The invention of the cocoa press in 1828 made possible separating the natural fat in cocoa beans, called cocoa butter, from the bean solids. This not only improved the consistency and taste of the remaining cocoa powder but made possible the development of solid chocolate. Eating chocolate or solid chocolate, as opposed to drinking chocolate, was first produced in 1847 in Fry’s chocolate factory in Bristol, England. Solid chocolate is a combination of cocoa powder, sugar, cocoa butter and often flavorings like vanilla. In 1879 Swiss Henri Nestle and Daniel Peter developed milk chocolate by combining solid chocolate with milk powder. Experimentation in France and Switzerland led to the development of ganache.
Ganache is the center component of a truffle. Ganache is a velvety smooth combination of solid semisweet chocolate and cream. Cooked at just the right temperature it cools to form a rich and firm paste with intense chocolate flavor. A truffle is a confection made of a round ganache center, often flavored, covered with a shell of milk, dark or white chocolate. Truffles are often covered in cocoa powder, sugar or finely chopped nuts.
Perhaps originating in France, the truffle is named for its visual similarity to the French mushroom-like fungus of the same name. Like the original truffle, chocolate truffles have become synonymous with luxury and a sumptuous taste experience. Truffles are made in a wide variety of tastes. In many chocolate houses the Chocolatier’s finest ingredients are reserved for the truffle.
For more information about other forms of chocolate see additional e-zine articles by this author.