Dark chocolate hasn’t always been as beloved as its milky counterpart, but once people learned how good it tastes when paired with things like fruit and nuts, they never looked back. You can feel the richness of dark chocolate as it melts in your mouth, depositing what you can only imagine is chocolate at its best. The best part of the entire experience is that you can walk away feeling only minor regret, as dark chocolate has been proven to have bonus health benefits that milk chocolate simply can’t claim. Do you actually know the how dark chocolate is made?
Stage 1: Bean Harvesting
Most of the chocolate that we see in stores and shops across the world starts its journey in different countries in Africa. The cacao pods are grown in these areas, and need about five or six months to mature. Once they are mature, they are harvested by hand with tools like machetes. The beans and pulp are removed from the pods and put in baskets to ferment. The beans start out quite bitter, but as the pulp ferments, the flavor bleeds into the beans imparting its fruity sweetness. After the beans are dried under the sun’s rays, and the fermented pulp is removed, the beans are packaged and sent to chocolate makers.
Stage 2: Roasting
When the beans arrive at chocolate factories, they are cleaned and sorted so that they can be roasted. The beans are put into big drums for roasting which can take up to two hours. This process gives the beans the rich color that we know and love, and enhances their chocolate flavor. Heat from the roasting process loosens the shell of the bean, making it easy for them to blow off in a winnower. Only a kernel remains at this point, and it is crushed into little bits called nibs.
Stage 3: Chocolate Liquor
After the beans are turned into nibs, the nibs are heated and ground. This process forms a thick paste that is referred to as liquor. The chocolate liquor can be pressed to separate the liquids from the solids. The solids are called pressed into a cake, conveniently called a press cake, which is often turned into cocoa powder. The liquids become pure cocoa butter.
Stage 4: Making Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is the combination of chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, a small amount of sugar, and vanilla. The mixture is pressed under heavy steel rollers to smooth out the texture. It then goes through conching. During this process, the mixture is heated, mixed and ground down even more, to create the silky texture we know and love, and to remove any leftover bitterness. This can take hours or days. After conching, the chocolate is tempered, whereby it is slowly heated and then cooled to the perfect temperature. Tempering allows the chocolate to maintain its smoothness as it is hardened and molded.
If you have any questions about our sweets, please contact Wockenfuss Candies by calling 1-800-296-4414 or email info@Wockenfusscandies.com. When you’re not savoring our sweets, stay satisfied by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest!