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The Sweet Origins of Chocolate

"In my dreams I gorge on chocolates, I roll in chocolates, and their texture is not brittle but soft as flesh, like a thousand mouths on my body, devouring me in fluttering small bites. To die beneath their tender gluttony seems the culmination of every temptation I have ever known." - JOANNE HARRIS, Chocolat

Chocolate comes from the seeds of the Theobroma cacao, or the cacao tree, a small evergreen tree that grows deep in tropical Mesoamerica. Theobroma cacao, meaning Food of the Gods, was first consumed by the Mayans and Aztecs as a spicy drink made from roasted cocoa beans called chocolatl. In the 16th century, the Aztecs introduced cocoa to the Spaniards, who took the prized ingredient back to Europe, where it was so expensive, that only the truly rich could afford it. Cocoa continued to be consumed in liquid form until Victorian times, when Dutch chemist Coenraad Johannes van Houten and his father, Casparus van Houten Senior, devised a method to transform chocolate into what we know and enjoy today.


How is chocolate made?

Remember Theobroma cacao from earlier? That's where it all starts! With the right amount of rainfall and the perfect temperatures, Theobroma cacao, or the cacao tree, thrives. On the cacao tree grows the cacao fruit, inside which are cacao beans, and that's where the magic begins!

Once the cacao beans are removed from the cacao fruit, the beans are fermented and dried; the fermentation process, of curse, depends on the specific type of cacao bean being used. The fermentation process causes a chemical change in the cacao beans, which helps the chocolate flavor mature and develop. The drying process is when the flavor is locked in, and that is the flavor the bans maintain on their journey to the manufacturer.

As soon as they arrive at the manufacturer, the beans are cleaned. Some manufacturers mix together different variety beans to created a unique combination of flavors for their finished product. Then, the beans are roasted to eliminate any moisture, as well as bring out the rich flavors of the beans even more. The final flavor of the chocolate is also dependent on how long, and at what temperature, the beans are roasted. If the manufacturer is using a mix of beans from varied origins, the roasting temperature and time could differ between each type of bean in order to extract the best flavor.

Once the roasting process is complete, the outer shell of the beans comes off, revealing the cocoa nibs inside. These nibs consist of around 50% cocoa butter; they get ground into cocoa mass, or cocoa liquor, by a hydraulic press machine created by Casparus van Houten. This cocoa liquor is then pressed in order to separate the cocoa butter and cocoa cake.

The cocoa butter is added to the chocolate (this gives chocolate its melting quality), along with sugar to add sweetness. If the end product is white chocolate, cocoa powder (which gives chocolate its flavor) is not added at this step. and cocoa powder to add flavor. If the end product is milk chocolate, milk is added to the mixture. Emulsifiers are added to some chocolates to make them smoother; if emulsifiers are used, a smaller quantity of cocoa butter is required.

The marriage of all these ingredients into a batch of chocolate is called conching; the conching process involves beating together the mixture of ingredients in order to develop the chocolate's flavor, and to smoothen it. The conching process can last hours, or it can last days. It is this process that determines how a chocolate will taste.

Following the conching process is the tempering process; the tempering process involves heating the mixture in order to crystallize it. Tempered chocolate then gets shaped to the specification of each type of chocolate or bar, and hardens into the delicious treat enjoyed world over.

 

About Us

Chocobrosia Chocolatier uses real couverture chocolate sourced from high quality cocoa beans
Artisan Chocolates from Chocobrosia

At Chocobrosia, we source the highest quality cocoa beans to sweeten your event. Our handcrafted chocolate creations can be customized to match any occasion, theme or event you may have, leaving a lasting impression on all recipients. We at Chocobrosia are passionate about chocolate, and always go the extra mile to provide unforgettable chocolate creations that will take your gifting experience to the next level.

Our promise is to exert our best efforts to satisfy your requirements and provide you with outstanding service, quality and punctuality. We strive towards building a long term relationship with you and becoming your number one choice for special occasions.

Check out our collections here.

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