Question spurs a question

Reader Bob T. writes in to ask:

You wrote in a response last week that cocoa butter melts at about 89 degrees [Fahrenheit], yet in my experience it seems to get “melty” around 80, but then doesn’t seem to completely liquify until it’s much warmer than 90. Can you tell me why this is?

I can. While one might be tempted to think that the thing that we call “cocoa butter” is made up of only one kind of fat, it actually contains many kinds — 21 different ones to be precise, and each of those fats has a different melting point. Some melt as low as 55 degrees while others don’t melt until almost 115. The average melting point of all of them is right around 88. It’s this variety of fats that gives high cocoa butter chocolates their creamy texture. Put one in your mouth and it dissolves very slowly as it warms, bathing your taste buds in wave after wave of rich, chocolatey goodness. Butter, also being made of several different types of fats, behaves in much the same way.

Excuse me now, I’ve gone and made myself hungry. Lunch break!

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