The credit goes to Spain for letting the whole world discover this amazing wonder of nature. Cortez Hernan, a Spanish conqueror, brought the first Cocoa beans to Europe in 1520. Then, Columbus brought Xocolat to the high society of Europe, but it was not appreciated much due to its bitter taste. Slowly and only after adding sugar, the chocolate drink from the Americas started to become a luxury item to have in ceremonies and parties.
The first domestic chocolates were produced at the beginning of the 17th century. At that time it was a privilege to have some chocolate at home, as it was extremely difficult to find: the production was exclusive and handmade. The first milk chocolate was produced in 1875 by Daniel Peter, and the first real chocolate factory was founded by Francois Louis Cailler in Switzerland in 1918. After that, chocolate developed to become a huge industry and planting capacity hugely increased. The Ivory Coast, Brazil, Ghana, Cameroon and Ecuador detain ¾ of world production of cocoa beans.
From Kakao, to Cocoa, to Chocolate:
The Kakao fruit is a long oval, and the beans are embedded in the fleshy interior of the fruit. The harvest of the cocoa tree happens twice a year. The number of a cocoa fruits on average in a tree is 20 to 30, each containing about 50 beans. The term ‘Kakao’ refers to the tree and it is fruits. When harvested, the Kakao fruit is opened lengthwise. The fruit’s flesh is removed from the beans, and over several days the mixture is allowed to ferment. Then, within a week the beans are dried out. It is at this stage exactly when the bitter taste of the beans tarnishes, the option of germination is terminated and the dark brown coloring agent prevails. At this crucial phase, the name ‘Kakao’ becomes ‘Cocoa’. The Cocoa beans are fermented, dried and stored into sacks, ready for the second phase of their journey to become chocolate.
The sacks of cocoa beans are bought as raw material to make various kinds of cocoa and chocolate. The sequence of production is described below:
Cocoa Bean → Cleaning → Roasting → Breaking → Grinding → Cleaned Cocoa Mass Pressing
Then we have the final product derive segregation below:
Sugar + Cocoa butter ⇒ Milk Couverture
Sugar + Cocoa butter + milk Powder ⇒ Dark Plain Couverture
Cleaned Cocoa ⇒ Mass Dark Cocoa Block
Cocoa Butter+Icing Sugar+Milk Powder ⇒ White Couverture
Cocoa powder + Icing Sugar ⇒ Sweetened Cocoa Powder
Usage of different types of chocolate:
Cocoa Blocks : Used mainly to flavor and color gianduja, praline mass, marzipan, ganache, butter mixtures, and fillings.
Cocoa Butter : Used to thin couverture chocolate in the production of gianduja, praline mass and fillings to have a long shelf life.
Cocoa Powder: To roll pralines into, and also for dusting over chocolate specialties.
Dark & Milk Chocolate: Used for the production of Ganaches, fillings and grated to have praline rolled into.
White Chocolate : Mainly used for Confiserie products.
Chocolate has always been very close to our hearts. Apart from being our favorite gift to loved ones, it has been noted in several clinical studies that the cocoa bean in pure dark chocolate has a beneficial impact on our heart through our circulatory system, through lowering cardiovascular and blood pressure deficiencies. It has been commonly reputed that chocolate is an aphrodisiac, but this has never been proven scientifically. However, some studies have recently announced that due to its high content of theobromine, the primary alkaloid in cocoa solids, chocolate consumption is partly responsible for a mood-elevating effect. Chocolate: it tastes good, makes you feel good, and is actually good for you. What more could be better?