The Physics
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Melting Point of Cocoa Butter

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Bibliographic Entry Result
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Zapsalis, Charles. Food Chemistry and Nutritional Biochemistry. New York: Macmillan, 1986: 442. [Graph] ~34 °C
Optimisation of Chocolate Manufacturing: In-Situ Small Angle X-Ray Scattering (SAXS) of Cocoa Butter Crystallisation. Australian Synchrotron, 2003. "Six different crystal structures of cocoa butter are formed, and these polymorphs are denoted I to VI. Each polymorph has a different melting point, from 17.3° C (form I) to 36.6° C (form VI). Form V has the ideal melting point of 33.8° C - above normal room temperature and just below body temperature." 17.3โ€“36.6 °C
Boekenoogen, H.A. Analysis and Characterization of Oils, Fats, and Fat Products. London: Interscience Publishers, 1964-1968: 173.
Fat or oil β β' α γ
Cocoa Butter 34.5 27-28 22 18
18โ€“34.5 °C
Cocoa Butter: Spec Sheet [pdf]. Biochemical International, 2001-2003. "Melting Point: 34-38° C" 34โ€“38 °C

Chocolate is an important ingredient in many of the world's most popular candies. It is made from the combination of the solid substances inside cocoa beans and cocoa butter, or the fat contents derived from the beans. Although it tastes good, it is harmful and sometimes lethal to many small animals, especially dogs. They are unable to completely metabolize some of the chemicals found in chocolate.

Chocolate has its roots among the Aztec people, who seasoned it with vanilla, chili pepper, and pimento to form the beverage xocoatl. Since chocolate is naturally bitter, it was an acquired taste and was not popular. Between the 16th and 17th centuries, chocolate made its way to Europe and became a luxury within the nobility. It was not changed much until the 19th century, when Swiss-duo Henri Nestlé and Daniel Peter experimented by adding milk to chocolate to form, logically, milk chocolate. Nestlé continued his chocolate craft and founded the Nestle Corporation that is still around today.

As time advanced, cocoa beans became less of a commodity and as a result, the supply became erratic. Cocoa butter naturally melts at the temperature in your mouth, ~37 °C, and this gives it a very unique property. When substitute oils, such as palm and coconut oils, became more commonly used in place of cocoa butter, a special process was necessary to give it this appealing characteristic. The process is hydrogenation, and this when hydrogen is inserted into the oil atoms to lower the oil's melting point.

Harvey Lei -- 2004