What Is Chocolate

Ah, chocolate, the universal food that calms anxiety, helps women through relationship breakups, creates romance, and downright tastes magnificent. While millions of people enjoy chocolate every day, some for baking and some for snacking, most are not sure, where it comes from or how it is made. The truth is that creating chocolate takes time and some attention to detail but the results are worth all the effort.

With chocolate, the results can be sweet, semi-sweet, and even bitter. For starters, ripe cacao bean pods that come from the cacao tree are harvested. Once picked, the pods are split open, the pulp on the inside is scraped out, and then the pulp is allowed to ferment for several days. This process requires the pulp to be spread out in the sun to dry at which time the seeds are extracted from the pulp. From there, the seeds are packaged and ready to be shipped to the manufacturer.

The manufacturer takes the cacao seeds, cleaning them to get rid of any dirt or other foreign materials. From there, the seeds are roasted, which helps to loose the outside husks. The inner kernel of the seed is then broken down into small pieces known as nips. When the manufacturing process reaches the "nip" phase, the final product is determined by the process used.

For starters, if the nips are ground, oil is released, which transforms the mass into chocolate liquor. When this substance becomes hard, it turns into bitter chocolate most commonly used for making candy and baking. Now, if the manufacturer wants to make semi-sweet or sweet chocolate, the nips would also be ground to extract the oil but in this case, other substances would be added to include cocoa butter. For dry cocoa, which can be used in baking, cooking, or for making hot chocolate, the mass left over is again ground down and dried.

The fascinating thing about chocolate, especially cocoa is that it dates back to the Aztec Indians who would crush the cacao beans, boil them with water, and then add various spices to include pepper for creating a magnificent drink that was consumed cold. Even the Spanish explorers fell in love with cocoa. Finding the Aztec recipe, they eliminated the pepper, added sugar, and found the drink quite refreshing both cold and hot. As you can see, chocolate making is a detailed process but thankfully, it means one of the favorite foods in the world being created for all of us to enjoy.

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About The Author, Simon Pendering
Simpon Pendering loves chocolate. His web site at: http://www.chocolatechest.com is a chocolate lovers delight. If chocolate is your 'thing', then hop over to http://www.chocolatechest.com and enjoy!