This Swiss Company Can Now 3D Print Tons of Personalized Chocolate

Catherine Lamb wrote . . . . . . . . .

It’s February 14, which means there’s a good chance you’ll give or receive chocolate at some point today. The chances that that chocolate will be 3D printed? Slim to nil.

But all that could soon change thanks to Barry Callebaut AG, a company that makes roughly one-fourth of all the world’s chocolate, including that used by well-known brands like Hershey’s and Nestlé. According to a press release from the Swiss corporation, it will work with gourmet clients to let them print personalized chocolate designs en masse through Mona Lisa, its chocolate decoration brand. In short — Barry Callebaut will help brands print customized chocolate creations.

Business partners can develop their own custom designs and specify size parameters for their chocolate. They’ll then share those with Barry Callebaut, which will print the custom chocolates in large quantities at its Mona Lisa 3D Studio. Barry Callebaut can print thousands of a particular design succession thanks to its new 3D printing tech, which keeps melted chocolate at the perfect temperature for speedy printing.

Chocoholics will have to wait a while before they can buy these 3D printed creations in stores, though. Barry Callebaut will first work with high-end clients, like hotels, pastry chefs and coffee chains. Its first customer will be Dutch hotel chain Van der Valk. Down the road, Barry Callebaut will open up its tech to use with manufacturers such as Nestlé and Hershey.

For aspiring chocolatiers who don’t want to wait, there are some home options. Mycusini is a countertop chocolate printer (though it’s only available in Europe). The Mayku Formbox lets you print DIY chocolate molds at home. And while it’s not available yet, but the Cocoterra lets you make bean-to-bar chocolate right in your kitchen.

Barry Callebaut’s tech is perfectly situated to tap into a trend we at the Spoon have been seeing everywhere lately: personalization. The chocolate-maker can’t produce individualized chocolates for every person, obviously — the Mona Lisa 3D Studio will be printing chocolates on a large scale. But with this new 3D printing service, businesses can get more creative with their sugary marketing and branding efforts. For example, Starbucks could make a line of hot chocolate sticks (it’s a thing!) in the shape of their signature coffee cups. Or your favorite hotel line could make pillow chocolates shaped like pillows!

Source: The Spoon

In Pictures: Hand-made Chocolate

Nestlé Upcycling Cacoa Pod Leftovers Into New Chocolate Without any Added Sugar

Nestlé has created a KitKat bar that combines two things, chocolate and upcycling. Bloomberg reported yesterday that the Swiss candy maker has developed a way to use leftover material from cocoa plants to sweeten dark chocolate with no additional sugar.

How is this confectionary wizardry possible? Bloomberg writes, “The food company is using a patented technique to turn the white pulp that covers cocoa beans into a powder that naturally contains sugar.” Traditionally, this pulp has been thrown out, but by upcycling it, Nestlé can sweeten the bars without adding more sugar. This 70 percent dark chocolate KitKat bar will have “as much as 40 percent less sugar than most equivalent bars with added sugar,” according to Bloomberg, and will go on sale in Japan this fall.

An amusing sidenote to this story is that this discovery seems to be a bit of serendipity. Nestlé said it hadn’t set out to reduce the sugar, but was focused more on developing new ways to make chocolate using more of the cocoa pod. But we know that the company, facing consumers who are more health conscious and rising obesity rates, has been working on reducing sugars in its products. A little over a year ago Nestlé debuted a process of restructuring sugar that gave it more surface area and thus required using less of it while maintaining the same level of sweetness.

And Nestlé isn’t alone in looking to satisfy our global sweet tooth without sacrificing flavor. Israeli startup DouxMatok raised $22 million last month for its technology that uses silica to help sugar diffuse more efficiently in our mouths, so less is required. And in May, Singapore-based Nutrition Innovation raised $5 million for its Nucane, which is a lower glycemic sugar made via a different type of processing at sugar mills.

Nestlé said its new process could expand beyond dark chocolate and into milk and white chocolate as well. Even sweeter than the reduction in sugar is the reduction in food waste. Hopefully other companies will have cravings to follow suit.

Source: The Spoon

Alone, They Stink. Together They Create Dark Chocolate’s Alluring Aroma

Veronique Greenwood wrote . . . . . . . . .

If there was ever a science experiment you’d want to participate in, it might be this one: sitting in a booth and inhaling the tangy, intense aromas of dark chocolates. But not just anyone gets to join this research. The people doing the sniffing were trained to detect subtle differences in scent, helping chemists uncover just which odor molecules are behind the distinctive smell of these rich treats.

In a paper published last week in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the researchers behind this endeavor reveal that dark chocolate’s aroma comes down to 25 molecules, in just the right concentrations — some of which you might find rather disgusting if you sniffed them on their own.

The sensory panel was part of a study on chocolates with cacao contents from 90 to 99 percent, which are growing more popular, said Michael Granvogl, a chemist at the University of Hohenheim in Germany who wrote the paper with Carolin Seyfried of the Technical University of Munich. While chocolate flavors — which, like all flavors, are a combination of taste and smell working together — have been studied for decades, this was one of the first times chocolate of such high cacao concentrations has come under the microscope. Or rather, perhaps, the sniff-o-scope.

Fed through a battery of analytical machines, the chocolates yielded 77 compounds that could contribute to the chocolates’ aroma. Some were at levels too low to be detected by the human nose. But around 30 others made the sensory cut.

If you looked at a list of what each molecule smells like individually, you might notice something surprising. For instance, acetic acid, the odor molecule present in the highest levels in the chocolates, smells like vinegar by itself. And 3-methylbutanoic acid has a rancid, sweaty stench on its own. Then there’s dimethyl trisulfide, which smells like cabbage.

But these and other compounds, at very particular concentrations, work together to play the elaborate pipe organ that is our olfactory system. Together they attach to receptors in the nose and the back of the mouth to play a specific set of keys, creating a neural chord that says not “cabbage” or “sweat” or “vinegar,” nor even a mixture of these, but “chocolate.” Specifically, in this case, “very dark chocolate.”

Working backward to assemble the chord, the scientists were able to re-create the scent to the satisfaction of the trained sniffers using just 25 of those molecules.

The goal is not necessarily to create artificial versions of familiar food aromas. Understanding what is behind a smell can help make it clear what has gone wrong when a food product has an off-taste or scent.

The study also suggests that the wonderfully diverse world of flavor and aroma may, thanks to our pipe-organ sense of smell, be generated by a relatively small number of molecules working in concert. In other work, Dr. Granvogl’s colleagues have found that with around 226 molecules, they can make mixtures that capture the flavors of about 227 different types of food, from meats, fish and cheeses to chocolate.

“Butter is very easy — you only need four components to mimic butter flavor,” he said.

It is the concentrations of the molecules, not just their identities, that count, he and his colleagues have found. The exact same molecules make up the flavor of peanuts and hazelnuts, for instance.

“If you mix it in different concentrations, you end up on the one side with a hazelnut flavor and on the other side, a peanut flavor,” Dr. Granvogl said.

Source: The New York Times

New Mint Chocolate of Kit Kat Japan

Premium Mint and Premium Peach Mint

The price is 348 yen (plus tax) each.