The cocoa-bean -- the heart of the sweetest delicacy in the world -- is bitter!

This is why, up to the 18th century some native tribes ate only the sweetish flesh of the cocoa fruit. They regarded the precious bean as waste or used it, as was the case among the Aztecs, as a form of currency. The There are two quite different basic classifications of cocoa, under which practically all varieties can be categorised: Criollo and Forastero cocoas. The pure variety of the Criollo tree is found mainly in its native Equador and Venezuela. The seeds are of finer quality than those of the Forastero variety. Varieties

They have a particularly fine, mild aroma and are, therefore, used only in the production of high-quality chocolate and for blending. However, Criollo cocoa accounts for only 10% of the world crop. The remaining 90% is harvested from trees of the Forastero family, with its many hybrids and varieties. The main growing area is West Africa. The cocoa tree can flourish only in the hottest regions of the world. The Immediately after harvesting, the fruit is treated to prevent it from rotting. At fermentation sites either in the plantation or at, collecting points, the fruit is opened. Harvest

Fermentation The fermentation process is decisive in the production of high quality raw cocoa. The technique varies depending on the growing region. Drying After fermentation, the raw cocoa still contains far too much water; in fact about 60%. Most of this has to be removed. What could be more natural than to spread the beans out to dry on the sunsoaked ground or on mats? After a week or so, all but a small percentage of the water has evaporated. Cleaning Before the real processing begins, the raw cocoa is thoroughly cleaned by passing through sieves, and by brushing. Finally, the last vestiges of wood, jute fibres, sand and even the finest

which extract the cocoa butter. This is dark brown in colour with a characteristic. during which the air in the nearly 10 feet high furnaces reaches a temperature of 130 °C. Roasting The subsequent roasting process is primarily designed to develop the aroma. beautiful lustre and delicate. It not only forms part of every recipe. during which some of the cocoa butter is added to it. cocoa cakes are left which still . The heat generated by the resulting pressure and friction causes the cocoa butter (approximately 50% of the bean) contained in the beans to melt. the crushed beans are weighed and blended according to special recipes. strong odour. Blending Before grinding. A part of the cocoa paste is taken to large presses.dust are extracted by powerful vacuum equipment. Crushing and shelling The roasted beans are now broken into medium sized pieces in the crushing machine. The other part passes through various blending and refining processes. Cocoa Butter The cocoa butter has important functions. which are still fairly coarse are now pre-ground by special milling equipment and then fed on to rollers where they are ground into a fine paste. producing a thick. liquid mixture. Cocoa Powder After the cocoa butter has left the press. The entire roasting process. but it also later gives the chocolate its fine structure. At this point the production process divides into two paths. The secret of every chocolate factory lies in the special mixing ratios which it has developed for different types of cocoa. Grinding The crushed cocoa beans. attractive glaze. During cooling it gradually sets: this is the cocoa paste. The two paths have rejoined. but which soon join again. is carried out automatically.

Cocoa paste. cocoa butter. meaning a shell) is the name given to the troughs in which 100 to 1000 kilograms of chocolate paste at a time can be heated up to 80 °C and. strongly aromatic powder which is excellent for the preparation of delicious drinks . For during this period the chocolate paste will be refined to such an extent in the conches that it will flatter even the most discriminating palate.contain a 10 to 20% proportion of fat depending on the intensity of compression. the cocoa paste. namely: Kneading In the case of milk chocolate for example.go into the mixer. These cakes are crushed again. is given a velvet smoothness by the addition of certain amounts of cocoa butter. Rolling Depending on the design of the rolling mills. but dissolves meltingly on the tongue. . sugar and milk are the four basic ingredients for making chocolate. ground to powder and finely sifted in several stages and we obtain a dark. while being constantly stirred. where they are pulverized and kneaded. A kind of aeration of the liquid chocolate paste then takes place in the conches: its bitter taste gradually disappears and the flavour is fully developed. Conches (from the Spanish word "concha". It has attained the outstanding purity which gives it its reputation. three or five vertically mounted steel rollers rotate in opposite directions. sugar and flavouring . (One micron is a thousandth part of a millimetre. 30 microns. By blending them in accordance with specific recipes the three types of chocolate are obtained which form the basis of ever product assortment. But within two or three days all that will have been put right. powdered or condensed milk.maybe vanilla . The chocolate no longer seems sandy. cocoa butter.) Conching But still the chocolate paste is not smooth enough to satisfy our palates.cocoa. Under heavy pressure they pulverise the tiny particles of cocoa and sugar down to a size of approx.

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