Chocolate is one of the most delicious foods in the world. It can satisfy your taste buds and give you a bigger serotonin boost than kissing your loved one. A bar of chocolate can make even the worst day a little better.
Our worldwide obsession with this sweet treat goes back to Aztec times when chocolate was used as a currency. In the Revolutionary War, some soldiers were even paid in chocolate because it never spoiled. Genius!
You can buy chocolate gifts online and treatyour friends and family to a special treat. You have probably eaten hundreds of chocolate bars in your lifetime – but do you know how it’s made?
Harvest the beans
Chocolate is made of cocoa beans that grow on the tropical cacao tree. The fruit comes in vibrant green, purple, red or yellow pods that change colour as they ripen through the season. When the pods are fully ripe in May and December, they are cut down, and the beans are popped out. The beans are immediately covered in banana leaves to help them ferment over three to nine days. They give off a wonderful cocoa smell and turn deep brown when they are ready.
Roasting and winnowing
Next up, the beans need to be roasted to bring out their flavour and colour. They are then cracked open in a machine, and the centres are separated from the husk.
The delicious centres referred to as ‘nibs’, now need to be ground into a pulp. They are mixed with sugar and milk powder and further ground to make them smoother.
The unwanted flavours and smells are removed by heating and stirring the mix – this is called conching. The chocolate will be wonderfully smooth and ready to cool down from 45 to 28 degrees Celsius. Finally, the chocolate is raised to 30 degrees Celsius to crystalise the butter and produce the famous firm texture.
There are thousands of recipes for chocolate around the world, and each has its own secret ingredient. Over the years, we have begun adding fruits, nuts and popping candy to our chocolate bars. We make bitesize chocolates, enormous bars and even chocolate fountains for special occasions.
Nowadays, most of us are aware of the unhealthy nutritional makeup of most chocolate bars. So, our beloved sweet treat is reserved for times when we need a slice of luxury, or a midday pick me up.