Vulcano: no-melt, low-calorie chocolate

Everyone’s all aflutter with the news that Callebaut has developed a low-calorie, no-melt chocolate. Actually, I’m not sure that everyone’s excited about the same thing. Most people seem to be excited about the low-calorie part. I’ll bet people in hot places are excited about the no-melt part.

I’m not so keen on either. I’ll admit to mild scientific curiosity as to how they engineered chocolate that melts above 50 degrees Celsius, rather than at the standard 30 degrees Celsius. I’m guessing that they took out most of the cocoa butter, which is largely responsible for chocolate’s meltiness and calories. But then what? Chocolate alchemy, I suppose.

Callebaut plans to market its chocolate as no-melt in Asia and Africa, and as low-calorie in Europe and the U.S.

Okay, it’s pretty cool. I give them that. Let’s take a minute and reflect in the infinite coolness that is Vulcano.

…And then let’s get back to reality. Why do you eat chocolate? Do you eat it because you like it? Why do you like it? Is it the taste? The meltiness? The mouth-feel? The antioxidants? The flavonoids?

Can you name just one reason?

How about this wacky idea: you like chocolate because it’s pleasurable. It tastes good. It melts on your tongue. It causes your brain to release happy-making endorphins. It’s all of these things. It’s a pleasurable experience, and one that you can experience in public without getting arrested.

God forbid that we should actually take pleasure in something. A few years ago, people started talking about chocolate as an antioxidant-rich superfood—a preventative piece of dark chocolate a day keeps the cardiac surgeon away. Mass-market chocolate bar companies started selling individually wrapped portions of their bars so that people could eat just one, without feeling guilty. Chocolate as a form of medicine, chocolate as a source of guilt.

Guilt and pleasure have always, and will forever be, inextricably linked.

I heard a woman at the Seattle Luxury Chocolate Salon ask how many calories were in a sample she was eating. I’ve heard some crazy things, but that’s pretty high on my list. Honey, look around you. You’re in a room with thousands of pounds of chocolate. Calories go out the window at something like that. Suck it up and eat the chocolate, or just stay home. This in-between, guilt-laden space? Not cool.

Eat chocolate because you like it. Period.

Published by: Eagranie

7 years as a chemist + 9 months of culinary school + 2 years as a pastry chef & chocolatier + a lifetime of writing = this blog. This blog won't always be about chocolate, but it will almost certainly be about food. The name of the blog is a triple play on words. 1. It's a nod to my training as a classical pianist. Among other fantastic accomplishments, J.S. Bach combined technical prowess with artistic inspiration and penned the 24 preludes & fugues that make up The Well-Tempered Clavier, Books I and II. 2. In order to behave properly, chocolate needs to be tempered. In a nutshell, tempering prompts the chocolate to assume its most stable crystalline form (beta prime, if you're interested) so that it is shiny, snappy, and as stable as it can be. 3. Depending on my mood and how we meet, you might agree that I'm well-tempered. Or not.

Categories 2009, Food scienceTags, 3 Comments

3 thoughts on “Vulcano: no-melt, low-calorie chocolate”

  1. Apparently, kids these days are drinking Coke Zero instead.

    FYI: Diet Coke is sweetened entirely with aspartame (with some residual saccharin, depending on where you are) while Coke Zero uses a mixture of aspartame and acesulfame potassium.

    (Apparently, Coke Zero tastes more like actual Coke…but I can’t speak to that personally.)

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