When we pop a piece of chocolate in our mouth the first thought that comes to our mind is how is the delicious marvel created. While most of us are aware that cocoa beans are the reason behind the taste and texture of chocolate we bring to you what goes behind the making of a chocolate.
First of all the cocoa is checked for any kinds of impurities. These include any stones or any other extra particles in the same. Some manufacturers use up to 12 kinds of different types of cocoa beans and they have to take care of the consistency of each. Next, all the cocoa beans are roasted at very high temperatures of 210-290 degree Fahrenheit.
Roasting process can take from half an hour to nearly two hours. After the roasting process is over the beans get dried and darken. This results in enrichment of their flavour and taste. These cocoa beans are then cracked and winnowed. This means that their outer shells are broken away and only the inside crushed and broken pieces of cocoa beans are left. These pieces are known as nibs and can be really bitter to taste. You can eat them though the taste may or may not be as per your liking.
These nibs are then crushed and converted into a thick paste. Known as the chocolate liquor this is quite bitter and does not have the creamy and sweet texture and taste that the chocolate is supposed to have. The manufacturer is now supposed to add cocoa butter, vanilla, milk and sugar to make the matter tasty and sweet.
The liquor now tastes as good as a chocolate but it is still far from being made into a chocolate bar. To do that there is a process known as conching which is apparently running the mixture through a chocolate making machine which looks like a conch hence the name. This mixes and matches and aerates the chocolate.
On this juncture, you can add some more cocoa butter and some soy lecithin. This is done to improve the texture of the chocolate and make it really thick. For cheap quality chocolates, the conching process happens in hours whereas for the expensive ones it can take close to 6 days. Finally, we temper the chocolate mixture, let it cool, stir it and then reheat and repeat the process till the chocolate regains the texture and thickness that we want it to be. This process also makes the chocolate glossy and easy to melt and mould.
This is how your favourite chocolate changes from being just a bean to something that gratifies each of your senses. The outcome of all these processes is what you receive in the form of exquisitely wrapped chocolate bars. The manufacturers keep attempting and trying new and innovative methods to bring forth new tastes and flavours for you to enjoy. Technology is helping make these processes simple and when you relish a chocolate bar you should always remember the tough ordeal they pass through.