Chocolate is defined the same way you want it to be thought of. It’s happiness for some, enjoyment for many and luxury for few. Chocolate is a delicacy, a proven one that impresses every palate through its uniqueness.
Have you ever wondered how those tiny beans turn into a decadent bar? If your answer is ‘YES’, then we are here to tell you “HOW”.
The chocolate bar that you drool over is made with months and months of labour and hard work. Here’s an overview of the efforts that go into making your bar of authentic handcrafted chocolate.
Every beginning requires basic knowledge and expertise to handle the toughness of the upcoming task. Having the skill to pluck out cacao pods without damaging the flower cushion is an integral part of the harvesting process. These pods are plucked only at a particular time and are cut open with a machete knife without any haste. The white pulp that oozes out of the cacao beans is collected separately.
Cacao Pod is a fruit of the tree that grows in a tropical climate, botanically named “Theobroma cacao”. Each pod ripens differently, and great skill is needed to locate ripened pods. These ripe pods are harvested twice a year.
After harvesting and opening ripe cacao pods, the pulp is scooped out and put into big wooden boxes containing holes to keep the excess liquid at bay. Both the pod and pulp help each other ferment and raise the temperature within the boxes naturally to 40-50°C. Fermenting usually takes up to 8 days or more depending on the type of bean. This stage is significant as fermentation enhances the flavour of cacao.
Beans are sun-dried in hotter regions with the fermentation stage, whereas in colder areas, they are dried using open fires, giving a smoky flavour to the beans that add depth and flavour to the final chocolate. After drying, the beans are sorted and packed carefully before shipping them off to the factories.
In this step, cacao beans are carefully roasted, reducing the moisture content and killing the bacteria, if any.
- CRACKING & WINNOWING
The pod’s shell grows brittle and thin after roasting, making it pretty simple to extract cocoa nibs from within, which is then made into our lovely and decadent chocolate. Even the shells are not discarded and are used for making teas or even as garden fertiliser. This process occurs either manually or with the help of machines.
- GRINDING & CONCHING
The cacao nibs are grounded into a thick paste commonly called as cocoa mass. This paste comprises of cocoa butter and cocoa solids. In the conching stage, a chocolatier can add flavours like vanilla, sugar or milk. This process can take as little time as 2 hours or extend to a maximum of two days even for its completion. It gives your chocolate the final texture and flavour it needs.
It is a process wherein chocolate is smoothed out by raising and lowering its temperature by hand. This process gives your chocolate that drooling shine we are all so fond of!
Our chocolate is ready to set! After tempering chocolate on various heat levels, it is now time to set the chocolate into numerous shapes and sizes. After adding melted chocolate to the mould, it is tapped hard against a surface to diminish air bubbles and reveal a perfect bar.
Finally, your chocolate is ready to be wrapped into luxurious and quirky packaging. They reach markets and the doorsteps of eager customers all over!