Emotional Connections of Chocolate

 
Chocolate is enjoying an upswing in exposure and, as a result, sales at retail bakeries and pastry shops across the country.
 
Sarabeth’s Bakery in New York City, for instance, now offers chocolate shortbread cookies in convenient 9-ounce jars at its Chelsea Market location in Manhattan. Pastry chef and owner Sarabeth Levine have been perfecting century-old recipes since first opening in 1981.
 
At Floriole bakery cafe in Chicago, one popular item during the summer and fall is bakery owner Sandra Holl’s own interpretation of Chocolate Pot de Crème. She also makes a fudgy brownie with Valrhona triple chocolate. “We are more generalists,” Holl says of their menu. “I don’t want to be so specialized that we are in a box. And chocolate is an all-time favorite.”
 
New research from Mintel reveals that nearly one in five Americans say that the emotional benefits of chocolate outweigh any health concerns. What’s more, one quarter of Americans who purchase chocolate do so to improve their mood, while 20 percent do so as an energy boost.
 
Marcia Mogelonsky, director of insight at Mintel, says that while chocolate confectionery may be considered to be a guilty pleasure, it is also a food that is strongly tied to emotional needs. “Even at a time when the importance of healthy snacking is being emphasized around the world,” she says, “the importance of chocolate confectionery as a psychological wellness tool cannot be ignored.”
 
Chocolate manufacturers are enabling bakeries to explore new avenues with chocolate by introducing innovative new products.
 
New from Guittard Chocolate Company, Organic Baking Wafers are blended from the finest cacao from around the world and handcrafted to deliver a unique flavor profile. Three percentages in milk, semisweet and bittersweet offer a variety of organic and Fair Trade Certified high-quality chocolate in resealable bags.
 
The Ghirardelli Chocolate Company recently launched a new approach to snacking with four Ghirardelli Chocolate Covered treats: Milk Chocolate Sea Salt Cashew, Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Cashew, Milk Chocolate Toasted Coconut, and Dark Chocolate Blueberry. These premium chocolate covered snacks allow consumers to enjoy sweet and salty treats that come in a convenient resealable pouch. 
 
For pastry chefs, bakers and gourmet beverage operations, Callebaut has launched a new line of chocolate ingredients catering to beverage and specialty dessert professionals. The collection, which includes Callebaut Ground Chocolate, Mini Chocolate Crispearls, ChocRocks and Mini ChocRocks, deliver a rich taste and exciting finish to numerous beverage, dessert and baking applications. 
 
The new line features four diverse products made in the form of fine chocolate crumbs, small crispy beads, mini-stones, and roughly shaped rocks. All products are certified kosher dairy and can be used individually or in combination to deliver an unexpected and bold chocolate experience. 
 
“We recognized a unique need in the beverage and specialty desserts category for a convenient way to infuse flavor, texture and visual appeal into finished drink and dessert applications,” says Miriam Madrigal, Callebaut brand manager. “Baristas and dessert professionals can incorporate the new Callebaut beverage ingredients in endless ways to create chocolate-inspired products that will surprise and delight their customer base.”