Saskatoon’s synchrotron helps researchers find the perfect recipe for chocolate production

Chocolate eggs on order with names on them are seen at Dominique Persoone's Chocolate Line in Antwerp, Belgium on Thursday, March 28, 2013. (AP / Virginia Mayo)

Scientists at the Canadian Light Source (CLS) discovered a way to create the perfect chocolate in less time – but with the same sweet results people have come to crave.

“There’s a preferred structure of chocolate that gives it that snap, that crisp texture and it’s a very complex tempering process to achieve that,” said Jarvis Stobbs, associate scientist and plant imaging lead at the CLS.

Scientists from the University of Guelph examined the structure of chocolate at a scale of one micron – about one-tenth the width of a human hair.

They discovered a fat compound, called a phospholipid, that naturally occurs in cocoa butter and is removed during the refining process.

Adding it back during tempering – the process of heating, cooling and agitating the chocolate to achieve proper texture – can quicken the process.

“It will really help these small to medium chocolatiers because they don’t have the capital to buy these expensive tempering machines and now they can add this back in and achieve the same results as these large companies,” Stobbs said.

The research was published in Nature Communications.

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