When it comes to making fine chocolates, the makers of the best know it all starts with a simple bean. But, how does chocolate go from a bean to what is considered one of the best dessert confections in the world?
It starts with the cacao. The seed, or bean, from this fruit bearing tree must undergo some serious processing to become chocolate. The trick in making fine chocolate is proper processing of cacao’s beans from the very start.
Cacaos are harvested by hand. Growers hand cut the fruit, generally using machetes in the process. This is the very first step in creating the finest of chocolates. Once the fruits of cacaos are gathered, it is opened and the beans and the cacaos pulp is removed.
The next step in the creation of finer chocolates is the fermentation process. This can take five to six days during which time the fruit’s natural sugars create an alcohol. Cacao’s pulp turns to a liquid during this process and drains away. Chocolate’s deep brown color is generated during this process.
Once fermentation is completed on cacaos, the beans must be dried to continue the chocolate making process. Considering the climes in which cacaos grow, it should be of no surprise the drying method of choice is the sun for natural chocolate creation. Drying of cacaos takes about two weeks. In come cases, high volume producers use hot air to dry chocolate beans, but this is not the best method for creating a fine end product.
With drying completed, the chocolate creation process continues with roasting. This step, much like it is in the creation of coffee, is vital. For a finer chocolate to be created, roasting must take place around 210 degrees Fahrenheit. This step can take a few minutes or just over an hour. It gives cacaos a rich aroma and adds to the chocolate flavor. Roasting is critical and requires constant supervision for a fine outcome. Low temperature roasting will net a chocolate bean that’s fruity. Longer roasting of cacaos increases bitterness.
Tedious filtering is the next step in chocolate creation. Called winnowing, this is when cacaos are shelled and made ready for grinding, which is another essential step in the chocolate creation process.
Creating the finest in chocolates, is a lot harder than it seems. From bean to bar, each step along the way requires patience and expertise.
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George Murray is the President of Centric Promotions, Inc. Learn more about the history of chocolate and view an assortment of luxury chocolates and chocolate gifts by visiting us at: http://www.chocolate-gourmet-gifts.com