Learn the Facts About Chocolate Production!
Ever wondered where that chocolate bar came from? Presenting the amazing steps in chocolate production!
When you come right down to it, we take chocolate production for granted. All those pretty shiny packages at shops and stores hide sweet, delicious treasures which we pop into our mouths without a thought for the hours and processes that have gone into making them. How can we be true chocolate extremists when we don't even know where our chocolate comes from?
Never fear: here's the lowdown on chocolate production from cocoa bean to chocolate bar!
Chocolate's a Fruit...
If it grows on trees, it must be a fruit -- right? Well, we can pretend. And that's precisely where every chocolate chip has its beginning: in a cocoa pod on a cocoa tree located on a farm in hot, wet countries.
Because cocoa trees are so fragile, you can't climb them. That means that farmers harvest ripe cocoa pods with special steel poles. They knock them down, gather them up, and carry off to where the chocolate production begins: with the opening of the cocoa pods.
Farmers crack the pods open with hammers, revealing between twenty and fifty creamy white cocoa beans. It takes 400 beans to make a single pound of chocolate!
...And Fruits Ferment!
The next step in chocolate production? Fermentation! Without fermentation, the cocoa beans retain that bitter, acidic taste. By the time the fermentation is complete, the beans have attained their traditional dark brown color. That tells the farmer it's time to lay them out to dry. While they dry, the beans will drop almost half their weight (if only it were that easy!).
Once plants receive the dried cocoa beans, the real chocolate production begins. Production plants roast and shell the beans, then grind them up, allowing the beans to release their inner oils (which we call cocoa liquor). All chocolate products start from some form of cocoa liquor!