With cocoa as your medium, a masterpiece awaits

Artfully attain tailor-made colour and flavour using Cargill’s high impact Gerkens® cocoa powders

By Lori Fligge November 10, 2015

French painter and sculptor Henri Matisse once said, “The chief aim of colour should be to serve expression.” Can’t you just picture him, paintbrush poised and colour palette in hand, blissfully dreaming of…a decadent dark chocolate dessert?

inpage-gerkens-sampleOrder your free sample kit todayOkay, so maybe Matisse wasn’t thinking specifically about food right then. His quote however, lends itself perfectly to the art of using just the right colour cocoa powder to express the perfect chocolate colour and flavour in an array of mouth-watering products. 

The average consumer probably doesn’t realize how much cocoa powder can vary in colour and taste. From light brown cocoa powders with mild fruity notes, to black cocoa powders with strong rich flavours – with many shades of red and flavour nuances in between – there are as many options as there are styles of art.

“The cocoa powder market is fast moving, with a broad range of flavours and colours,” said Marcel Nouel, Product Line Manager cocoa powder for Cargill’s cocoa and chocolate business. “Our Gerkens® cocoa powders are in demand around the world, but demand varies according to local taste preferences. Dark cocoa powders are increasing in popularity as a result of a growing flavour trend toward a less sweet, more adult taste profile.”

Delicious dark indulgences

Grown-ups are looking for a darker, more indulgent chocolaty experience – but finding the right balance of colour and flavour can be challenging for the makers of baked goods, confections and dairy products. What’s the secret of attaining a rich taste with just the right hue? 

According to Nouel, it’s all in the beans and knowing how to treat them. “The process of selecting and roasting cocoa beans is not unlike that of choosing coffee beans for coffee or grapes for wine,” he said.

“We source beans from all over the world. With our Gerkens products, we select, roast and process just the right beans to achieve cocoa powder of just the right colour and flavour profile for our customers. And a richer chocolate experience is now even easier with the broad premium spectrum of Gerkens high impact cocoa powders and our capability to blend a tailored powder that meets a customer’s specific needs.”

Nouel explains that getting to high impact flavor is quite an art. He refers to the process of alkalization, also known as “Dutching,” first developed in Holland in the early 19th century. “This heritage process reduces acidity and changes the character and flavour, darkening the colour and strengthening the cocoa flavour,” he said.

Getting Technical

Just as experience, technique and resources are essential to the artist, they are critical to the cocoa powder customer, as well. “At Cargill, we offer advanced technical support and superior technology from experts during the whole process of creating a delicious finished product – from ideation and product development to delivery,” said Nouel.

Take chocolate ice cream, for example. With ice cream, a big part of the volume is air, which tends to lighten the color. If you want to visually communicate a high blast of flavour, you need to use a darker cocoa powder.

“Ice cream is well-suited to the use of darker high impact cocoa powders, as their darker colour counters the lightening effect of aeration,” said Nouel.

Chocolate milk is also an application that has grown as a premium product amongst adults, with dark powder versions launched, reflecting the adult flavour trend.

“Dairy products like this, along with desserts where mouthfeel is critical, can be very unforgiving when it comes to formulation,” said Nouel. “So this is where expertise such as that available through our R&D centers can really come into its own.” 

With seven strategically located specialist application centers, Cargill’s experts can help customers capitalize on local market trends quickly, offering tailored advice on getting the best from Gerkens high impact cocoa powders alongside other ingredients such as milk or stabilizers.

Less is more

Part of the beauty of Gerkens premium high impact powders is that you can create state of the art products without painting your budget into the corner. Premium high impact powders offer customers an unexpected opportunity to reduce costs and/or boost margins – with a lower dosage of powder for an equivalent dark colour and rich taste. 

“You can make consumers happy with a dark chocolate flavour, while making customers happy with cost savings,” said Nouel. “For example, if you wanted to coat a biscuit with chocolate flavor, you can use a smaller percentage of high impact cocoa powder in a compound coating and let it taste just as decadent.”

Now that’s a brushstroke of delicious genius we’re sure Matisse would approve of.