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PostSubject: How is chocolate made?   Wed Feb 25 2009, 18:48

How is chocolate made?



The creation
of this confection is tedious and time-consuming, and has both a sweet
and a bittersweet ending. Initially, skilled workers cut ripe cacao
bean pods from the cacao tree, split them open, and scrape out the pulp
contained inside. After the mass of pulp ferments for a few days,
workmen spread it in the hot sun to dry, separate the dried seeds from
the remainder of the pulp, and bag them for shipment to the market.



Once the bagged seeds
arrive at their destination, the manufacturer's processing mill, they
are cleaned to remove foreign material. Next, they are roasted, to
loosen their husks, which are then literally blown away in yet another
process. Finally, the inner kernel of the seed is broken into bits
called "nibs." At this juncture, the road in the chocolate making
process forks, as what is done next with the nibs determines the final
product.


When the nibs
are ground under heavy stone mills, the oil within the nibs is
released, and transforms the mass into "chocolate liquor," a thick
substance which, upon hardening, produces the bitter chocolate used in
recipes for baking and for candy-making. The method of producing sweet
chocolate follows that of producing bitter chocolate, with the addition
of other substances, such as cocoa butter, a fat.



Workmen obtain cocoa
butter, a byproduct of the cocoa making process, by grinding the nibs,
and by separating part of the fat from the resulting mass. Not only is
cocoa butter an essential ingredient in producing sweet chocolate, but
also in producing cosmetics and medicines. Once the cocoa butter is
extracted for its various uses, the remaining mass is finely, and
finally, ground to produce cocoa.



Cocoa, the drink, is
the mother of all chocolate making. The ancient Aztecs prepared the
original version of this beverage by crushing cacao beans, which they
boiled with water and various spices, seasoned with pepper, and served
cold.



Spanish explorers,
who stumbled upon this potent Aztec drink, stole the recipe, deleted
the pepper from it, and substituted an equal measure of sugar to the
crushed cacao beans and water before boiling it. The Spaniards
successfully squirreled away their new and improved drink recipe for
almost 100 years until, in the mid 17th century, a Frenchman found
sweet success by discovering the art of making solid chocolate from
finely ground cacao beans.


The secret was out, and the rest is history!
Source: coolquiz.com
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