Spoilage of chocolate and confectionery and its preservation

Chocolate is one of the most popular and beloved foods in the world, but few people know how it is made and where it comes from. Chocolate is derived from the seeds of the cacao tree, which grows in tropical regions of Central and South America. The cacao tree produces pods that contain about 40 beans each. These beans are the raw material for making chocolate.

The history of chocolate dates back to more than 3,000 years ago, when the ancient Maya, Toltec, and Aztec civilizations cultivated and consumed cacao beans. They considered cacao to be a sacred and valuable gift from the gods, and used it to make a bitter drink called xocolatl, which means "bitter water" in Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs. Xocolatl was often mixed with spices, honey, or water, and was consumed for its stimulating and medicinal properties. Cacao beans were also used as a form of currency and tribute in these cultures.

The Spanish conquistadors were the first Europeans to encounter cacao beans and xocolatl in the 16th century, when they explored and colonized the lands of the Aztecs and Maya. They were initially unimpressed by the bitter drink, but soon learned to appreciate its value and potential. They introduced sugar, vanilla, and other ingredients to sweeten and enrich the flavor of xocolatl, and brought cacao beans back to Spain, where they became a luxury item for the nobility and clergy. Chocolate spread to other European countries over the next centuries, and underwent various transformations and innovations in its production and consumption.

Today, chocolate is a global industry that produces a wide range of products, from dark chocolate bars to milk chocolate candies, from cocoa powder to chocolate syrup. Chocolate is enjoyed by millions of people around the world for its rich taste, texture, aroma, and mood-enhancing effects. However, behind every bite of chocolate lies a long and complex journey that starts with the humble cacao bean. In this article, we will explore the origins of chocolate, the sources of contamination in chocolate production, the microorganisms found in fermenting cacao and their impact on spoilage, the role of processing steps and added ingredients in the final flora of chocolate, the low water activity of chocolate and its resistance to microbial growth, bacteria and fungi found in chocolate and their impact on spoilage, prevention of contamination as the key to securing a safe chocolate product. We will also introduce confectioneries and their classification, sources of contamination in confectionary production, the role of water activity in controlling microbial growth in confectionery products, microorganisms associated with the spoilage of confectionery products and their impact, prevention methods for the spoilage of confectionery products .