Friday Food and Drink Post: Dutch Treat?

 

File:Bucket Cocoa Beans Ladle (Unsplash GFYeNAOZOqc).jpgWhen it comes to chocolate, I’ve always been a Cadbury girl. At my childhood UK home, the cows in the field below our garden used to send their milk off to the Cadbury factory at Bournville near Birmingham, and whenever I took a bite of the lovely stuff, I used to wonder if any of “my” cows had contributed to it. Perhaps it tasted the better, for that reason alone.

Cadbury’s, and most modern, mass-produced chocolate, owes its existence to two processes developed in the early 19th-century by Dutch chocolate maker Casparus van Houten and his son Coenraad. They are ubiquitous enough that the industry has been divided into “Dutched” chocolate, and all the rest, ever since.

Coenraad van Houten’s process built upon his father’s discovery that the fat could be pressed out of cocoa beans, leaving a dry powder with greatly-improved storage potential (no rancidity, and much more shelf-stable), and which expanded the possible uses for the product. But Coenraad took it a step further, treating the chocolate with an alkaline and lowering its pH. The resulting product was milder in flavor, and delicious in both powder and a chocolate bar.

For the rest of the nineteeth century, British chocolate manufacturers (Cadbury, Fry, Rowntree) continued to develop and refine their techniques, as did their American counterpart Milton Hershey. On the continent, European chocolatiers did the same, going in a slightly different direction which culminated in the late twentieth-century Chocolate Wars, finally resolved by (what else) a European Union Directive in 2003 telling the respective sides what they had to do in order to have permission to use the word “chocolate” to describe their products.

Now, sadly, everything seems to taste pretty much the same.  Globalization at its best. Mondelez International (formerly Kraft Foods) owns Cadbury and Fry. Nestle owns Rowntree. Hershey’s bless their heart, rejected Mondelez’s offer of a $23 billion takeover in 2016 and stands on its own.

This has resulted, as it often does, in a reaction, quite similar to that in other areas such as coffee and liquor. Twenty-first century chocolate snobs promote $173 an ounce chocolate bars containing nothing but cocoa and cane sugar. Scientists, nutrionists, and faddists remind us that natural cocoa which hasn’t been “Dutched” contains more antioxidants and flavonol than that which has. Therefore, we’re supposed to believe it’s healthier, and beneficial–eat more chocolate! Yes! We’re encourage to buy “single source,” “sustainable,” and “ethically produced” products. And $4, $5, $6 chocolate bars are ubiquitously available at the corner drug store and local supermarket. (Some of them are delicious, BTW.)

But what do you think? Are you a chocoholic? An afficionado? An occasional indulger? Do you go for quality or quantity? What is your favorite? Do you ever cook with chocolate? Do you buy “Dutch Processed” or “Natural” cocoa powder? Can you even tell the difference? (Be honest.) Recipes, particularly unusual ones are welcome.

Please share.

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  1. Pony Convertible Member
    Pony Convertible
    @PonyConvertible

    Recently I have found a love for chocolate covered coffee beans.   Those two flavors just seem to complement each other wonderfully.  I also like to melt chocolate chips into my coffee.

    Sadly, I don’t enjoy chocolate by itself.  I ate a very large quantity of Hersey’s chocolate when I was about 8 years old, which made me very sick.  So I have this mental block about eating it by itself.  If you throw a couple of nuts in to it, I think its great.  No logic, just a weird thing with me.

    I will admit, that before I read you post, I had never thought much about different types of chocolate.  I found it to be very interesting.  I will now be paying more attention.

    • #1
  2. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    She: Hershey’s bless their heart, rejected Mondelez’s offer of a $23 billion takeover in 2016 and stands on its own.

    Not for want of trying. The majority of Hershey stock is owned by a charity, the Milton Hershey Trust, which oversees the Milton Hershey School (originally an industrial school for orphan boys.)

    It took intervention from then-Pennsylvania Attorney General Mike Fisher (R) to thwart the sale by arguing that the charity had an obligation to the entire community, not just itself.

    • #2
  3. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Thanks, @She. Cool post.

