woensdag 24 maart 2021

Gianduja Chocolate


Gianduja chocolate is one of the most popular confections around the world. Its three basic ingredients, (sugar, cocoa and hazelnuts) have stayed exactly the same throughout time, but international chocolatiers are giving their own creative twist to this classic that now comes in all shapes, forms and recipes.

Gianduja can be enjoyed as a spreadable cream to be slayed on toasted bread, added on top of ice-creams or even eaten with a spoon directly from the jar. If you prefer a solid form, now many chocolate makers are creating bars of pure gianduja, a solid block entirely made out of this soft paste that will fast melt in your hands.

Or you can enjoy gianduja in its most historical form, like a giandujotto: a small soft chocolate in the shape of an upside-down boat individually wrapped. Regarding the ingredients, you will find minimalist recipes that only include 3 ingredients (dairy-free) or richer creations with the inclusion of milk or plant-based milk for extra creaminess, or the addition of whole hazelnuts for extra crunchiness and nutty flavour.

For the fine palates, the most exquisite gianduja chocolate creations are made in craft chocolate kitchens. In New Zealand, craft chocolate maker Hogarth Chocolate won several international awards for his GIANDUIA Dark Hazelnut bar with 45% cocoa and 30% hazelnuts. Then there is the HAZELNUT GIANDUJA (No Dairy) bar by Chocolate Tree in Scotland, which combines Peruvian cacao from the Piura region with fine hazelnuts from Piedmont. In Italy, Aruntam Chocolate makes a DARK GIANDUJA with Piemonte Hazelnuts and 45% fine Arriba Nacional cacao from Ecuador.

Although gianduja is delicious in all its forms and shapes, don’t forget to always read the ingredients list: the hazelnut content should be at least 30%, followed by fine flavor cacao and minimal ingredients to make the nutty and roasted flavor of the hazelnuts shine through.



maandag 1 maart 2021

Soy lecithin in chocolate


Let’s talk about soy lecithin this week.

Soy lecithin is a phospholipid (we could just call it “fat”) derived from soybeans. It’s an industrial waste product extracted from the sludge that is left after the soy oil undergoes a degumming process. This is why soy lecithin is the most common type of lecithin on the market; it’s a byproduct which is easily and inexpensively derived from soybean oil manufacturing (the lion’s share of vegetable oils in North America). Physically, it presents itself in liquid form as a yellow-brownish fatty substance with a fairly thick viscosity.

Soy lecithin is found in way more products than we might think, especially packaged foods. Manufacturers like this additive so much because it serves two convenient purposes:

  • it’s an emulsifier. The goal of an emulsifier is to bind somewhat equal parts of water and oil together, which they ordinarily would never do. That’s why we often see it in creamy salad dressings, mayonnaise, reduced-fat buttery spreads and other foods that have a hefty portion of oil.
  • it’s a surfactant. The goal of a surfactant is to reduce the surface tension of liquids, which allows them to spread out faster and be absorbed quicker. For this reason, soy lecithin is often added to cake and other baking mixes so that water stirs more easily, with fewer stubborn lumps in the batter.

The main purpose of adding soy lecithin to chocolate is to lower its viscosity. This gives a more workable consistency to the chocolate, which becomes easier to temper and to mold. The same result could be achieved by adding cocoa butter, which is unfortunately way more expensive. If you read the ingredients list of a chocolate bar, you will see that soy lecithin (if present) is listed among the very last ingredients. This is because a little lecithin goes a long way. Chocolate makers only need to add a tiny amount to their creations. If 3.0% or 4.0% additional cocoa butter is needed to thin down a coating, only 0.5% of lecithin would be needed to get the same result.

Do you avoid soy lecithin in chocolate or you don’t really mind?

Deze tekst is oorspronkelijk van The High Five Company Dennis van Essen