September 13, 2008

You Ask, I Answer: Chocolate Processed With Alkali

Sometimes I see "chocolate (processed with alkali)" as an ingredient on food labels.

What is that all about?

-- (Name Withheld)
Brooklyn, NY

Processing chocolate with alkali is known as the "Dutch method."

Take note, dear readers: any chocolate product labeled "Dutch chocolate" is not making reference to the cocoa beans' origin, but rather to this very processing technique!

The purpose of treating cocoa with an alkalizing agent? To remove its bitter taste and infuse it with a darker and more uniform color.

The trade-off?

Cocoa beans processed with alkali loses the flavonoids and antioxidants found in raw cocoa nibs or very dark chocolate (think 85% cocoa).


Anonymous said...

Its a cheaper way of producing cocoa, pure and simple. This method has taken my ability to eat choclate almost away entirely, as I am allergic to alkali. Since I was a small child this has been the case. I break out with whelps all over my body whenever I have even a small amount of chocolate made this way. It used to be just a few did this, and you had to be careful, but now almost all cocoa is processed this way. Almost every product that used to be "safe" for me to eat, is no longer. I tried some hot chocoalte that used to not list this that did not break me out 2 winters ago, that this past winter changed over to see if maybe they had always processed this way and just began listing it. Sure enough, I needed two Benadryl 20 minutes later to calm down the hives. This sucks! People should be mad about this process in general. Look up how alkali is made. Sick.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anonymous

I think I react your way to industrial chocolate although it seems a recent feature, not something inherited from my childhood like you.

Do you advise me websites where I could learn more about allergy to alkali traces in food ?