About ChocolateTo better acquaint you with the delectable substance know as chocolate, here is the brief story of where it comes from and how it’s made.
The cacao tree produces the cacao bean. This bean is then processed into cocoa and chocolate. Most cacao trees are grown and harvested in countries located near the hot and humid equator.
Once cacao pods are harvested from the fields, they are transported to holding bins where they are dried for two to six years.
When dried sufficiently, the cacao pods are mechanically cut in half and rotated at high speeds to release the cacao beans. The beans are then piled up to allow fermentation to take place. They are dried well and then shipped to the chocolate factory.
At the factory the beans go into a roaster. The roaster changes the light-colored bitter beans into dark-colored beans and gives them the rich distinctive aroma of chocolate as we know it.
After roasting, the beans are de-shelled. The pure cacao bean is then sent through a grinder to release a natural vegetable oil called cocoa butter. This mixes with the solid cacao bean to produce a rich thick chocolate liquid. The chocolate liquid then goes through a giant food press. Cocoa disks: The pressure on the liquid is so great that the cocoa butter is forced off the press. A few seconds later a solid disc of cocoa is formed. This disc is broken down into cocoa powder, which forms the base of many of our favorite chocolate products. To make ready-to-chocolate, the pure chocolate powder is mixed with cocoa butter, milk and sugar. This gritty chocolate paste is then kneaded for hours or days, until the chocolatier decides it has the desired flavor and smoothness. The chocolate is then poured into molds to make perfectly formed bars, which are then shipped to candy companies like Cerreta’s.
The Chocolate Connection uses a distinctive and robust chocolate that is custom blended exclusively for their use by the family owned Guittard Chocolate company, which is the oldest chocolate factory on the west coast.