumbly mess. The best way to melt chocolate is to fill a saucepan with 2cm of water and bring it to a boil.

Place the finely chopped chocolate in a glass or metal bowl which fits on top of the saucepan. Place the bowl with the chocolate on top of the saucepan and turn off the heat. Stir after a few minutes and then leave to melt completely.

Avoid water

The smallest drop of water can cause a big bowl of melted chocolate to seize. When chocolate seizes, it gets crumbly and will not melt again. If this happens, don’t throw it away. Use it to make hot chocolate or a chocolate sauce, or add it to brownie batter.

Buy chocolate that is sustainably sourced

Cocoa farmers are some of the poorest in the world and by buying the best quality chocolate you can afford, which is sustainably sourced, cocoa farmers are paid more for their cocoa beans, so they can earn a decent living.