Valentine’s Day, a modern holiday which evokes fond memories for many people…. of chocolate!
But how exactly is all the chocolate made?
What will eventually become a chocolate bar starts off deep in jungles from Brazil, Indonesia, Ghana, Belize, and other countries around the world. It is the cacao tree which produces a melon-like fruit which is harvested by hand using machetes. Inside the pod are around 30 seeds, also known as cacao beans. These beans are dried in piles for about a week, which helps to darken the beans and ferment the beans slightly. It gives them their unique flavor, along with a bitterness.
Beans from each region have unique flavor, some chocolate manufacturers blend beans from multiple locations to make a consistent flavor.
Once the beans are transported, via rail car to ships then to factories (Like Hershey’s in Pennsylvania), they are put into large vats and slowly roasted at very high temperatures. The vats are slowly stirred or rotated, ensuring the beans are roasted throughout.
Shells are separated and removed (and sometimes available for free as a wonderful smelling compost!).
The beans are then combined in recipes which are unique to each chocolate manufacturer, but generally involve mixing cocoa butter, sugar and milk. (1)
The sugar, milk, cocoa butter mixture is ground into smaller and smaller particles which eventually forms a paste-like consistency. Once the consistency is smooth, taking several days depending on manufacturer, the paste is poured into familiar moulds, and carefully cooled.
Often, manufacturers add peanuts and other ingredients during the cooling process.
Once cooled, the chocolate candy can then be wrapped and shipped!
Fresh and yummy.
Sturbridge Yankee web only special!
Celebrate the romance of luscious, tart cherries and dark Belgian chocolate with this all natural, wonderfully moist bread mix. Delicious served warm drizzled with hot fudge sauce and vanilla ice cream. From a New England bakery. 1 lb. 2 oz.