Glossary



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A

Académie Française du Chocolat & de la Confiserie

An academy formed by 50 members working as professionals in the chocolate industry. Their goal is to promote quality products, to teach and inform professionals and individuals, and to lay the groundwork for the most complete possible familiarity with cocoa products. The Academy, absolutely independent of any commercial organisation and financed solely in equal shares by its members, represents the Chocolatiers Confiseurs de France. Its judgments and opinions are impartial and the result of the broadest possible research and consultation.

Alkalinisation

A method for cooking crushed cacao seeds to which is added an alkaline solution (with potassium carbonate). This is a preliminary to the manufacture of cocoa powder, since alkalinisation improves the cocoa’s solubility and modifies the colour and taste.

Aroma

Designates the perception felt by the nose (smell) and aftertaste, via the passageway connecting the mouth and nose (“retro-olfaction). The aromas of the cocoa beans evolve throughout the processing of the cocoa into chocolate. Several aromas are revealed:

-the constituent aromas present in the raw seeds

-the post-harvest aromas after fermentation and drying of the beans

-the thermal aromas developed after roasting the beans

Appetence

The tendency that draws us spontaneously towards that which can satisfy our natural needs and instincts. A synonym for craving and desire.

Astringency

A sensation felt physically, due to the tightening of the taste buds located on the tongue in the presence of tannins, such as those contained in cocoa and dark chocolate especially.

Atole

A sweet, hot drink made from corn flour and cocoa, diluted, then cooked in water to increase its viscosity, give it fragrance and make it more nutritional. Originally pre-Columbian, Atole is primarily drunk in Mexico, Guatemala and other Central American countries.

Attack

A direct sensation on the front part of the tongue. A chocolate should have character, a strong presence the moment it is put in the mouth.

Aztecs

The Aztecs, also called Mexicas, were a people who finally settled into the Valley of Mexico around the 14th century.

By the early 16th century they had reached one of the highest levels of civilisation in the Americas and dominated a vast empire in Meso-America. The arrival of the Spaniards led by Hernán Cortés in 1519 sealed the fate of their reign, after their Emperor Moctezuma was executed in 1524.

For them, Quetzalcoatl is a venerated god, the gardener of paradise and guardian of the cacao tree.

For the Aztecs, cacao beans were used as currency and to prepare a nourishing and invigorating beverage: Xocoatl.