Chocolate in space | Amazing stories from
the world of chocolate

Myths, legends and incredible facts - space special

Katharina Kuhlmann

iStock, H_Galenko

10 January 2019

Our “Amazing stories from the world of chocolate” blog series has already covered all kinds of bizarre tales from the world of chocolate. But we all know that whenever outer space is involved, ideas and stories become truly fantastical and ludicrous – or, simply, out of this world! And so, we have put together a special post all about chocolate and space. Fasten your seatbelt, we are blasting off into a world of experiments, astronaut cravings and unbelievable tales from the universe of chocolate.

Cravings alert in space – astronauts want chocolate too!

While the views from above are truly celestial, the appetites of astronauts remain very much rooted on earth. What do you crave when you are light years from home? Well… pizza, chips and other earthly delights. And, of course, chocolate! But there is a slight problem here: once the astronauts’ secret stash of provisions has been exhausted, there is no supermarket round the corner. They need a delivery service. Astronauts at the International Space Station are over the moon whenever a shuttle arrives with orders and care packages “from home”. Until now, only American astronauts have been able to enjoy this brilliant service; but Russia, Europe and Japan are now planning similar schemes. The companies providing the deliveries are from the private space industry and include Orbital ATK (formerly Orbital Science) and SpaceX. And if the shuttle doesn’t arrive? Then the astronauts can enjoy all kinds of delicious treats from the space kitchen, like the delicious astronaut ice cream with chocolate chips. Mmm. The benefit: it is great for space as it is freeze-dried – there is no mess in the zero-gravity atmosphere! There are also two other great advantages of this physical state – it is sterile and weighs very little. As such, the astronauts can fill their cases to the brim. And that is not all, even backpackers on earth can now look forward to enjoying ice cream on their long trips. After all, you don’t have to be an astronaut to order the amazing ice cream from in the USA and have it delivered to your home. It is not even that expensive. That’s next summer sorted, then!

Space experiments to improve aerated chocolate?

In 2012, it was revealed that Nestlé no longer wanted to leave the perfecting of air bubbles in aerated chocolate, milk products, coffee and pet food (no idea why!) to chance – they have turned to space. In the zero-gravity atmosphere of the International Space Station, equal-sized air bubbles can be created and distributed evenly in the products. It is not known whether the experiments have already taken place and, if so, what the results were.
In 2013, Chinese researchers decided that there must be more sustainable production processes for creating lovely aerated chocolate. They developed a manufacturing process more suited to earth and with very satisfactory results. The process sees cocoa butter being melted at a temperature of 60°C and then mixed with phospholipids from soy beans for two hours. The cooled mass is then spun in a mixer at 900 revolutions per minute to aerate it.

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