The science of chocolate (second edn)

The science of chocolate (second edn)

Stephen Beckett

Cambridge, UK: RSC Publishing 2008 | 250pp | ?24.95 (HB) ISBN 9780854049707

Reviewed by Persis Subramaniam 

This is a comprehensive book covering all aspects of ingredients, processing and handling, written by an expert in chocolate, but in an easy-to-read style and pitched at the correct level of information for students. It is also a useful book for anyone searching for an overview of chocolate ingredients and processing issues. 


The first chapter concisely takes the reader through the history of chocolate development, highlighting interesting facts on how fatty cocoa drinks eventually developed into chocolate, particularly milk chocolate. Other chapters cover the subjects of cocoa bean processing, fats and fat crystallisation in enough detail. The chapter on ingredients covers the important characteristics of different sugars and milk components, but sugar substitutes only in brief, outlining the most important points. The chapter dedicated to chocolate flow characteristics, and the factors affecting it, is particularly useful as it covers viscosity issues comprehensively and in a practical manner that would be of benefit to those working with chocolate. The chapter on Health and Nutrition gives a useful summary of both positive and negative health aspects associated with chocolate.

The book also describes well the different production problems relating to chocolate products and the making of different products, such as aerated chocolate and cream eggs, explaining the science behind them. The book concludes with interesting basic experiments for students, which could be modified and used as part of training courses for newcomers to the chocolate and baking industry.

The easy reading style of the book makes it valuable not only to school and university students, but also to those who are new to working with chocolate or those needing a good summary of chocolate science.