- THE MAGAZINE
- FOOD MASTER
While the words, “healthy chocolate,” might seem an oxymoron, the Healthy Chocolate Company of Sarasota, FL stands by its name, specializing in the production of nutritious artisan chocolate that doesn’t compromise on taste. The company’s secret lies in disguising health-supporting ingredients, including herbs and organic substances, in a dark chocolate bar. Physicist and President of Healthy Chocolate Dr. Aharon Friedman formulated the chocolate recipe after enduring his own struggle with diabetes.
Friedman sought a way to incorporate this herbal formulation into food that would be of interest to those suffering from obesity or diabetes, especially children. Unfortunately, the herbs and ingredients Friedman was working with weren’t tasty, especially by a child’s standards.
Because chocolate is a universal treat enjoyed by people of all ages, it presented an opportunity for Friedman. “The obvious problem with making chocolate healthy is that sugar comprises half of its ingredients, which is hardly a help to people already overweight,” says Friedman.
“I began considering xylitol, which is classified as a sugar alcohol, but has the nearest chemical composition to glucose, a natural substance in the body,” he says. “Unlike other sugar alcohols, xylitol doesn’t cause extra work for the liver.” But xylitol is problematic as an ingredient.
The alkaline solution introduced during the chocolate-making process to neutralize acidity caused xylitol to oxidize quickly, leading to a release of water, a hardened mixture and a burning taste caused by free carbon. It took almost three years to overcome this limitation.
“At the time, we felt making the chocolate ourselves was far too costly, so we thought our only option was to rely on a supplier for bulk couverture and conching,” Friedman says.
Healthy Chocolate continued using its supplier until Friedman met a fellow chocolatier who introduced him to a piece of equipment called the ChocoEasy, which would allow his team to manage conching themselves.
The ChocoEasy, developed by Netzsch Premier Technologies, LLC, is a compact, automated chocolate-making system that produces repeatable batches of chocolate from any recipe. The machine is energy-efficient, reducing energy costs by up to 35 percent compared to similar equipment.
“Working with Netzsch, we were able to tailor the chocolate-making machine to give us tight temperature control, which is critical to our recipe. We can also make different batch sizes and get down to small particle sizes without over-pressuring the herbs,” Friedman says.
“Getting our ingredients down to a smaller particle size has actually led to better consistency and a creamier chocolate,” he adds.
Currently, Healthy Chocolate is using the ChocoEasy50, which allows Friedman’s team to produce 110 pounds of chocolate in each batch. On order is the ChocoEasy750, which will produce more than 1,600 pounds of chocolate in a single batch.
For more information:
Harry Way, 904-548-9837, firstname.lastname@example.org.