    On a completely unrelated subject (I am using my “Hijack a Thread Free” card), I got halfway through this thread and I said to myself, “Self,” I exclaimed, “you ought to send article to the wife and kids.  They would find it interesting.”*

    *(Aside: we’ve some real chocolate hounds in the family.  I’m not going to invoke any hackneyed sex stereotypes by observing that there is a coefficient of correlation of  +1.0 there somewhere.)

    I say this to myself often, as myself will testify, rolling its eyes.

    No, I don’t mean I say something like that.  I mean I probably use those exact same words.

    I always think, “I wonder how I could do that,” and, being a retired Data Processing Expert, of course I used to get paid for doing that sort of thing, and could do it again, but will no longer endure the opportunity cost.

    So then I always say to myself, “Self,” I murmur, “this would be a great feature to add to Ricochet, the ability to give friends temporary access to a particular interesting parcel of Ricochet content; perhaps we users could pay a little extra for the functionality, so (a) Ricochet  free cash flow would rise and (b) the most targeted, effective possible Customer Recruitment mechanism would be in effect.”

    Of course, that always ends the conversation, because, as I’m sure everyone who doesn’t like to read the next sentence (this one) will remind me, it is been discussed to death, and it ain’t gonna happen.  It would cost money with zero improvement to the Ricochet color scheme :-)

    But this time I thought, “hey,” I thought, “maybe it is already there–a new unannounced feature of the recent release!”

    So, is it?

    Handing this thread back to you, @She.

     

     

    • #3
  4. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    She: Recipes, particularly unusual ones are welcome.

    My reputation is bad enough already on the recipe front.

    • #4
  5. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Mark Camp (View Comment):
    So, is it?

    It’s been there. You just have to help get this promoted to the Main Feed, and then anyone can see it.

    • #5
  6. Kay of MT Member
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    I was a chocoholic until it was discovered that chocolate triggered migraines in me. About 10 years later I discovered I could eat one chocolate covered caramel but not two. So I have grieved for the last 20 years of having no chocolate.

    • #6
  7. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    Arahant (View Comment):

    She: Recipes, particularly unusual ones are welcome.

    My reputation is bad enough already on the recipe front.

    What, you put spinach in your chocolate too?  You monster!

    • #7
  8. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    She: Recipes, particularly unusual ones are welcome.

    My reputation is bad enough already on the recipe front.

    What, you put spinach in your chocolate too? You monster!

    Toldja.

    • #8
  9. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    My favorite chocolate is one made locally by a company called Anthony Thomas.  Still family owned, and only regionally available.  They make a milk chocolate that differs from Hersheys in being softer and richer, without being cloyingly sweet like Russel Stover.  Plus at Easter they make solid chocolate rabbits, in addition to the more common hollow types.  If you’re ever in Ohio, I highly recommend looking them up.

    I’ve never been all that wild about Hershey’s formulation, except with almonds or toffee.

    I have encountered the artisanal chocolateers, and so far I’ve not been all that impressed.  It’s fancy looking, I’ll grant, and I find their willingness to combine weird things into their candies generally fine (some combos have been just gross), but just not worth the added price.  I don’t find their candies any more enjoyable just because I paid more, or somehow have salved my conscience through “fair trade” (I consider Fair Trade to be a terrible scam – it’s like buying conscience credits, which sounds a lot like buying indulgences).

    • #9
  10. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    My favorite chocolate is one made locally…

    One of my closest friends owns Juliet Chocolates in Romeo, Michigan. Their chocolate tastes better than any other I have had. And I can go and watch it being made, which is fun.

    • #10
  11. Qoumidan Coolidge
    Qoumidan
    @Qoumidan

    Supposedly the European Cadbury chocolate egg is different and better than the American Cadbury chocolate egg.

    Many years ago I noticed the eggs had changed and I didn’t like them anymore.  I learned at some point that they changed the American eggs but not the European eggs. Because reasons, I suppose.

    So, this year, after abstaining from the eggs for around a decade, I decided to do a test.  I bought some imported Cadbury eggs and some local Cadbury eggs.

    The innards are in fact slightly different with the European eggs retaining a white and yoke differentiation and the American eggs sporting a uniform orangy mush.

    But…

    They taste exactly the same.

    I’m disappointed, to say the least.

