Who Knew! Not Me Anyway.
Like you, I've been misguided by the corporate companies that the chocolate I was eating (and have been eating all these years) was 'the good stuff'.
Full of sugar and flavourings that mask the true chocolate taste.
I have no doubt what we call 'craft chocolate' is actually what proper chocolate was when first introduced to us many moons ago.
( I will admit though, if it came to life or death and I was forced to choose between a dairy milk and a hershey bar - the dairy milk wins hands down )
But I digress.
Just like wine and coffee, the development of flavours depends on three factors:
- Genetics - there are four types of beans to make chocolate from (forastero, criollo, trinitario, nacional)
- Location/ Terroir - where the pods are grown, climate, soil, surrounding flora growing in the same ecosystem
- Processing - fermentation, drying, roasting and conching (churning)
Any Given Craft Chocolate Bar Possesses a Kaleidoscope of Flavours.
With one more dominant than the others, determining it's overall flavour profile, it gives that particular chocolate bar it chocolate taste.
Yes, yes, yes - but when does the magic really happen?
The name of the game at this point is time.
Craft chocolate makers noticed differences in flavour profiles when playing with processing times.
And this is where the skill in chocolate making really pays off.
Lengthening or shortening the fermentation period, roasting times and the conching process can't help but change the overall effect of flavour and sensation when tasting chocolate.
Arguably requiring the greatest level of skill and judgement from the chocolate maker.
This explains why the same cocoa bean, in different hands, produces different flavour results.
And we have so many varieties of chocolate bars to choose from.
We're so spoiled....I love it!
One last thing for reflection.....
Did you know the chocolate production process to make chocolate comes directly from the Mayans?
Hidden away, incorporated deep inside the modern machinery of today, lies the Mayan method of making chocolate.