Posts tagged ‘chocolate’

The Meaning of “Sport” in Ritter Sport Chocolates

By Kaye Nemec

In 1912, two chocolate lovers fell in love with each other and started the Alfred Ritter Cannstatt Confectionery Factory in Bad Cannstatt, Germany.

By 1919, Alfred and Clara Ritter were ready to take their chocolate to the world. They were very successful and within 11 years, they were already at their third location, which was in Waldenbuch, Germany. In 1932, Clara Ritter had an idea for a new kind of chocolate bar: a chocolate square. Her idea was to have a square of chocolate that fit neatly in the pocket of a gentleman’s sports jacket. It didn’t extend out of the pocket and it didn’t break during daily activities that preceded chocolate eating.

It was a huge hit with consumers and gave birth to the next generation of Ritter products.

Alfred passed away in 1952 and his son, Alfred Otto Ritter, took over the business. In 1966 Clara also passed away and Alfred Otto remained in charge of the family business. By 1960 some items in their product line had begun to fizzle out and Alfred began focusing all efforts on the square chocolate bar, officially creating the Ritter Sport brand.

By 1982, the squares were available in a variety of flavors and each flavor had a uniquely colored package. The original size square had become so popular, the family decided to introduce a new, smaller version of the original. Twenty-two years later the mini chocolate square was followed up by the chocolate cube, available in 6 different flavors.

In 2001 the “RITTER SPORT Chocolate Shop” Visitors’ Center opened in Waldenbuch, Germany. At the Chocolate shop, visitors learn all about Ritter Sport’s history and watch the chocolate get produced. The Chocolate Shop is the first part of what later became the Ritter Sport Museum, which opened in the fall of 2005. The museum stays true to Ritter’s square tradition by showcasing square contemporary art. Most of the art pieces belong to Marli Hoppe-Ritter, a co-owner of Ritter Sport. One of the main collections at the museum is titled, “Homage to the Square” and consists of nearly 600 pieces.

Clara was clearly onto something when she dreamed of the chocolate square, although I doubt she knew how many nights her dream would last or how big such a small chocolate could be.

Broken Secrets

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Sources: Ritter Sport, Ritter Sport Museum

Photos: Museum Ritter

October 27, 2010 at 1:00 am 3 comments

White Chocolate is Real Chocolate

By Chad Upton | Editor

Somebody once told me that White Chocolate is not really chocolate. The argument is that white chocolate is not made from chocolate liquor and white chocolate does not contain cocoa solids; therefore, it is not real chocolate.

That is not necessarily true.

Chocolate was discovered by Aztecs in Central Mexico, at least three hundred years ago. The name comes from the Nahuatl word, “chicolatl” meaning “beaten drink.” It is derived from, “chicoli”, which means “beating stick” and “atl”, meaning “water.”

To make chocolate, the seeds of the tropical cacao tree are harvested. They are bitter and must be fermented to make the flavor more palatable. The fermented beans are then dried, roasted and shelled to expose cacao nibs (you can buy cacao nibs, they’re an interesting balance between slightly bitter and mildly sweet — click on the photo for amazon link).

The nibs are ground to produce cocoa mass, which is melted to create chocolate liquor (not to be confused with chocolate liqueur). When chocolate liquor cools, it forms what we commonly refer to as baking chocolate.

At this stage, the chocolate is about 53% cocoa butter (fat), the rest is carbohydrates, protein, tannins and theobromine.

Theobromine is in the same family of chemical compounds as caffeine and is believed to be the proof that chocolate is addictive. Healthy humans can break down reasonable amounts of this compound, but many animals cannot. This is why chocolate can be harmful to pets. White chocolate contains only trace amounts of theobromine, which is what gives other chocolate its brown color.

White chocolate is made from cocoa butter, milk solids, milk fat and sugar. According to the FDA, white chocolate must contain at least 20% cocoa butter to be called “White Chocolate.” The European Union has adopted the same standard for cocoa butter requirements, but there are some other regulations around milk and sweetener contents that differ between the US and the EU.

Confectionery items that look and taste similar to white chocolate, such as “Almond Bark” are not white chocolate. In fact, they’re not chocolate at all. They are usually made from solid or hydrogenated vegetable and animal fats instead of real cocoa butter.

White Chocolate is real chocolate when it’s made from cocoa butter.

Broken Secrets

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Sources: FDA, WP (Cocoa Butter, Chocolate, White Chocolate, Chocolate Liquor, History of Chocolate, Aztec, Theobromine)

August 3, 2010 at 5:00 am 10 comments

Why Chocolate is Dangerous for Dogs and Not Humans

Whether it was your idea or not, your dog or cat may swallow chocolate at sometime in their life.

You want to avoid that since there are two toxins in chocolate that can have adverse affects on your pets: caffeine and theobromine.

Both of these drugs are very similar, but chocolate contains a lot more theobromine than caffeine. Theobromine does not affect the human nervous system as much as caffeine, nor is it as addictive as caffeine. But, theobromine is still addictive and believed to be the agent that causes Chocolate addiction. It is also believed to be responsible for chocolate’s notoriety as an aphrodisiac.

Although theobromine increases heart rate in humans, it also dilates blood vessels, which reduces blood pressure. In fact, it is superior to codeine at suppressing cough and can be helpful in relaxing muscles to alleviate symptoms of asthma.

Humans are able to consume chocolate in moderation because we can breakdown theobromine fairly quickly. In dogs, cats, rats and other species, they cannot digest it efficiently. This leads to a buildup of this toxin and is known as theogromine poisoning. Actually, this can also happen to elderly people who consume large quantities of chocolate.

For animals, a dangerous quantity of chocolate depends on the type of chocolate. Milk chocolate is not as dangerous as semisweet chocolate and it’s not as dangerous as cocoa powder.

Milk chocolate contains approx 44-64 milligrams of theobromine per ounce. Semi-sweet chocolate is about 150-160 mg/oz. Cocoa powder is 800 mg/oz.

A toxic dose for pets is 100-200 mg/kg of body weight (1 kg = 2.2 pounds). That said, problems can still be evident with smaller doses.

Signs of toxicity include:

  • Excitement, nervousness, trembling
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Excessive thirst
  • Muscle spasms
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death (usually a result of other problems caused by the toxin)

As much as people like to treat their pets like humans, they are not human and should not be treated like humans when it comes to diet. There are many other human foods that are not recommended and poisonous to pets:

  • Alcohol
  • Avocado
  • Coffee
  • Fatty Foods
  • Onions
  • Raisins and grapes
  • Salt
  • Yeast dough
  • Garlic
  • Artificial sweetener

Pet’s digestive systems are very different from humans. Checkout Vetinfo for more details on why some of the above foods should not be fed to your animals.

Thanks to Ryan W for suggesting this secret.

Broken Secrets | By: Chad Upton

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Sources: Wikipedia (Theobromine), About.com, Vetinfo

June 16, 2010 at 1:09 am 7 comments


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