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Chocolate Bars

Chocolate is called the food for the gods. There is a reason it is called that. Chocolate is made from cocoa beans, which comes from the tree Theobroma Cacao. Theobroma is also called the food of the gods. Throughout history, kings have been known to drink the bitter drink or ‘cacahuatl’ or ‘xocolatl’ before entering the harems.
Hence chocolate has developed a reputation of an aphrodisiac.

Chocolate has been around for centuries now. It is popular confection and is a flavor used in many other baked goods and foods. Today chocolate consumption in the world is roughly $20 billion annually. There are so many types of chocolates today, gourmet, handmade, bars, chips, cooking chocolate – all catering to the immense market there is for chocolate.
Chocolate all over the world is manufactured from cocoa beans that are only grown in Africa. Each region that specializes in chocolate making has added its own nuance to chocolate making. Europeans are known for their high grade and tasty handmade chocolates. But Hershey from America is known for its milk process chocolate. It has a distinctive taste only found in American milk chocolate.

History textbooks are replete with examples of kings using chocolate as an aphrodisiac. The earliest use of cacao dates back to 1100 BC. Cacao beans were used as a treatment for diarrhea and fatigue. The beans were used as currency too.  The history of chocolate is just as rich as chocolate itself. The name chocolate comes from Aztecs and is based on the word ‘cacahuatl’ or ‘xocolatl’ which means bitter drink.  The Spaniards introduced the world to it and slowly each European nation found a niche that they specialized in. The Swiss created milk chocolate. Belgium created pralines. Italy created beautiful cocoa. It was also in Europe that the bitter drink was seasoned with milk, sugar and vanilla. This became a luxury for the Europeans. It was finally Christopher Columbus who brought this luxury to America.

But today chocolate is available in so many more forms than just a drink. Candy bars everywhere make chocolate a convenient snack. There are many types of candy bars that are popular today. There are literally hundred and hundreds of candy bars out there, with many countries and cultures creating specific bars to include elements from their lives and combining them with chocolate.

Candy bars also make great snacks and packed with energy and calories alike. The main ingredients in any chocolate candy bar are milk, chocolate, sugar, fats by way of cocoa fats or any other vegetable fats and any additional ingredient. The most popular additions in chocolate candy bars are peanuts or any nuts, peanut butter, nougat, caramel, biscuits, crispies and malt

The best chocolate candy bars are Snickers, Kit Kat, Mars, Milky Way, Butter Fingers, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Hershey Bar, Mars, Twix and M&Ms. Cadbury and Nestle are two important torch bearers in the candy bar industry.  Cadbury’s Dairy Milk is an iconic candy bar which is plain milk chocolate which Snickers is also another extremely popular candy bar. Except for in America, it is sold in many countries across the world and in some countries, is even synonymous with just chocolate. It was launched in 1905, making it over 100 years old. Cadbury also had some big candy bars that it does not manufacture anymore like Curly Wurly.  In America the iconic chocolate bar is the Hershey’s Milk Bar and Cadbury is not very popular in America.

You can make the basic candy bar at home.

The basic recipe for a chocolate candy bar

Semi sweet chocolate
Cream cheese
Evaporated milk or condensed milk
Cocoa butter

Additives like nuts, caramel, white chocolate chips or anything else you would like in them.

Melt the condensed milk with the cream cheese with the semi sweet chocolate on a double burner. Cool this mixture before the next step.

Mix the malt, cocoa and sugar. The cut the butter into this mixture till it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the additives in here if you are adding any. You can peanut butter, roasted and crushed nuts, more chocolate chips, cacao nibs, butterscotch bits, nougat, caramel, sea salt, any other spices or flavorings you might want to add.

Spread this mixture in a baking tray. Then spread the chocolate over this mixture. Bake this for about 30 minutes.

Let it cool before you cut your own homemade chocolate candy bars.

There are atypical candy bars too like in Turkey where you will find a candy bar that is actually Turkish Delight wrapped in chocolate or in Japan, some mochi paste in chocolate. You will biscuits, chocolate covered biscuits, nuts and caramel, nuts and spices, fruits, dried fruits, different forms of milk, wafers in candy bars across the world. Many chocolate companies make local versions to tailor their candy bars to suit the local populace. The different type of chocolate bars generally available include chocolate bulk bars, coconut flavored ones, oatmeal chocolate bars, wedding chocolate bars which can be customized for the ceremony, sugar free and white chocolate bars.

There are even bars that being touted as healthy chocolate bars. Dark chocolate is often touted as being good for the body, heart and brain so most bars with dark chocolate can be a healthy chocolate bar. Gourmet chocolate makers also make specialized custom chocolate bars. You can order bars specially for gifting with fillings of your choice.

Chocolate candy bars are very popular as snacks that now candy bars are even available in small bites. All major bars are available small snack size portions that can sometimes be deceptive in how much you consume by way of calories. The popularity of these snack sized portions does not dent the popularity of the traditional candy bar in anyway.

Today, European norms for chocolate candy bars are changing. Some countries are willing to call any candy bar with even 1 per cent cacao as chocolate while other countries are making the definition of chocolate stricter. In this fight, some chocophiles feel that the taste of traditional chocolate bars are not the same anymore.  So the taste of real chocolate candy bar is constantly evolving.
Submitted on January 16, 2014