Tuesday, July 28, 2009

National Milk Chocolate Day -- July 28, 2009

Another chocolate related day on the USA calendar, not an official holiday of any type so most likely this is one of hundreds of fun days started by various companies and communities in an effort to increase public awareness and consumption of their products. If the blatant commercialism of it does not bother you, Sisters and Brothers, eat some milk chocolate today and celebrate.

Your Chocolate Priestess and The Chocolate Cult does not discriminate against varieties of chocolate, if it is made from the cacao plant, we can consider it part of our faith. So what exactly makes a chocolate product "milk" instead of "dark" or "white"?

According to this article from Bon Appétit, to make milk chocolate you add dry milk, vanilla, sugar and some fat to "pure chocolate". This isn't a very clear definition. Further online research reveals that we are talking about the cocoa nib as the "pure chocolate" in the above description. The milk added replaces some of the chocolate liquor in the cocoa giving it a lighter and creamier cocoa flavor as well as a lighter color. (graphic from http://img183.imageshack.us/img183/3556/03hv2.jpg)

What qualifies as "milk chocolate" varies from region to region. In the USA, milk chocolate must keep 10% of the chocolate liquor but in Europe the rule is 25% cocoa solids. This explains why American and European chocolates called by the same label can taste quite different. The regulated line dividing milk from dark chocolate isn't wide -- USA the difference is only 5% while in Europe it is 10%.

We can have a much wider range of what we call "dark chocolate" in both regions when compared to "milk chocolate". So when someone says "I like milk chocolate" you have a good idea of what tastes they like on these two continents but if they say "I like dark chocolate" you just can't be sure.

What is more interesting than this is the fact that the two regions definitions do not overlap really so you need to know if you are talking to someone who like European or American chocolate. "Milk Chocolate" in Europe covers good range of what is called "Dark Chocolate" in the States. Since this is an American "holiday", look for chocolate with 10% liquor only and have just a little bit.

Sisters and Brothers, may you too take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate.

If you are reading in the eastern half of the Midwest, don't forget The Chocolate Cult's first CONTEST. You now have less than a week to enter this contest so if you live within driving distance of Bloomington, Indiana, give it a shot.

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