A Project of
|Guidelines||Rants||Patterns||Poems||Services||Classes||Press||Blog||Resources||About Us||Site Map|
For details on the ideas:
1. Trim that Text!
The Ultimate Challenge
Analyze the text in these web pages, deciding what ought to be done to the text to make it work on the web. Then rewrite the entire Chocorama site. (Raw text follows the list of pages, and the photo of the Cacao tree).
The Cacao Tree
How we make chocolate
Health Plus and Minus
Chocolate as a Mood Enhancer
Chocolate in History
Lap Up These Resources
Nobody knows exactly where chocolate originates from, exactly, though we can hypothesize, basically, that it comes, eventually, from the beans of the genus Theobroma cacao, colloquially known as the cacao tree. Said tree has many, many green pods, which, upon being cut open, contain white pulp, which forms sort of a cushion or padding around a bunch of purple seeds, which are, in fact, the cacao beans, from which we can make chocolate. If one were to eat one raw, it would taste bland, with a soupcon, or perhaps an aftertaste affecting the flavor of bittersweet chocolate. But of course, to prepare and manufacture real chocolate, the beans must be dried and processed. To come at last to the origination point of the tree itself, it is widely known where that tree comes from, which is in locations within Central and South America. Now cacao trees can be discovered in Asia, Africa, and the South Pacific.
Agrarian agriculturalists appreciate the many virtues of the tree from which they harvest the beans that go to make chocolate, because said tree is relatively facilient for planting and propagation. A resilient and Spartan tree, it survives tempestuous weather such as tropical storms and hurricanes. Erosion is often prevented by this tree. Domesticated animals of the bovine, porcine, and ovis aries, or sheep persuasion, deign to consider the husks as edible nutrient.
Chocolate Preparation and Manufacturing
You start by picking the right beans. There are many varieties. Picking the right combination is crucial. You roast each kind of bean, then use a machine to remove the outside shell, or hull. This machine, called the winnower, removes the hull, leaving you with the nibs, full of the cacao powder and fat. You then heat the nibs, and grind them up. You get a liquid called chocolate liquor, and cocoa butter. You then grind the chocolate liquor to make it easy to chew, adding ingredients such as sugar, milk, vanilla, or nuts, to make different flavors. You pour the mixture into a big machine that stirs, and shakes, and aerates the chocolate to make it smooth. This process, known as "conching" goes on for almost a week. Then you pour out the chocolate into molds. When it has cooled, you pop the chocolate out of the mold, wrap it, and ship it.
Medical and Health Aspects
It is not unlikely that chocolate has almost no impact on acne and cavities, not causing either. Cocoa butter plaque prevention takes place through forming a film on the teeth. Of course, this is not to deny that the sugar within the chocolate in a candy bar has a negative impact on tooth cavity prevention maintenance.
Heart disease prevention may be supported by antioxidant phenolic chemical components within chocolate, which prevent fat from oxidizing, thus mixing with oxygen, which is the way that plaque is formed, in your arteries.
Mood Improvement Aspects
Many people feel that chocolate makes them feel in a good mood. As a mood enhancer, chocolate is well known. But the reasons for this reputation are not exactly clear. According to some scientists, there are several ingredients that may be involved with lifting your spirits, such as caffeine, which wakes you up, and theobromine, which stimulates you, and phenylethylamine, which acts to make you alert, a little like the way amphetamines do, working on the part of the brain that helps people to pay attention, and anandamine, a chemical that is already produced naturally within the brain itself, and acts on brain cells to give you a little lift, or buzz, or high, and other chemicals that keep that high going, because they prevent the andamine from breaking down. As to the possible aphrodisiac aspects of the chocolate experience, research continues at the Mayo Clinic, as seen in this link: http://www.mayo.com/choco, a sensual site.
From the Mayans to Us
When one of the Spanish sailors dropped a cacao bean, Columbus’ son noted "They all stooped to pick it up, as if an eye had fallen." That was when Columbus discovered cacao beans, after he seized a dugout canoe full of cargo for sale. Evidently, the natives considered cacao beans a form of money.
The Aztecs made "Chocolatl" a delicious cold drink, by combining the cacoa powder with various ingredients, most often chile water, vanilla, flowers, and honey. Choco meant foam, and atl meant water.
The Mayan Indians originally traded the beans for jade, cloth, and feathers. The Mayans ground up the cacao beans and mixed them with chile peppers, in a cold beverage. Through trade, they introduced the beans to the Aztecs, who were living in the Valley of Mexico.
In Europe, the taste spread. After Cortez popularized the beans, and people got the taste of them, the Dutch, English, French started growing cacao in their own colonies. Chocolate flooded Europe. In England, teahouses became chocolate houses. At first, sugar cost so much that the drink was expensive. Only aristocrats could afford to drink it. But later even ordinary people could afford a hot chocolate. Back when Hernando Cortez brought back chests of the beans, a Spanish chef had substituted sugar for chile, and hot chocolate was born.
You’ll Lap Up These Resource Links
Chocolate has seized the imagination of scientists, candymakers, and consumers. Here are some great links for you to surf on over to, if you want to know more.
Take a taste of Baking and Sweets International, a German site made up especially for candymakers, with inside information about chocolate, at http://www.foodmultimedia.de/bsi/.
Botanical.com: A Modern Herbal—Medical, mostly. http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/cacao-02.html
If you are really into scientific research, facts and flavonoids, and news, you may want to click this link to a Mars site, literally, ha ha, it is the candy company. http://www.chocolateinfo.com/index.jsp
From Jamaica comes this local-oriented history of chocolate, with some info on the chemical ingredients of cacao, because the writer is a professor of chemistry at the University of West Indies, in Jamaica, you know. http://wwwchem.uwimona.edu.jm:1104/lectures/cocoa.html
http://www.geocities.com/NapaValley/6454/chocolate.html — Tallyrand’s Culinary Fare includes this dense history chocolate, and a recipe for Aztec chocolate drinks.
Research on ways that chocolate supports your immune system, at the site for Immune Support, that is, http://www.immunesupport.com/library/showarticle.cfm/ID/3464/, with stuff on lowering your blood pressure, clearing your arteries, strengthening your heart. Health benefits.
Chocolate’s frothy past – You’ll lap up this BBC review of the way Mayans drank chocolate, with a picture of one of their chocolate kettles. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/2134488.stm
http://www.datasweet.de/ Taste this! A veritable database called Datasweet, for confectioners, with a special interest in chocolate.
Travel on over to Sweet Seduction – A connoisseur’s appreciation of the history and variety of cacoa species, with insight into historical manufacturing, and recipes. http://travellady.com/articles/article-sweet.html
The International Cocoa Organization – http://www.icco.org/
How the manufacture of chocolate solves problems in material science, so it melts fast and tastes good. (PDF format) http://www.mrs.org/membership/preview/dec2000bull/Fryer.pdf
Writing that Works!