The Story of Chocolate - part two
So if you've ever wondered how your chocolate bar is created, this is second part of two blogs about the cocoa bean.
In the previous blog, we talked about the bean harvest and how they are eventually graded and put into hessian sacks.
On arrival the beans are lightly roasted to develop the flavour. The beans are then put through a machine where they are crushed. Husks are removed and the cocoa nibs are graded.
The nibs are ground by passing through a series of rollers to make the cocoa mass or liquor. The mass, together with extra cocoa butter, sugar and vanilla (and sometimes soya lecithin) are placed in a mixer. Once this has taken place, in order for it to taste smooth and silky, the mixture is then ‘conched,’ which also takes away any remaining bitterness.
Conch comes from the Spanish word ‘concha’, which means shell, and the original vessel used to hold the chocolate was shaped like a conch shell.
Granite rollers grind the chocolate to a velvety texture and the smell and texture of chocolate are developed at this stage.
It takes up to 12 hours for commercial chocolate; however, for premium chocolate it takes between 40 to 70 hours.