The Making Of Chocolate
Chocolate is gathered from the cacao plant. The plant itself produces pods or fruits that contain beans from which cocoa is produced. These cacao plants thrive well in tropical to dry areas in the world. Thus the Ivory Coast in Africa is the foremost producers of the cacao beans in the world. There are other areas that have a huge say in the world’s market for cocoa beans but none of these beat Africa.
Chocolate was initially consumed as a beverage in the regions of South America. Some of the earliest proofs of chocolate consumption dates back to 1100 BC in Honduras. The Mayans were also noted to have consumed vast amounts of this beverage during the civilizations peak.
The Process Of Producing Chocolate
Cocoa beans are usually fermented before anything else. Fresh cocoa beans cannot be consumed directly after they are harvested. A fermentation period of at least five to six days is recommended to be able to get the most out of the cocoa beans. During the fermentation period, the beans are supposed to be stirred occasionally to evenly distribute the heat produced by the beans during the fermentation process. After the allotted period of fermentation, the beans are then dried out in the sun for some time and then shipped off to various buyers all over the world.
In the chocolate factories, the dried cocoa beans are roasted to achieve their famous brown color and to bring to fore the smell and taste of chocolate. Most factories keep their roasting duration and process a secret so as to have a unique taste or flavor of their product. After the roasting process, the beans are shelled and then cut down or crushed to chocolate nibs. The nibs are ground to produce cocoa liquor. This cocoa liquor is then processed in such a way that separates the cocoa butter from the solids. Cocoa butter is an essential part of producing chocolate.
Cocoa butter is then processed and ground. The finer the result of the grinding the better tasting the chocolate shall be in the end. The presence of cocoa butter is necessary in producing fine chocolate products. Some products have less or no cocoa butter at all thus diminishing the taste of the product. The remaining cocoa butter is mixed with some sugar and some of the solids at exposed to high temperatures, a process called conching. The tempering process then follows, which is a cooling process. The correct cooling process is vital in the consistency of the product. The result is then poured in to moulds to produce a chocolate bar or other forms and then packaged and labeled for sales.
Producing chocolate can be difficult without the correct knowledge. Using quality ingredients and processes can help to make the products finer then most averages confections.