There was some research that came out of the University of Ghana about the processing of cocoa beans. It is pretty exciting, because there are ways to make "healthier" (more antioxidant rich) chocolate that tastes sweeter. If you are interested in learning more about this research article, here is a clip from CBS about the research - CLICK HERE.
This research found that in this process, prior to roasting, the cocoa beans are allowed to rest and sit in storage for up to 7 days and this lead to a increase in chocolate flavor (sweetness) and more antioxidants. These antioxidants are preserved when the roasting occurs at a lower temperature and in the end creates "healthier" more antioxidant rich chocolate. This system is then being considered as a new way to process chocolate around the world.
Have you wondered about the percentage that is sometimes on chocolate bars? Or wondered why dark chocolate is talked about has healthy? Well it all comes down to those antioxidants in chocolate. That is why this research is so intriguing to the food science field. The health benefits of chocolate lies in the antioxidants and there are more of those found in darker chocolate. That is why chocolate bars are labeled with the percentage of cocoa powder included. This is a ratio of the cocoa powder to the milk/added sugar.
As a reference point a Hershey bar contains 10% cocoa powder. That is the minimum that is mandated by the FDA. Then other bars (like Godiva or Ghirardelli) start off having ~50-70% cocoa powder. These make a great transition chocolate if you are use to the sweet Hershey bar, but want to try something with more antioxidants. Then working up to bar like Endangered Species that has 88% cocoa powder.
If you missed the segment that was on FOX59 on the evening news - CLICK HERE to see the clip.