Mangosteen, a fruit popular in Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia but little known in America, may have an awesome advantage over other fruits —making chocolate healthier.
Sure, we all love chocolate-covered strawberries, chocolate-covered raisins, and those little chocolate boxes with the fruit jelly inside. Really anything chocolate is great, and adding fruit tends to only improve the situation.
So we were all excited to learn of a study that found mixing chocolate with Mangosteen rind increased the polyphenol content without diminishing chocolate’s flavor profile. Polyphenols are a diverse set of organic chemicals that are often linked, though with little concrete evidence, to better health outcomes. The Mangosteen itself has long been a staple of traditional Thai medicine.
Cocoa manufacturers often prefer chocolates with high polyphenol content due to the potential health benefits making them easier to market. But a high concentration of polyphenol can cause problems during the roasting of cocoa beans and end up damaging the chocolate’s taste. The Mangosteen study shows it’s possible to add Mangosteen rind to cocoa manufacturing after the roasting without affecting the final flavor.
For an industry on the cusp of hitting $100 billion in worldwide sales in 2016, any improvement in the cocoa manufacturing process could unleash a mad dash for the source. In this case, Mangosteen rinds abound — at a very low price. The major producers of Mangosteen tend to ditch the rinds before sending the fruit to market, resulting in significant environmental waste. So if cocoa manufacturers start snatching up Mangosteen rinds, an industry not known for them may be responsible for some inadvertent environmental benefits.
And they might even end up liking it more than they expected. The same study found that Mangosteen can even improve chocolate’s flavor profile, and a few Mangosteen chocolates are already on the market.
A healthy, unique fruit-flavored chocolate from “the East.” Sounds like Valentine’s Day to us.