Tuesday, November 06, 2012

An Improved Edible Composition.

Several months ago, we mused on ‘The Mystery of Mocha.’ Today I want to add a little more to the story. I was researching details for an entry in my Food History Almanac, and en route to my target, stumbled upon a nice serendipitous find – a the patent documents for ‘an improved edible composition’ which turns out to be ‘mocha’ (although it is not so named in the document.) 

Patent number 64, 856 was issued to Daniel Fobes of Boston, in 1867.  It reads, in part:

Be it known that I, Daniel Fobes, of Boston, in the county of Suffolk, and State of Massachusetts, have invented a new and useful Edible Composition, to be used either for making a beverage or for coating articles of confectionery; and I do hereby declare the same to be fully described in the following specification.
The constituents of my said edible composition are the roasted seeds of the Coffea Arabica in a powdered or ground state, and the torrefied seeds of the Theobroma cacao, also in a ground or powdered state, or the simple butter of such.
In compounding the composition I mix together equal or unequal quantities of the constituents, as circumstances may require, and when necessary I add to the mixture a quantity of the butter of cacao, the whole being ground or reduced to a paste, or brought to a liquid state by means of heat or otherwise. I also form the composition by combining or mixing the ground and roasted seeds of the Coffea Arabica with the butter of the cacao.
The composition may be made into cakes or tablets to be eaten, or it may be mixed with water or milk and used as a beverage, or it may be used to coat the surfaces of articles of confectionery, or it may be employed for various other uses.
I claim the edible composition, as made of the materials, in the manner, and for the purpose substantially as described. . .

I am not sure what the difference is, if any, between an ‘edible composition’ and food, but perhaps it is that food cannot be patented, but ‘edible compositions can? A patent application was filed to the USPTA on June 27, 2006 for ‘An Indulgent Edible Composition’ that ‘that eats like chocolate at a reduced caloric density and increased moisture content as compared to chocolate.’

The applicants note previously registered patents for ‘reduced-calorie chocolate compositions’, but state that these have been for ‘inferior products that fail to deliver the rich, smooth, creamy texture and complex flavour’ and fall short of being the ‘indulgent edible product that delivers the pleasurable eating experience of chocolate melting in the mouth’ that consumers want. Thus, they say ‘there is a need for such a product that delivers indulgence without the guilt of having too many calories.’

So, to summarise, ‘the composition is a gel matrix that has been formulated to provide a product with a firm texture which will break down and melt when placed in the oral cavity, thus mimicking chocolate as it melts. The indulgent edible composition includes (a) a starch, (b) a protein-containing component, (c) a sweetener, (d) a fat-containing component, (e) a hydrocolloid gelling agent, and (f) a surfactant.’  Cacao beans are nowhere mentioned as an ingredient.

The recipe for the day is for a very indulgent edible product which does not require the use of a manufacturing facility, and is completely free hydrocolloid gelling agents and surfactant.

Chocolate Tartlets.
Chocolate tartlets can be made from the following:
Two ounces of chocolate
Two ounces of butter
Four ounces of cake crumbs
Three ounces of castor sugar
Half an ounce of cornflour
Two eggs
Chocolate icing
Any scraps of pastry.
Line some small patty tins with the pastry. Beat the butter and sugar to a cream; add the yolks of eggs and beat well together; add the grated chocolate, cake crumbs, cornflour, and vanilla, and lastly the stiffly whipped whites of the eggs. Put a little of this mixture in each patty tin, and bake in a quick oven for twenty minutes, then put them on a sieve until cold.
Meanwhile prepare the chocolate icing. Melt three ounces of chocolate [I presume this would be compressed cacao powder, not block chocolate] in half a gill of water; let it boil well; when it has cooled slightly, stir into it half a pound of sieved icing sugar and about a teaspoonful of vanilla flavouring. Pour some of this icing over each tartlet, and sprinkle either a little finely chopped pistachio nut or dessicated cocoa-nut over each. These will be easy to pack in cardboard boxes [for picnics.]
The Observer, June 23, 1907.

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