Uncertainty and fear have set in as a result of the pandemic. It has been difficult for many of us to readjust to our new everyday lives. There is a pressing desire to return to life as it was before the outbreak. Today, we look for solace in the things we know and love, like our favorite foods. Since the pandemic began, there has been a surge in demand for foods that evoke pleasant memories. Chocolates, being decadent, delicious, and soothing, now hold a special place in people’s hearts. In the last year, chocolate consumption has changed in many ways due to the advent of new fashions, the increase in consumption, and the growing curiosity about its production.
On this World Chocolate Day, we take a look at the growing interest in DIY chocolate making, the rise in the use of dark chocolate, and the shift in attention toward healthier chocolate varieties.
In the past year, chocolate consumption has increased.
In spite of the epidemic, 21 percent of Indians eat chocolate every day, per a Mintel survey.
“A lot of people started baking at home because of the pandemic, which increased chocolate consumption,” says celebrity chef Pooja Dhingra. I’ve noticed an uptick in the popularity of baking chocolate in recent years, and many smaller-scale companies are developing their own versions. In today’s world, it’s vital to know the ins and outs of chocolate production, from where the beans come to the final product.
Chocolate shop owner Swati Rangwani from Ahmedabad adds, “People feared to eat chocolates and cream/ganache-based cakes first, but finally, when the lockdown stretched, the sale of packaged chocolates also surged.” In order to alleviate their stress and worry, many people said that eating chocolate helped.
As the author puts it, “dark and vegan chocolates are trending presently.”
The epidemic has caused many to reevaluate their own habits. A major cultural shift has occurred, with a new emphasis being placed on wholesome, plant-based diets. There has been a shift in the way chocolate is consumed.
“People are going for healthier and more sustainable options in chocolate,” says Mini Ribeiro, a food critic, and expert. Due to its high saturated fat content, regular chocolate has been supplanted by a growing trend in darker chocolate, specifically milk chocolate containing 40–50% cacao solids. Vegan chocolate is becoming increasingly popular as the popularity of plant-based diets continues to grow. To put it simply, chocolate is vegan since it uses only plant-based ingredients. Traditional vegans do not consume milk chocolates since they contain milk. Now that plant-based milk like coconut, oat, almond, and rice are so widely available, even milk chocolate can be considered vegan.
Dhingra chimes in, “It’s been fascinating to see as consumers embrace bean-to-bar chocolates and savor the deeper, more robust cocoa flavor.”
Novel flavor combinations are being tried out.
The time has come for people to branch out and try new and interesting chocolate combinations.
“Unique flavors have piqued people’s curiosity,” says Ribeiro.Chocolates flavored with wasabi, citrus, and even beetroot are becoming increasingly fashionable. Chef Ajit Kumar of Pune chimes in: “Healthy eating is the new normal.” Even chocolate has been given a facelift, with many manufacturers and chefs using healthier ingredients. Chocolates with unusual flavors like lemon and ginger are gaining popularity. There has been a recent trend among chefs toward using organic ingredients like honey in chocolate production.
Do any chocolates pass the vegan test?
In order to create chocolate, the seeds of the Theobroma cacao tree are fermented and dried. As a result, chocolate can be considered a food item derived from plants. Chocolates, on the other hand, typically include components such as cocoa butter, sugar, emulsifiers, and milk. Manufacturers of milk chocolate have begun substituting nondairy milk like soy, almond, oat, rice, and coconut for dairy milk as a growing number of people opt for a vegan diet and lifestyle.