This may come as a shock to those of you who use chocolate to combat those sinister sugar cravings, but the origin of the word chocolate, from the native American Nahuatl word xocolatl, means “bitter water”.
Produced from the tropical Theobroma cacao tree native to South America, the first documented use of chocolate can be traced back to 1100 BC. Even then, chocolate was a popular ingredient for beverages—the Aztecs used it to make a luxurious drink.
The seeds of the cacao tree (bitter in nature) are fermented, dried and roasted, and their shell removed to extract the cocoa—this is chocolate in its raw form. What we call chocolate today is sweet chocolate, which uses a combination of cocoa solids, cocoa butter/other fat and sugar.
Chocolate is used to make a range of beverages, including a type of wine in Mexico. Chocolate is eaten as it is, coupled with fruits or blended into cakes and desserts, in most parts of the world. In its place of origin in Central America, including Mexico, chocolate is also used in chicken and meat dishes to produce a delightful sweet-savoury taste.
Eat it this way
Sugar-free Chocolate andRed Currant Delight
Visual delight: Decorate the cake with fresh red currants and use chocolate spray on the sides.
• 100g red currants
• 200g red currant filling
• 100g oatmeal cookie crumbs
(For the filling)
• 250g sugar-free dark chocolate
• 250ml single-toned cream
• 100g skimmed milk cottage cheese
• 15g gelatin
• 2 tsp stevia leaves
• 15ml water
Bring the cream to boil and melt the chocolate slowly. Add the stevia leaves. Grate and cream the cottage cheese in a sieve. Mix into the chocolate ganache. Add the gelatin (dissolved in water) to the mixture while it is still warm. Mix well. Cool and refrigerate to set slightly. Take a bakery ring. Close the bottom end with foil. Form the base with a generous sprinkle of cookie crumbs. Add the chocolate mixture and spread evenly, add the currant filling (available in cans) and spread evenly. Repeat the process twice. Top the gateau with fresh red currants. You can use a chocolate spray to cover the sides. Refrigerate to set before serving.
Source: Devraj Halder, executive assistant manager (food and beverages), The Suryaa, New Delhi.