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“WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO CHOCOLATE?”

Versatile and delicious, who doesn’t love chocolate? There’s really no better time of year than Easter to make it shine, so here’s our low-down on the differences in variety and best usage for each…. making it that little bit easier for you to start going loco for your cocoa.

There is a ‘PC’ push on at the moment to get rid of chocolate at supermarket checkouts in Australia.

We know, right?!

That sweet sugar rush is perhaps the only incentive to get up off the couch and get to the shops, avoiding a third consecutive night of home delivery.

But while you are munching on your extra-sized Kit Kat, take a look into your trolley.

We’re foodies, and our shopping list is usually full of the finest, freshest ingredients we can get our hands in  order to whip up the best dinners possible.

Now have a look back at that Kit Kat (or at least, what’s left of it). Why on Earth are we not incorporating chocolate into the equation when it comes to our foodie prowess?

We aren’t recommending tossing supermarket checkout chocolate into your food processor, but what we can offer you is the go-to list of chocolate products and a basic run-down of the gourmet treats you can whip up using them.

We all know chocolate is good, but it can be so much gooderer when paired with certain foods. So next time, give the Kit Kat a miss, grab yourself a nice big block of one of the following and start getting creative in the kitchen…

Dark Chocolate
It is decadent, it is rich and it delivers more health benefits than any other variety of chocolate (in most instances).

Here, you need to look at the total cocoa content, it’s usually splashed in a ridiculously large font on the front of the label. The higher the number, the higher the volume of ‘flavanols’ or ‘flavanoids’ (the healthy stuff that can improve blood pressure and cognitive function).

But this is a balancing act, as the higher the cocoa content, the richer it will be.

For cakes, cheesecakes and brownies, this is the chocolate you want in your basket.

Milk Chocolate
Milk chocolate is the one you will be most familiar with – the remnants of Kit Kat you are currenly wiping off your maw is made almost completely from it.

Of course, this variety is loaded with sugar to deliver the sweet taste, and the health benefits are lower because there is less cocoa. But we all get to indulge every now and then, right? Just be mindful of portion size.

This type of chocolate works well in lighter-textured dishes like mousse, ganache or frosting for cakes.
It also makes for a good addition to muffins and cakes in chip form.

White Chocolate
Technically, this is not a chocolate. It is a derivative made from cocoa butter, sugar and milk solids – which gives it the much lighter colour and milky taste.

Cocoa butter is what gets smooshed out of cocoa when they are turning that into real chocolate.

But that doesn’t mean the milky variant should be ignored. Just beware, it’s lighter name and visuals are a bit of a trick. White chocolate actually has more calories and saturated fats than both dark and milk chocolate.

It is very good for tart fillings, cheesecakes, panna cotta and custard. At the festive time of year, it is the crucial ingredient in white Christmas as well.

Cooking Chocolate
Here is the distinction: Cooking chocolate isn’t sweetened. Even dark chocolate has sweeteners added, so you don’t want to be chomping a wedge out of a block of cooking chocolate. This is a preferred option for the professionals as it melts
faster, shapes easier and has a lovely gloss finish for presentation. Sweeteners can always be added during the cooking process, after all.

Great fun for all chocolate recipes, a terrible idea for your post-shopping treat straight out of the packet.

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