Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Processing the First Chocolate Harvest

Chocolate, Food of the gods 
Chocolate has been revered for many centuries, and not just in the United States or Europe where we may think of when we think of today.  Chocolate has a rich history in South America where chocolate ruled.  If someone poor was caught stealing chocolate, they would be killed.  Chocolate was only for royalty, and it was the self proclaimed food of the gods.  After all, the Latin name Theobroma Cacao means food of the gods.  Therefore it had great religious significance and value.  It was even used as a currency at times where the beans would serve as a type of coin.  This was one of the first ideas of having a currency with an item that held its value, and would always be worth a fairly stable amount.  Here today we are going through the process of making chocolate.

                    The fruit comes from leafy trees shown in the video. The cacao pods grow directly on the wood, unlike many other fruits.   One must harvest the pods when they reach a certain size and softness.  They then split them open and scoop out the seeds that are covered in soft white pulp.  This pulp is pure sugar, and is edible. The seeds inside are what the chocolate is made of.  One must dry the seeds under the sun for 5 days allowing it to ferment in order to develop flavonoids and flavors of the beans.  They are then cooked in a shallow pan for twenty minutes in order to develop flavor as well as shrink the bean and make liberating it from the shell easier.  The beans are then peeled.   There is a thin peel layer that is not good to eat, this is peeled off.  Then the beans are put through a basic corn mill.  They are usually processed three times in order to make the chocolate smooth.    

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