     

     

    • #11
  12. Bob W Member
    Bob W
    @BobW

    Well, what to say. I’ve had a chocolate shoppe for 30 years ever since I left the aerospace industry.  If you want to talk about or taste good chocolate drop by “Pieces of Heaven” in Carmel California. We make over 100 different chocolates and other treats.  No I won’t give out any of my recipes.

    • #12
  13. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Sounds like a fair invite.

    • #13
  14. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    What lovely, sweet, and tasty comments!  To wit:

    Pony Convertible (View Comment):
    Recently I have found a love for chocolate covered coffee beans.

    I love those too.  This reminds me of a funny story.  Must try and work it into a post sometime.

    EJHill (View Comment):
    It took intervention from then-Pennsylvania Attorney General Mike Fisher (R) to thwart the sale by arguing that the charity had an obligation to the entire community, not just itself.

    Thanks for mentioning this.  Now that you remind me, I do vaguely remember the brouhaha surrounding a potential Hershey buyout.  The ‘charitable’ aspect, though, reminded me that Joseph Cadbury, J.S. Fry, and Joseph Rowntree were, to a man, Quakers and philanthropists, and all were dedicated to improving the quality of life for their employees through model village schemes and social reforms.  Milton Hershey was a Mennonite, had similar interests, and also built a ‘model town’ for his employees.  Not sure why this is, but what an interesting bunch.

    Kay of MT (View Comment):
    I was a chocoholic until it was discovered that chocolate triggered migraines in me. About 10 years later I discovered I could eat one chocolate covered caramel but not two. So I have grieved for the last 20 years of having no chocolate.

    So sad.  I understand it has that effect on some people, and it must be horrible.

    Arahant (View Comment):
    My reputation is bad enough already on the recipe front.

    Speaking of odd recipes, I returned a little while ago from standing in line at the State Store (yes, PA still has them) to buy a bottle of wine.  In front of me was a man with an enormous bottle of Chocovine, proudly proclaiming on the bottle that it’s the “Finest Blend of Red Wine and Dutch Chocolate.”  To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure how I feel about that . . .

    Qoumidan (View Comment):
    So, this year, after abstaining from the eggs for around a decade, I decided to do a test. I bought some imported Cadbury eggs and some local Cadbury eggs.

    The innards are in fact slightly different with the European eggs retaining a white and yoke differentiation and the American eggs sporting a uniform orangy mush.

    But…

    They taste exactly the same.

    Yes, sadly that’s more and more the case.  European Cadburys used to be very different from the American variety (which, for many years was made by Hershey; not sure if that’s still the case).  And it was better.

    Thanks, all, for the recommendations for local chocolates.  We lost our little factory a few years ago.  Dutch Hill Chocolates, in Altoona, PA are very good, I think.  Their dark chocolate with dark truffles are sublime.

    And, @bobw, the fact that I’ve managed to smoke out a chocolatier who’s been here under the radar for almost seven years is a source of great pride!  Trust me, if I ever make it over to your neck of the woods, I’ll be paying you a visit.

    • #14
  15. EB Thatcher
    EB
    @EB

    I LOVE chocolate.  I grew up on Hershey’s, but once I tasted Lindt, Ghiradelli, Godiva truffles, and some wonderful Swiss chocolates that you can apparently only get in Duty Free shops, I deserted them.  I do like dark chocolate the best.  But those 72% and 86% cacao ones are just a bridge too far.

    • #15
  16. Al French, sad sack Moderator
    Al French, sad sack
    @AlFrench

    Arahant (View Comment):

    She: Recipes, particularly unusual ones are welcome.

    My reputation is bad enough already on the recipe front.

    With very good reason.

    • #16
  17. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    A real treat, when I was a kid, was a chocolate sandwich, made with absolutely fresh bread, butter (Granny always bought Danish butter) and a crumbled Cadbury Flake bar.  Scrumptious!

    • #17
  18. EB Thatcher
    EB
    @EB

    She (View Comment):
    a crumbled Cadbury Flake bar

    My husband introduced me to Flake bars.  I would love to see how they make them with those thin, thin layers.

    • #18
  19. Al French, sad sack Moderator
    Al French, sad sack
    @AlFrench

    Portland has many hand made chocolate companies. My favorite is https://batchpdx.com/

     

    • #19
  20. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    This post is, once again, the perfect place to bang on about one of my hobby horses, the depressing state of Easter chocolates in the twenty-first century.

