What makes a good chocolate, how is it made and what is simply customer cheat? Georg Beer (45) wanted to know and research, but also tasted. The owner of Beers Backhaus (Beer himself runs the family business in 5th generation) wrote a book about the results.
As a trained pastry chef, I used to make chocolate myself. Now I wanted to test the worldwide chocolate market – I tried products from 38 countries – and write a book about it.
For this, I have tried three chocolate bars daily, but not completely eaten. In most cases, I was only able to give a piece, five to ten grams maximum. Or half a praline, I have also tested chocolates. And the longer my experiment went, the smaller portions I needed. In very rare cases, if something tasted very good, I then have eaten the entire bar.
At first, I had very good products. And then came a time when a lot of bad chocolates were there. It frustrated me how much bad chocolates – no matter whether expensive or cheap – are on the market. This was also my motive for the book: I want to show the consumer what is good and what is bad.
Even the list of ingredients shows what is good and what is bad. For instance, dark chocolate. If it contains vanillin (not natural vanilla), then it is bad, even the chocolate cannot be good. For whole milk chocolate, you should look at where sugar and cocoa butter are. With a high-quality whole milk chocolate, sugar is never the first priority. For chocolates or refined chocolates, the alarm bells ring when the aromas are used.
Why are many chocolatiers today unable to produce the taste of a strawberry using fruit powder or concentrate in a chocolate? Why does he have to rely on aromas? The demand of the consumers is therefore clear to make the pralines themselves. There are several vendors selling the equipment required for Pralinen selber machen and holding evening and weekend classes.
The cost of concentrates is not much higher than that of aromas
In the conching machine, the chocolate is heated and moved at the same time so that the aromas develop. This can take between eight and 120 hours, the pure Conchier time is, however, no quality feature.
Some companies advertise that they produce their own chocolate. But this is not the case at all. Often is bought up. Some black sheep are even delivered a ready-packaged product to the warehouse. The manufacturers of industrial chocolates are often questionable.
Organic chocolate is booming, but is it also of better quality?
In chocolate production, the biological production of the ingredients is not a quality feature. There is some miraculous cocoa from Jamaica, Venezuela, and Madagascar. The producers there can often not afford the certification of their products according to organic criteria – but the expensive pesticides neither. Say, the chocolate is free from harmful substances anyway, even if it does not bear an organic seal.