A few months ago we talked about the incredible and fascinating story behind chocolate and cocoa, an ancient food from the Peruvian and Bolivian Amazon rainforest, which humans domesticated and used until it became a religious and cult drink, as did the Mesoamerican cultures, and which finally became a global product, thanks to of European colonisation.
What is the secret to a good tasting chocolate?
To answer this question, we would have to create another article, as the answer is quite extensive. Generally, we can say that the secret of a good tasting chocolate depends to a large extent on what happens long before the production process and depends on three very important factors:
- Genetic variety: There are currently more than 10 genetic varieties of cocoa, each with its own aromatic variety. However, one of the highest quality cocoas is found in Central and South America, the so-called Cacao Criollo. This cocoa was carefully selected and cultivated over thousands and thousands of years because its taste was much less bitter and astringent. If you are wondering how you can tell the variety of the type of cocoa which the chocolate you usually eat contains, we must inform you that you can only find out if it is an authentic artisan chocolate bar and not a commercial chocolate.
- The fermentation process: This is the moment the aroma precursors are developed, so this is a key part of the chocolate-making process. A cocoa that has not been fermented properly will result in a chocolate with a very bitter taste, which will have to be camouflaged with sugars and additives to make it taste good.
- The drying process: The drying process is important, because if the cocoa is not dried properly, this can damage the quality of the cocoa, giving it a musty taste that no one would want to taste. Also, if the cocoa is not dried properly, during transport, it could rot due to its high moisture content.
How is chocolate made?
Assuming that the cocoa the chocolatier has received is in good condition and comes from a good genetic variety that has been fermented and dried properly, it is now time to start working the magic to transform this product into what we know as chocolate.
What we describe below is a general process, as the process may vary slightly depending on the size of the manufacturer. There will be variations depending on whether the chocolate is made by a small chocolatier or a large industrial company.
Roasting and winnowing
First of all, it is time to roast the cocoa. This process is, together with the fermentation process, the most important, because here, we will activate the aromas that we have created during fermentation. But be careful, this step is very delicate, and if the cocoa is over-roasted, the chocolate will not only taste burnt and ashy, but the fruity notes that reside within the cocoa itself will be completely eliminated.
Once the cocoa has been roasted, the shells must be removed. This process may vary from one manufacturer to another, but the most practical and simple way is to inject air into the cocoa, until the shell falls away from the seed.
The cocoa bean is mainly made up of fat, which varies from one genetic variety to another, so when we proceed to grind the cocoa, thanks to the fat we find in it, when we inject heat while grinding it, the bean will turn into a paste, which is known as cocoa mass or cocoa liquor.
Once we have obtained the cocoa mass, we can obtain several final products, depending on the use we give to this paste:
- Chocolate products: We mix the paste we have obtained with the ingredients we want (sugar, powdered milk) to make a delicious chocolate bar.
- Confectionery and beauty products: The cocoa mass can be pressed to separate the fat from the solid content. With the fat or cocoa butter, we could fabricate anything from white chocolate to beauty products, such as moisturising creams like cocoa butter for lip balms. With the solid content, the cocoa powder, we could fabricate anything from hot chocolate to confectionery products.
The options are really endless and it all depends on the final use we want to give our chocolate.
Refining, tempering and packaging
If we finally want to elaborate a good chocolate bar, the process we will have to follow will be very delicate, as we will want to obtain a delicious chocolate bar.
After obtaining the cocoa mass, the ingredients must be left to mix for at least 24 hours in a melangeur, a machine with granite stones, which mixes the ingredients continuously to obtain a very fine, lump-free chocolate.
Afterwards, we would temper this chocolate on a marble table, so that it would be very shiny and make a very crunchy sound when we break it.
This will result in a delicious chocolate bar.
COULANT AT AGUST BARCELONA
After this brief journey through the history of chocolate and its origins, we invite you to come to Agust Barcelona and try our delicious chocolate coulant.
This exquisite dessert elaborated with the best refined chocolate is a delight not to be missed if you are a great lover of this food.
So remember, we are waiting for you in our restaurant, where you can enjoy an authentic and delicious experience. You won’t want to miss it!