We all know that chocolate is delicious.
But do you know where it comes from? How it is made?
Chocolate is made from cacao beans, which are the seeds of the cacao tree.
The history of chocolate begins in Mesoamerica and dates back to 350 BC.
The Aztecs believed cacao seeds were the gift of Quetzalcoatl, the god of wisdom,
and the seeds were used as money.
The Cocoa tree
Cacao flowers grow on the trunk or main branches of the tree.
The Cocoa Pod
The flowers ripen into big golden pods full of beans and a bitter white pulp. Cacao beans taste very bitter. They need to be dried, crushed and mixed with sugar and sometimes milk before they become the chocolate we love.
In chocolate factories, the cacao beans are cleaned and sorted. The skins, or husks of the beans are blown, or winnowed away.
Then they are the beans are fermented before being dried. The dried beans are crushed into finer and finer particles.
The cocoa nibs are ground to form cocoa mass, which is also known as cocoa liquor or chocolate liquor.
Finally the chocolate paste is tempered, (heated and then cooled) carefully to give it a glossy smooth look.
Then it is conched, a special mixing and stirring process that adds air.
This develops the taste and the chocolate becomes velvety smooth.