I just received a bit of disheartening mail that has made me decide that a bit of chat needs to go on about preservatives, and what constitutes a preservative.
I won’t go into the details of the message I received, other than to say that my chocolates were thrown out by someone because I have glucose as one of my ingredients, and said person does not eat that “garbage”, and knows from other chocolate companies that this person has purchased from that glucose is not a necessary ingredient.
Now, I want to point out a pretty big distinction between the chocolate this person is referring to and what I do. The majority of chocolate that is made by the chocolate companies that were mentioned by this person are bars.
I don’t make bars, at least not yet. I make truffles, bon bons, confections, whatever you like to call them. Chocolates that contain ganache, the delicious chocolate and cream or chocolate and butter or chocolate and coconut milk or chocolate and water – blended filling that so many of us enjoy.
The main difference between bars and bon bons, is that bars are just chocolate with maybe some spices, nuts, herbs, oils, dried fruits, etc. mixed in. The amount of free water available for mold growth in a bar is incredibly low, and therefore, there is no need to add any additional preservative.
Bon bons, or the confections that I make, typically are made with cream, which raises the amount of free water available considerably. If I did not tie up some of that free water with some sort of preservative, the shelf life would probably only be a week or so.
To tack onto the point I made in my conversation about shelf life in one my previous posts, the best way to extend shelf life is to reduce the amount of free water available for bacteria and molds to latch onto. The best way to “naturally” do this is with glucose. There are a lot of other preservatives out there, like sorbitol, sorbic acid, sulfites, nitrates, etc. I’m sure the list goes on, but that’s just a few to start with.
I like to pride myself in using no artificial preservatives in my chocolates, because I feel that reduces the quality, and I’d rather sell a chocolate with a higher quality and a shorter shelf life than vice versa. That is why I use glucose in my chocolates. It’s just simply sugar that binds free water without imposing any flavor or chemical alterations to the chocolates. And, since glucose is what fuels our bodies, it’s one less thing our bodies have to break down to give us energy, if you want to think of it that way.
I guess the moral of the story is that I will not be able to please everyone with my confections and I accept that. Someone will be displeased at some point or another, whether it be that I don’t make sugar free chocolates, or that I use glucose as a preservative, or because I don’t by fair trade, organic chocolate, etc. You get the point.
Honestly, I would like to thank said person for clueing me into the fact that many might not have known exactly why glucose was an ingredient in my chocolates, and why it’s not a component of bar chocolates sold by a lot of other high end chocolatiers.
I just hope this post will provide a new bit of knowledge people can take away so that when someone starts in on the fact a chocolate is “garbage” because it contains glucose, you can educate them on actually why it is not.