Everything is prepared. It is amazing when you think of all the different steps that have already been mastered only to supply me with this block of couverture. So many things have happened before I can even start. It’s a long way from a cocoa fruit to chocolate.
Of beans and mosquitoes
The cacao needs a warm, humid climate to grow; also it only prospers in the shades. After being pollinated by little mosquitoes it takes four to nine months until the tree bears ripe fruits. These are being separated from the tree with huge machetes; the pulp and semen (the cocoa beans) are being taken out of the fruits and spread onto banana leaves. The pulp begins to detach itself from the beans, its bitter constituents oxidise and the beans take on their typical dark colour. This process is called fermentation. Before going to Europe and North America for further manipulation, the beans need another two weeks of drying to develop their characteristic aroma. Landed at their destination the cocoa beans are ready to be cleaned properly, for roasting and for finally being ground. It took quite a while but here it is: the cocoa mass. After adding cocoa butter, milk powder and sugar, rolling and conching the mass, it is finally done. This product is ready for the ultimate step: Becoming a chocolate bar!
Compared to this complex production process, it is rather unimpressive what I will be doing now. The couverture is chopped up small. It is very important to cut the pieces in equally tiny pieces, so they can melt at the same pace. To make it melt I also need water that is exactly 55°C hot- which is hard to accomplish!. This specific temperature is incredibly important to help the chocolate reach the right crystal form, which again is necessary to process further. This temperature is also significant if you want to avoid grey spots and lines on your chocolate bar or to make sure it I doesn’t look dull or crumbly. As it seems it is really important to be precise and this needs a whole lot of patience. The latter isn’t really my strong point….
Did you miss how it all began? No problem, it's all in our blog. =)