How do you make chocolate?

Chocolate is one of the UK’s favourite sweet treats. You can drink, eat and even display it. Our favourite chocolate inventions date back to hundreds of years ago, such as honeycomb and hot chocolate.

As the festive season approaches, millions of people will eat chocolate from their advent calendars. We share chocolate hampers with loved ones and sneakily grab an extra sweet treat at night. However – despite our love of the sweet treat, many of us don’t know how chocolate is made.

It starts with the beans

First up, the cocoa beans are harvested from the tropical cacao tree – also known as the “food of the gods.” The fruit is in vibrant red, purple, green and yellow pods that change colour as they start to ripen. If the pod is still green, it needs more time to ripen before you can pick it. The pods are cut between May and December each year, and the beans are collected. The beans are covered in banana leaves to help them ferment for around four to nine days. Once they go dark brown, you can start to smell the delicious cocoa.

Roast and winnow

Once you have the beans, it’s time to roast them. Roasting the cocoa beans helps to bring out their colour and flavour. After the roasting process, they are put in a machine that cracks them open and separates them into two parts. The husks are thrown away, and the delicious centres, also known as the nibs, are passed to the next stage.

The nibs are ground into a pulp with butter. They are combined with sugar and milk powder and ground further to make the cocoa finer.

Conch and temper

Conching is a refining process that removes all the unwanted flavours through heating. The chocolatey mixture is constantly stirred, and different flavours are added. Once the conching process is complete, the chocolate should have a fully developed flavour and smooth texture. Delicious.

The chocolate is then cooled from 45 degrees Celsius to 28. It is raised again to 30 degrees Celsius to crystalise the butter and give it a firm, glossy texture.

It’s then turned into chocolates and sold around the world.

Chocolate facts

Europe accounts for more than half of the entire world’s chocolate consumption. We are obsessed with the stuff. Switzerland, Germany and Ireland are the largest chocolate consuming countries in the world.

You might not know that a cocoa tree takes almost a year to produce enough beans for ten Hershey bars. Just imagine how many cocoa beans you have eaten in this year alone.

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