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Just How Is Chocolate Made?
How is chocolate made you are wondering? Chocolate is derived from a cocoa bean removed from the pod of the cocoa tree. Cocoa trees are found growing in equatorial zones in the South America region. Once the Cocoa beans have been harvested they are then placed into large shallow pans to be heated. This is also known as the fermentation process. In some regions where the climate is warm the beans may be fermented by the sun. Throughout this fermentation workers stir them often to ensure that all the cocoa beans have been equally fermented.
One of the first things that industrial chocolate manufacturers do is dry roast the beans. The process of dry roasting helps develop the flavor into what we enjoy when eating it. The cocoa nibs, otherwise known as beans are comprised of two very important ingredients: cocoa solids and cocoa butter. The cocoa butter is basically a fat while the cocoa solids are predominantly coarse cocoa powder. The seperation of the two ingredients is very crucial in producing a smooth, high quality chocolate candy.
The process of removing the cocoa butter from the cocoa solids is to convert the nibs into a non alcoholic liquid called liquor. Once this is done the liquor is then sent into high pressure to press and squeeze the butter from the solids. What remains is a cake of solid cocoa. After the butter is removed it is then refined for future use, such as use in the cosmetic industry. Once the cocoa solids have been extracted and ground into a coarse fine powder it is then mixed together with other ingredients to become the chocolate candy we enjoy today.
To produce the bitter sweet dark chocolate the powder is mixed with cocoa butter and some sugar. Milk chocolate is made by mixing the powder with a minimum amount of cocoa butter, sugar and milk. White chocolate is produced by combining all the ingredients and by adding real vanilla flavoring as an emulsifier.
Once all the ingredients are combined they are all stirred together under heat to make a molten chocolate. The mixture is then placed into larger vats where it will be conched. The conching process is done by large smooth granite rollers that keep the chocolate mixture stirred and continue to grind the powder into relatively small pieces. To make the smooth velvety texture, the mixture is conched by very small granite rollers. The conching process takes several days at a time.
After all these steps have been completed the chocolate is then poured into molds where it is then allowed to cool and then removed and placed in a wrapper. Then the famous candy treat is ready to be dispersed to enjoy.
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