    When I was very small, Easter was my favorite holiday, even more so than Christmas.  Mostly for one reason: The gloriousness of the Chocolate Easter Egg that was on offer every year.

    One year, it was a hollow egg, stuffed with lovely individual chocolates, the two halves put together, nested in beautiful, fluffy, green, shredded artificial grass stuff, decorated with (real) candied violets, small rosebuds, and leaves (experience tells me they were probably mint leaves), wrapped in cellophane (when that was still a thing), and tied up with a wide and beautiful yellow ribbon.

    I’ve never forgotten that Easter.  That egg lives rent free inside my head, and almost makes me cry every time I think about it.  I’ve made hollow eggs myself a few times, and one year, I’m going to replicate it.  Candied flowers and all.  Watch this space.

    I find most of the “Easter candy” on offer these days revolting.

    My sister and I did a reality check on the eggs (although she doesn’t actually remember them) a few years ago, and came to the conclusion they may have come from Kunzles, a Birmingham cake and chocolate shop.  This page mentions the eggs, and the “edible flowers,” so perhaps that’s right.

    • #20
  21. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    She (View Comment):
    I find most of the “Easter candy” on offer these days revolting.

    I shall have to see if I can send you an Anthony Thomas candy egg next year then.  They’re not hollow (more on that in a moment), but do have a small cluster of candy flowers on top.

    The eggs are filled, and there are several varieties.  You can have one filled with peanut butter fudge (basically making it a giant buckeye), or chocolate fudge, coconut+chocolate fudge, or fruit and nut.  Since their chocolate tends to be softer and less brittle than something like Hershey’s, you can then slice up the candy eggs (they range from about 2″x4″ for the small, to 3″x6″ or so) and enjoy them over several days.

    • #21
  22. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    When my wife goes traveling to conferences, she usually tries to find a local chocolatier and bring some back.

    • #22
  23. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):
    I find most of the “Easter candy” on offer these days revolting.

    I shall have to see if I can send you an Anthony Thomas candy egg next year then. They’re not hollow (more on that in a moment), but do have a small cluster of candy flowers on top.

    The eggs are filled, and there are several varieties. You can have one filled with peanut butter fudge (basically making it a giant buckeye), or chocolate fudge, coconut+chocolate fudge, or fruit and nut. Since their chocolate tends to be softer and less brittle than something like Hershey’s, you can then slice up the candy eggs (they range from about 2″x4″ for the small, to 3″x6″ or so) and enjoy them over several days.

    I’d be honored.  Sounds delicious.

    • #23
  24. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    Something to remember on Cadbury.  Until quite recently, it was illegal to bring Cadbury into the US and call it “milk chocolate”, it had to be relabeled as (I think) “chocolate confectionary”.  This was because the FDA has a definition for what can be called Milk Chocolate, and it only allowed for limited variances in the ratios of cocoa, milk, cocoa butter, and sugar.  Cadbury was outside of FDA tolerances.  This would account for the differences in the Cadbury eggs between then and now too (and I agree – the current formula is terrible).

    My father in law is English, and as Cadbury was always difficult to source here unless you had an exotic foods import shop around, he would petition anyone traveling to the UK to bring back the candy for him, if at all possible.  My wife recalls that when her family would travel to the UK in the 80s, they’d always bring an extra empty suitcase and fill it up with Cadbury bars, jars of Branston Pickle, and boxes of tea (usually PG Tips).  Nowadays, most of this can be found in our local supermarket, even PG Tips.

    • #24
  25. Locke On Member
    Locke On
    @LockeOn

    My wife and I have a ‘Swiss connection’ – a friend who went expat and every couple of years reappears with bags of chocolatey delight.  The Swiss seem to have avoided the homogenizing effects of the EU.

    In the interim, we have found that Trader Joe’s chocolate bars are a good value.  I like the green boxed dark chocolate ones.

