Geeking out on the
Chocolate Making process
Who would believe there are so many steps involved in making chocolate?
If any of these are done poorly it can be the difference between average and great chocolate.
The cacao trees grow only within a slim band 20 degrees north and south of the equator. The multi- coloured rugby ball shaped fruit are picked when ripe, then broken open to release the seeds (that we call beans) that are covered in pulp or mucilage. The beans ferment in the pulp, this process has a significant effect on the final flavour of the chocolate. The fermented beans are then dried and packed for sale.
Once we have the beans, they are sorted to remove foreign matter like stones and sub-standard beans
(flat and damaged), then roasted to bring out the unique flavours. For like grapes, different genetics and different soils give us an incredible array of flavours.
They are then cracked and winnowed to remove the shells, leaving us with the nibs that are then added to the stone grinder with the sugar. The stone grinding process can take 2 to 4 days to bring the coarse nibs down to a paste, so smooth the tongue can't pick up any coarseness.
Now we have chocolate, but it still needs to be tempered (melted and cooled in such a way so it sets smooth and glossy), poured and set in molds, then finally wrapped and labelled .. by hand.