How is gourmet chocolate made? - Cravings by Zoe

How is gourmet chocolate made?


Harvesting the cocoa beans

Harvesting cocoa beans is the first step in making chocolate. Cocoa trees grow best in warm, humid, tropical climates and require lots of rain during their growing season - around 70% of cocoa is grown in West African countries. Cocoa trees take about four years to mature and produce flowers; once this happens and the flowers are pollinated a pod forms containing 30 to 40 seeds called ‘beans’. These cocoa beans grow inside pods for eight months before they're harvested using machetes or mechanical harvesters — not all beans ripen at once so pickers must be able to identify fruit that's ready for harvesting. These pods are collected in sacks and taken to nearby factories where they're dried before being fermented—a process that brings out their chocolate flavor. Most cacao, around 90%, is grown on small family farms by farmers who are dedicated to harvesting their crops sustainably.

Fresh Cocoa for Gourmet Chocolate  

Cocoa beans are fermented to develop their flavor

That’s right just like alcohol and bread, making chocolate also requires fermentation! Fermentation is a process in which yeasts and bacteria break down sugars in food. This releases carbon dioxide as well as lactic acid, which helps develop the flavor of the beans and prevents any harmful bacteria from growing on them. The fermentation process takes 3-7 days before each batch of beans is ready for roasting or grinding.

Beans are dried, sorted, and roasted

Next, the fermented beans are dried and sorted to remove any leftover shells. In most cases, the dried beans are also roasted to bring out more of their chocolate taste. Roasting helps to bring out the color and flavor of the cocoa beans, it also kills bacteria and mold spores that may be on the beans. After roasting, it's time to crack and winnow the beans to remove their shells. This process is done either by hand with a hammer or by machine, leaving behind only 100% pure cocoa nibs which are then ground into a thick paste called cocoa mass. This is the chocolatey base for all types of chocolate.


Extra ingredients are added to make the chocolate you love!

At this point, extra ingredients are added depending on what type of chocolate is being made. The ingredients are mixed together in a melanger (a special machine that grinds the ingredients together).

To make dark chocolate the cocoa nibs are mixed with sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla, and often additional oils. This mixture is then conched, which helps to smooth out the texture, and tempered, which makes it shiny and stable at room temperature. It's then molded into bars or blocks for sale.

When making milk chocolate a large quantity of fresh cream is added along with sugar, cocoa butter, and lecithin, to give the chocolate its characteristic taste, creamy texture, and light color. Vanilla or other flavorings may also be added for a more complex flavor profile.

These ingredients are melted together at high temperatures to create a liquid mixture that is poured into molds to solidify before being packaged.

White chocolate is slightly different as it doesn't contain any cocoa solids. Cocoa butter, sugar, and milk solids are mixed together to give white chocolate its creamy texture.

Many steps that go into making quality chocolate, but we’re sure you’ll agree with us that it’s so worth the time and effort required! e also offers many health benefits, check them out here.

So why not treat yourself to some of the top-quality gourmet gifts from Cravings by Zoe? Our site has a vast selection of melt-in-your-mouth gourmet chocolate gifts, all made from premium ingredients.