The Bean to Bar Process
Here are the key stages I go through to make my chocolate:
Once the cocoa beans reach me, I sort through them by hand. I remove damaged and broken beans and pieces of twings and stones that might have accidently fallen in from the farm.
This really impacts the flavour of the final chocolate. I roast each bean origin to a differenct profile to tease out its best flavours.
Roasted cocoa beans are passed through a handmill to break them into pieces.
The thin, papery cocoa husk is seperated from the cocoa nibs via a winnowing machine. The husks are used for tea or garden mulch, and the nibs for chocolate.
Grinding and Conching
In order to make silky-smooth chocolate, the cocoa nibs are stone-ground in small batches. They are ground for 40 hours or more. During this time, sugar and a little cocoa butter are added, along with other ingredients depending on the bar.
After the chocolate couverture has been poured into containers and left to age for a while, it is cut into chunks and hand tempered. Tempering creates a glossy apperance and that all important snap!
The tempered chocolate is poured into moulds and left to set before being wrapped and packaged. Any chocolate that isn't used to make bars will be used to make my truffles and bonbons.