The world “Chocolate” comes from xocolatl, which is the aztech world for “bitter water”. As a matter of fact chocolate is bitter itself, the same as coffee. Eventually we learned to mixing it with cocoa butter, sugar and other ingredients. During the last years we’ve been seeing more and more offers for high percentage cocoa chocolate bar, but don’t be fooled! A great chocolate doesn’t necessarily contains a lot of cocoa powder, instead a fabulous chocolate is the one with an excellent taste balance. You get an excellent chocolate out of high quality ingredients and a great preparation.
How is Chocolate Made?
The chocolate tree grows between 20 degree North and South of the Equator at its best. Its seeds, the cocoa beans, are fermented together and dried at the sun. At this initial stage the beans go to the chocolate producing factories for the next important process. Most of the chocolates commonly sold are produced out of a blend of cocoa of different origins, again like coffee. Today it’s becoming common to find “single origin” cocoa chocolates, or Cru.
Usually the cocoa beans are selected and washed before being roasted. Now the barks are separated from cocoa nibs after a special process. The nibs are then powdered and resulted in a solid dry cocoa without any fat.
Last phase is the conching. It can last very long, days and days. Everything is put into machines that keep the temperature between 45 and 50 degree and they mix the future chocolate finely and longly. The very last part is the temperation. This is quite delicate since we don’t want a crumbled chocolate, we want a chocolate that melts in our mouths but not on our hands.
Congratulations: you just learned your first lesson about chocolate! 🙂