Are you doing your part for chocolate?
The Average person in the United States eats 10 pounds of chocolate every year!
Chocolate is a favorite for kids and adults alike.
Chocolate bars, chocolate fudge, chocolate cake, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate ice cream, chocolate milk, chocolate cereal, hot chocolate, chocolate sauce... There is something special about this substance -- so special that the average person in the United States eats 10 pounds of chocolate every year!
So far, we've taken the seeds of a tree, roasted them and ground them up. Now the process of making the chocolate we eat can begin, and it takes a lot of talent.
There are three basic things that must be done by the chocolate maker to make a chocolate bar:Adding ingredients - The chocolate that we eat contains sugar, other flavors (like vanilla) and often milk (in milk chocolate). The chocolate maker adds these ingredients according to his or her secret recipe.
Conching - A special machine is used to massage the chocolate in order to blend the ingredients together and smooth it out. Conching can take anywhere from two to six days.
Tempering - Tempering is a carefully controlled heating process. According to this Chocolate FAQ, tempering is "a process where the chocolate is slowly heated, then slowly cooled, allowing the cocoa butter molecules to solidify in an orderly fashion." Without tempering, the chocolate does not harden properly or the cocoa butter separates out (as cream separates from milk).
These three steps, along with the blend of cocoa beans chosen at the start and the way they are roasted, are the art of chocolate making. The steps control the quality, taste and texture of the chocolate produced, and are often closely guarded secrets!