What is chocolate?

Chocolate is a food product made from the seeds of the tropical cacao tree. The earliest known use of the cacao in food was in a drink around 1000 BCE. Chocolate in the form that we think of didn't happen until much later.

What's the difference between "cacao" and "cocoa?"

"Cacao" is the bean that comes from the cacao tree, which is known by the scientific name of Theobroma cacao. "Cocoa" is what the bean is called after it has been processed. In the United States, cacao is often referred to simply as cocoa.

How does a chocolate factory make chocolate?

Chocolate begins with the cacao bean, which is grown in warm regions of the world such as Brazil and western Africa. After cacao beans have been picked, fermented, dried and shipped, they are taken to the chocolate factory. The cacao beans are then roasted, typically anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. Afterwards, the shells are separated from the insides and go through a process called "milling." Milling turns the remaining insides into a pure chocolate liquid called "chocolate liquor" (although it contains no alcohol). Baking chocolate is simply cooled and hardened chocolate liquor. This chocolate liquor then goes through additional manufacturing steps depending on the particular product being made. Oftentimes it is combined with other products such as cocoa butter, milk, sugar and/or other ingredients.

Does Burke Candy make their chocolate on site?

Yes. We produce our own chocolate in small batches to ensure maximum freshness and quality.

Is Burke Candy's chocolate kosher?

Yes, our chocolate is certified kosher and we are the only 100% Kosher candy maker in Milwaukee.

How long does chocolate last?

Dark chocolate will last about 5 years due to the antioxidants in it. Milk chocolate, because it contains milk solids, needs to be used within 1 year.

What is the best way to store chocolate?

Many people think that storing chocolate in a refrigerator is a good thing, but in fact it is probably the worst place to put it. A refrigerator is too moist for chocolate and since chocolate will absorb odors and tastes from anything near it, there are many things in the fridge that can spoil its taste. Chocolate begins to melt at about 85 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are comfortable, the chocolate will be fine. Although lower temperatures and drier climate will prolong the shelf life of chocolate, regular room temperature, without big swings from hot to cold, will keep chocolate fine for 3-5 months. When you absolutely must store chocolate for a long period of time, freezing will be best. Wrap it tightly and when you take it out, let it thaw at room temperature outside of the packing used to freeze it.

What is white chocolate?

White chocolate is a bit of a contradiction. Technically, in order to be classified as "chocolate" as per federal standards, a product must contain chocolate liquor. However, white chocolate doesn't (hence its white color). Instead, it's a mix of cocoa butter, milk, sugar, and flavorings.

Are there health benefits from eating chocolate?

Research suggests that chocolate in moderation can have some positive benefits. It may help with circulatory health, and dark chocolate may help prevent heart disease.

Ten Facts about Chocolate

1. The smell of chocolate induces relaxation by increasing theta brainwaves 2. Aztecs & Mayans used cacao beans as currency because they were so valuable 3. Africa accounts for 70% of the world’s cacao. The Ivory Coast produces half of that 4. One square of dark chocolate reduces stress because it causes the brain to release endorphins 5. Dark chocolate is rich in healthy flavonols 6. A recent study found that chocolate intake was “positively associated” with cognitive performance 7. More than twice as many women than men eat & crave chocolate 8. Eating dark chocolate everyday reduces the risk of heart disease by a third 9. Chocolate has over 600 flavor compounds (red wine has about 200) 10. A cacao bean naturally contains almost 300 different flavors and 400 separate aromas

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