Chocolate can be used in many different ways, shapes and forms. For example, there are spas in the U.S. that specialize in chocolate therapy! This includes bathing in chocolate, using chocolate-based lotions and products, chocolate massages and more! However, despite all the amazing things we can do with chocolate (aside from eating it), there are three “hacks” we should actually avoid for the safety of our bodies and taste buds.
- Don’t pair sparkling beverages with chocolate. Due to the acidity in carbonation-based drinks, pairing them with chocolate can cause a tart taste in the mouth. According to experts, it’s best to pair wine with chocolate, and to base them on their color. The lighter and sweeter the wine, the darker the chocolate can be. Most people assume a dry red wine should be paired with a bitter dark chocolate, but all that will do is leave a coating on your tongue due to the natural tannins in wine and chocolate. Better to use a sweeter chocolate with a dryer wine. When drinking a white wine such as chardonnay, experts say you can pair it with white chocolate. With milk chocolate, it’s best to pair it with a fruity wine or sweet drink. It’s said that pairing your chocolate with a slightly sweeter beverage will ensure that you won’t be left with a bitter taste in your mouth.
- Do not keep tempered chocolate in too cold or too humid or a place. Chocolate is extremely finicky when being made and it takes a specific temperature and humidity to have it turn out just right. When working with chocolate, the room has to be dry and anywhere between 63-72 degrees. The same conditions apply for storing chocolate after you’ve purchased it. It takes a certain amount of time and exposure to heat for the chocolate to melt and be poured into molds. Also, chocolatiers must ensure that chocolate molds are completely dry, as moisture can cause blooming (where the cocoa butter separates from the chocolate itself and causes a white layer of film over the chocolate). Blooming is not necessarily bad, as you can eat it, it just doesn’t look too pretty and will have to be re-tempered if being sold. Be sure to keep your chocolate stored in a dry, cool room and don’t put it in a refrigerator or freezer; chocolate loves to be at room temperature.
- Don’t just melt some chocolate chips to make fondue, molds or other chocolate treats. Sure chocolate chips are small, easy to melt and fun to eat, but a big mistake people make with using chocolate is starting with the wrong kind. Sure chocolate chips are great additions to cookies and brownies, but they don’t make a good topping for, say, a chocolate lava cake. It’s important to do your research on what type of chocolate to use for whatever you’re experimenting with. For example, if you browse the baking aisles of the store, you might notice slight differences in the chocolate. Chocolate chips are separated from chocolate morsels because they melt differently and therefore are used for different reasons. Baking chocolate, which comes in chunks, is best for tempering and using for molds. That fondue? Use a soft ganache – a mixture of dark chocolate chunks and heavy cream.
There are many helpful websites and articles out there with tips and tricks on how to find the right chocolate for what you’re doing!