The Art of Chocolate Making
Bean to Bar
THE COCOA POD
(THE FRUIT OF THE COCOA TREE)
Making chocolate begins with the cocoa pod. Cocoa pods are the fruit of the cocoa tree which grows exclusively around a narrow band from above and below the equator. The beans are housed in a thick fibrous pod which grows off the tree as shown below. The seeds themselves, contained in the pods are the cherished items processed into chocolate. Covering the seeds when they are initially removed from the pods is a white, sweet and tangy edible pulp. Each pod contains 30-50 seeds.
The Chocolate Process
As the pod grows it also ripens until it is ready to be picked off the cocoa tree.
After the pods are picked from the tree they are split open and the cocoa beans are removed. The cocoa beans are initially covered with a sweet film (indicated above) which is removed during the fermentation process. The fermentation box as seen in this picture from Grenada is used to dry out the white sweet film which covers the seeds. Fermentation is a key process as it sets the stage for flavour development of the chocolate further down the l
In order to fully dry the beans, they are then placed on large trays as shown below and aerated and dried in the sun.
The beans are then packaged in perforated sacks so that they are able to breath and not accumulate moisture.
The beans are then sorted to ensures the removal of unwanted foreign debris and then gently cooked. Traditional cocoa roasters rotate the beans in a spherical chamber and roast the cocoa beans through convection to achieve an even roast.
After the beans have been discharged from the roaster, they are cooled and ready for de-shelling or winnowing.
The coca nibs are ground into a paste. The paste is then refined further to develop deeper flavours.
The chocolate is then tempered - heated to the perfect temperature. The tempered chocolate is then poured into molds or used to make bonbons.