OK, this has been bugging me for a long time... According to our cookery teacher at school, chocolate contains three ingredients: cocoa, sugar, and milk. If you mix these together, you can "make chocolate".
Back here in the real world, this doesn't appear to work at all. And here's why:
Chocolate tastes smooth, sweet, rich and creamy.
Cocoa powder, by itself, tastes sharp, bitter, and repulsive.
You can certainly take a mug of boiling milk and dump cocoa powder into it, and then stir in a little sugar. What you discover is that
Cocoa powder does not disolve.
The drink tastes absolutely terrible.
No amount of sugar makes it stop tasting bitter and horrid.
Even adding peppermint, vanilla, or similar still fails to mask the awful taste of the cocoa powder.
In short, as far as I can tell, cocoa is nothing like chocolate. And yet it's supposedly the most important ingredient...? Clearly something is missing from my understanding here. Can anybody explain?
Probably related: When you buy chocolate-flavoured products, sometimes they taste like chocolate (i.e., delicious), and sometimes they taste like cocoa (i.e., inedible). Why is that?
PS. I'm not trying to actually make chocolate. (It's not like it's hard to just buy the stuff!) I just want to understand what the difference is.