Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Low-Calorie, No-Melt Chocolate

How could I have a Chocolate Blog and not mention Callebaut's new low-calorie, no-melt chocolate. Vulcano is the internal code name for this new product by Swiss chocolate manufacturer (dare I say chocolatier?). It's all very top secret, and I'm a little curious about how they did it, but really, who wants to eat chocolate that doesn't melt? There's something wrong here.

This product was developed by an international team of food engineers (key word: food engineer), and has 90% fewer calories than the average chocolate product. It is also heat-resistant to temperatures of up to 55C (131F). Most chocolate starts to melt at 30 degrees C. Not surprisingly, the company aims to target calorie-conscious European and US markets as well as emerging markets in Asia and Africa where high temperatures hinder the spread of chocolate.

"It's called Vulcano because it can be eaten when it's hot [outside], and it's airy and full of bubbles, like volcanic rock," said Gaby Tschofen, a spokeswoman for Barry Callebaut, which annually makes 1.1m tons of cocoa and chocolate-based products for customers around the world, including Cadburys and Nestlé. WARNING!!

Maybe low calorie is good, but really, no melt? Is there any cocoa butter left in the chocolate? What about the taste?

Food engineer Simone Cantz told Swiss television, "Suddenly we realised we'd produced a very special chocolate, of a crispy, light consistency, like an airy foam, and we thought let's see if we can develop this further." Tschofen said she could not give away Vulcano's recipe, but she had tried it also, "It's nice and chocolatey, with a strong aroma, and crispy rather than creamy.

Does this sound like something you want to try? Call me a sceptic, but I eat chocolate because it is rich and creamy and, well, fabulous. I'm not much for 'airy foam.'

Callebaut says, "It does melt in the mouth, but it is the enzymes in saliva rather than the heat of the tongue that causes it to dissolve." I love chocolate that is already a little warm when I eat it. And, as far as volcanos go, I like them in Hawaii and in my own volcano chocolate cake, using real chocolate.

FYI: Hershey experimented with a melt-proof chocolate during WWII. The article I read said it didn't go into production commercially, but I have tasted it. Yes, some 30 years or so after the war, I was living on an old de-commissioned WWII research vessel, and we found army (navy?) rations. I don't know enough about the kind of rations they were (C?), but there was a Hershey bar in each package. Not your usual Hershey bar, but a small squat bar that tasted, sorry Hershey's, like a mix between chalk and baker's chocolate. O.K. it was really, really old. Maybe it tasted better when it was first made. Maybe. It certainly had a long shelf-life.

What's the shelf-life on this new Callebaut chocolate? Too long for my taste.


Anonymous said...

How many calories are in this chocolate?

Janet Rudolph said...

Callebaut says 5 calories, but I think that depends on how much you use, don't you? Sorry I don't have a better answer.