    • #25
  26. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Speaking of recipes, this one, for Mole Sauce, incorporating chocolate and hot peppers.  It’s delicious (ingredients excerpted below, to tempt you):

    2 cups chicken broth
    2 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
    2 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
    3 dried chipotle chiles, stemmed and seeded
    1 dinner roll, torn into pieces
    2 corn tortillas, cut into 1-inch strips
    2 tomatoes, cut in half crosswise
    5 tomatillos, cut in half crosswise
    1 tablespoon lard
    1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
    1/2 head garlic, peeled and sliced
    1/3 cup chopped peanuts
    1/4 cup raisins
    2 tablespoons cumin seeds
    1 tablespoon dried thyme
    3 cinnamon sticks
    5 whole cloves
    6 whole allspice berries
    5 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
    1 cup chicken broth
    3 tablespoons white sugar
    1 teaspoon salt

    (Just do your best with the peppers, no need to grow your own, there are plenty of websites where you can find heat and type comparisons.  And there’s always Amazon.)  I wouldn’t get fussed up about “lard” versus vegetable oil, either.  The chocolate is non-negotiable though.

    The first time I ever tried something like this was in the Adams-Morgan neighborhood of Washington DC in 1994.  I was on a junket for work, to an IBM Token Ring Networking class (token ring, hahaha, lol).  Mr. She was having his gall bladder removed, back home at the hospital where I worked, and I’d lined up a group of friends and neighbors to keep an eye on him and relay his condition to me as needed.

    There were about twenty people in the class, which was ably taught by Rodney Someone-or-Other from Plano, TX (funny, the things you remember).  My boss’s name was Rodney, and perhaps that’s why.

    Only three women.  The other two were with the military, Army and Navy.  We palled up, perhaps for obvious reasons, and found ourselves, one evening, at Enriqueta’s a tiny little place with gorgeous food.  Aside from the mole sauce, what I most remember about it was the hundreds of doilies hanging from the ceiling, each painstakingly colored with markers, and almost every one of which displayed an image of Ronald Reagan.

    Fun times.  And memorable food.

    • #26
  27. Bob W Member
    Bob W
    @BobW

    The US FDA rules on chocolate are much stricter than those in Europe. They allow for less actual chocolate base (called chocolate liquor).  Therefor the FDA does not allow the word chocolate to be used in the label. The chocolate manufactures in the US fought the use of vegetable and tropical oils to reduce the costs of producing chocolate.  That is also  why you do not see the term “white chocolate” on any products here.  Any thing labeled chocolate has to have a minimum amount  of chocolate liquor.  Chocolate liquor is dark brown 100% cocaco, can’t make it white. % amounts vary between milk and dark chocolate.

    Aa I said before we hand make all our chocolates. Just got through the Easter season of 10 hour days making eggs, bunnies and other speciality items.  Can relax a little now. Of course we feel we make the best, well our customers tell us so. It is rewarding when you get complements on your work.

     

    • #27
  28. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Bob W (View Comment):
    The US FDA rules on chocolate are much stricter than those in Europe. They allow for less actual chocolate base (called chocolate liquor). Therefor the FDA does not allow the word chocolate to be used in the label. The chocolate manufactures in the US fought the use of vegetable and tropical oils to reduce the costs of producing chocolate. That is also why you do not see the term “white chocolate” on any products here. Any thing labeled chocolate has to have a minimum amount of chocolate liquor. Chocolate liquor is dark brown 100% cocaco, can’t make it white. % amounts vary between milk and dark chocolate.

    Aa I said before we hand make all our chocolates. Just got through the Easter season of 10 hour days making eggs, bunnies and other speciality items. Can relax a little now. Of course we feel we make the best, well our customers tell us so. It is rewarding when you get complements on your work.

    Hm.  I might need to talk to you about Easter chocolates . . . . (I’ve never been a fan of “white” chocolate, BTW.  The more actual “chocolate,” IMHO, the better).

    • #28
  29. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Bob W (View Comment):
    Can relax a little now.

    What about Mother’s Day?

    • #29
  30. colleenb Member
    colleenb
    @colleenb

    Love Cadbury caramel eggs (not those others).  In fact, since they seem to be a limited run I start buying the caramel eggs in Lent and store them away for Easter season.  By the time Easter rolls around they are gone.  Either others like them a lot too or they make fewer of them.  Hate Peeps.  Is Peeps why Easter candy is just not as good as the old days?

    • #30

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