So what is Chocolate?
First cultivated in plantations in South America, it became popular with the Aztecs and the Mayas over 3,000 years ago. They took chocolate or xocolātl [ʃoˈkolaːt͡ɬ], as they called it, a Nahuatl word meaning “bitter water”, as a drink. But their version of hot chocolate was a very different drink to the one we know today as it was watery, spicy and bitter. Completely different to the rich creamy hot chocolate creation you are likely to encounter in Sprunglis, Honold or Cafe Schober in Switzerland!
The seeds of the cacao tree are naturally bitter and must be fermented to create their flavour. After fermentation they are dried, cleaned and roasted. The shell is then removed to create “cacao nibs”. The nibs are then ground to produce the cocoa mass which is basically chocolate in its pure or unrefined form. From the cocoa mass (also known as cocoa liquor ) as it is a fairly liquid mass, two products are created – cocoa solids and cocoa butter.
To create white chocolate cocoa butter alone is used, to create dark chocolate both products are used and to create milk chocolate both products are used with the extra addition of milk.
What’s your favourite chocolate?