Humanity's love affair with chocolate dates back to ancient times. Chocoholics might not take the time to pause and wonder exactly how it is this miraculous creation is made. If they did, they'd probably be surprised at how much work actually goes into creating their favorite confection. The fact of the matter is there is a great deal more to making fine chocolate than picking a cacao bean and cooking it. From the actual bean selection right down to the creation of different varieties, expert touches are required to ensure the highest quality, most flavorful chocolate creation. Going from Point A to Point B takes a very special touch if perfection is desired.
The first and perhaps the most important step in making chocolate is the actual bean selection itself. If the bean chosen isn't of high quality, the end result will be a less than desirable chocolate. For this reason, many fine chocolate makers take great pains to select their beans personally.
Once a master chocolate chef, or chocolatier, selects the beans, they are then fermented and roasted. The roasting can have a big impact on the finished flavor, but the next steps are even more important. After the roasting, the chocolate creation process involves actually grinding the beans. During the grinding, the liquid from the beans is mostly removed. Known as cacao liquor, this fluid is turned into the actual chocolate.
To create the end product from chocolate liquor, sugar must go into the mix. Once this is done, a grinding process takes place again. This helps ensure that a gritty, grainy taste doesn't result. Following the grinding, chocolate makers move on to a step that is known as conching. This involves a combination of heating and further grinding. This step can take place over a few hours or for more than a day. It is at this point that chocolate begins to take on the form that most chocoholics love.
After chocolate has been properly conched, the chocolate maker then works the last few steps of the process. This can involve adding the ingredients for milk chocolate, dark or more. Depending on the type of chocolate desired, the final touches might include decorative shaping, filling or even frosting.
There is a great deal more to creating chocolate than many lovers even realize. From the bean to the finished confection, an expert touch is necessary at every step in the process.