You have most probably heard of cocoa butter. It’s found in chocolate, in cosmetics, creams and ointments and even in some pharmaceutical products. But what do you really know about what is rapidly being seen by many to be a super food? |
Cocoa Butter Facts
Cocoa butter is extracted from cocoa beans. After the beans are fermented and roasted, the next stage in the process involves grinding the beans (nibs) into a paste known as chocolate liquor. Finally, the chocolate liquor is pressed to separate the cocoa butter (which makes up around 55% of the liquor) from cocoa solids.
Pure cocoa butter is a pale yellow colour with a flavour that can be quite bitter – like eating 100% chocolate. The fat’s low melting temperature of between 34 and 38 Celsius is what give you that luxurious “melt in the mouth” sensation when you eat chocolate with high concentrations of the fat.
For various reasons, cocoa butter is becoming increasingly expensive. This has caused some chocolate suppliers to go for products where other vegetable oils have been substituted to reduce costs. However, there are strict regulations as to the quantity of alternative fats that can be used whilst still calling the final product chocolate. In the United States, no substitute fats are allowed and in the EU, a maximum of 5% of the total fat content can be substituted with an alternative to cocoa butter. Substitute vegetable fats include: soybean oil, rapeseed oil, cottonseed oil, shea butter, mango kernel fat and palm oils. If in doubt – check the ingredients list.
Naturally Long Shelf Life
One of the most important qualities of cocoa butter is its exceptionally long shelf life of 2-5 years when stored at room temperature. This is an added benefit for chocolate suppliers and manufactures as their products will also have a longer shelf life making them more attractive to the consumer. Shelf life and product quality are further improved thanks to cocoa butter’s high levels of anti-oxidants which prevent the butter (and products made with it) from turning rancid.
Health Benefits of Cocoa Butter
Apart from being an essential ingredient in chocolate, cocoa butter has proved to be a highly versatile and positive product in many other ways.
Anti-Aging: Cocoa butter contains high concentrations of anti-oxidants such as oleic acid, palmitic acid, and stearic acid. These compounds help neutralize free radicals and contribute to the health of our skin. Cocoa butter can assist in smoothing out wrinkles (but not completely) and make scar tissue less evident.
Hair Treatments: Cocoa butter moisturizes your hair, and is also thought to lower the occurrence of dandruff and promote healthier hair follicles.
Reduce Inflammation: Cocoa butter is said to have a beneficial effect for sufferers from psoriasis, eczema, rashes, or other types of body inflammations. If you’re a chocolate lover (and who isn’t!) eating cocoa butter rich chocolate can have almost the same effect.
Chocolate suppliers stock chocolates with varying percentages of cocoa solids – but this doesn’t tell you what the percentage of cocoa butter is. White chocolate usually has the highest percentage of cocoa butter as it contains none of the dark chocolate solids that go into other chocolate bars.
If you want to know, check the ingredients list or ask your chocolate suppliers. If they don’t know they’ll be able to find out for you.
Angelina Moufftard works for HF Chocolates, high quality chocolate suppliers to the retail trade and others who wish to purchase wholesale quantities of chocolate and confectionery. Renowned since 1957, we've sourced the best suppliers from France, Spain, Germany, Holland, Belgium, the USA and UK. Our great tasting and beautifully packaged products also represent excellent value for money.
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