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Spotlight On Spices! Issue January 2012 - Cacao-Cocoa "Food of the Gods"
January 12, 2012
Happy New Year! Welcome to 2012 and another year of spicy living.
In trying to decide which spice would be an excellent candidate for being in this month’s spotlight, I considered what people seemed to be eating/drinking given the colder weather. It’s January and many are in the mood for hot cocoa and other similar hot tasty treats. Plus, considering next month’s upcoming celebration of Valentine’s Day and its chocolate highlights, I decided to do a two-month spread of …
THE SPICE OF LIFE - Cacao-Cocoa "Food of the Gods"
Cocoa-cacao is coveted by people all around the world. Annual world-wide production is over three million tons. There are many historical and trivia notes for cocoa, so let's start with a basic dictionary of cocoa terms, and continue in February with more in-depth information and links to delicious treats.
CACAO - COCOA TERMINOLOGY:
Cacao Tree - tropical tree that produces cocoa beans. Its Latin, botanical, name "Theobroma cacao" means "food of the gods." The average tree takes five years to produce its first pods, and then it will continue to produce pods for up to ten years.
Cocoa Pods - are the leather-like oval-shaped fruits of the cacao tree containing seeds ("beans").
Cocoa Bean - is the seed of the cacao tree's pods. It is only called a "bean" once it is removed from the pod.
Chocolate/Cocoa Nibs - the core/meat of the beans left after the shell is removed during the chocolate production process.
There are three major types of cocoa beans in the world:
Forestero Cocoa Beans - Most commonly grown and used. Over 90% of the world’s production are of this strain which are produced primarily in West Africa (Cote d’Ivoire).
Criollo Cocoa Beans - Premium strain grown primarily in the Central and South Americas.
Trinitario Cocoa Beans - Natural cross from varieties of Criollo and Forestero cocoa beans.
Chocolate Liquor - this liquid is obtained by grinding the cocoa nibs.
Natural Cocoa - Untreated cocoa having all of its natural acidity.
Dutch Processed - Process wherein the nib or liquor is treated with an alkali solution after roasting. This process reduces the acidity resulting in a mellower cocoa product. The name honors the Dutchman, C. J. Van Houten, who developed the process.
Conching - A step in the chocolate-making process wherein cocoa liquor, cocoa butter and sugar are blended, and then mixed under heat by large agitators, called "conches."
We'll continue in February ...
January is the Month for:
National Oatmeal Month
National Slow Cooking Month
National Soup Month
And, some of our favorite food days in the month include:
January 3 National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day
January 4 National Spaghetti Day
January 10 National Bittersweet Chocolate Day
January 19 National Popcorn Day
January 20 National Cheese Lover's Day
January 22 National Blonde Brownie Day
January 23 National Pie Day
January 24 National Peanut Butter Day
January 28 National Blueberry Pancake Day
January 29 National Corn Chip Day
January 30 National Croissant Day
SPICY TIDBITSCheck here for the latest news on any spice recalls, market withdrawals, and safety alerts:
MERCHANTS & RETAILERS:Websites for Spice Retailers:
Atlantic Spice Company - www.atlanticspice.com
Durkee® - www.durkee.com
McCormick® - www.mccormick.com
Milford Spice Company - www.milfordspice.com
Penzeys Spices - www.penzeys.com
Savory Spice Shop - www.savoryspiceshop.com
Spice Islands® - www.spiceislands.com
The Spice House - www.thespicehouse.com
Spice Accessories Websites:
Bottles, Containers & Jars:
Bottle Store - www.bottlestore.com
eBottles.com - www.ebottles.com
SKS Bottle & Packaging, Inc. - www.sks-bottle.com
Online Labels - www.onlinelabels.com
Tubular Spices - www.tubularspices.com/Spice_Racks.asp
Spice Rack Source - www.spiceracksource.com/all-spice-racks/
YOUR TURNTell us what you would love to see in our monthly eZine. We want to keep this publication fresh and relevant. We want to put a spotlight on the herbs and spices that are of the most interest to you.
Use our Contact Form to give us constructive feedback or ask questions. Thank you!
Eat Well. Live Well. Cook everyday with spices and herbs!
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