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Chocolate Making
March 3, 2004
6:38 pm
conway
Ireland
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February 23, 2004
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Looking for web sites with details of how the good stuff is made.

March 4, 2004
1:39 am
bobvilax2000
Seville, USA
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July 26, 2003
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This site is pretty good. It has some good videos. It’s run by Mars Inc., soooo:
[url]http://www.cocoapro.com/process/index.jsp[/url]

This site is superb. It is loaded with good detail of the business and science as well as excellent videos of harvesting and making:
[url]http://www.cocoatree.org/[/url]

March 4, 2004
6:48 pm
conway
Ireland
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Great. When I finish studying I will try and catch up on a little less taxing chocolate studies.

March 17, 2004
10:51 pm
theobroma
MIlwaukee, USA
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September 7, 2003
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Hi
I’ve just finished reading “Chocolate: The Nature of Indulgence”, and that gives a good general overview of the process. You may be able to swindle your local library into ordering it…
Kyle

Oh no! My Agustus!

Oh no! My Agustus!
March 17, 2004
10:58 pm
theobroma
MIlwaukee, USA
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One more thing:
For the sake of good organization, I’m copying something I wrote from another section to this one (it fits better here).

In a nutshell, or a cocoa pod, here is a rough idea of the whole cocoa process:
1. Growing. 5 years before cocoa trees produce fruit, then 5-6 months for pod maturation, and maybe 40 pods per tree. Must be in a shady, moist, temperate climate with special midges and such.
2. Harvesting. Must be done carefully so as to not damage the cocoa tree, and efficiently to prevent the pods from rotting.
3. Fermentation. Here is the first active step of controlling flavor. 5-12 days, with special bacteria, yeasts, temperature, etc.
4. Drying. Usually in the sun, at plantation. Several days, tending needed. Reduces water to about 5%.
5. Cleaning. Removing residual pulp, etc. EVERY BEAN!
6. Roasting. Second major active step in flavor control. Difficult to get good, consistent results in a small scale operation, much more involved than coffee roasting (from what I hear). Big equipment, much to know about this. Reduces water to about 2-3%.
7. Winnowing. This removes the husks of the beans/seeds, and separates the husks from the fruit/flesh inside. Big machines again.
8. Grinding.
9. Refining. Probably big machines again. Reduces particle size by a significant number of microns, greatly affects smoothness.
10. Conching. Kneading by machines. Also improves smoothness. Originally done by in a conch-shaped contraption.
11. Tempering. Chocolate is heated to about 150F and cooled. Helps to prevent exterior crystallization, allows control for internal crystal matrices, important to snap and lack of bubbling, also aids appearance. Can be used to mold.

Somewhere between Roasting and Conching the cocoa mass (solids) is separated from the cocoa butter/liquor. Some of this mass may be added back to the liquor for bars, and can otherwise be distributed dry, in the form of cocoa powder.

Artisinal chocolates are becoming popular now, as Marcolini is evidence of. I suspect there is a lot going on off-site. Bernachon in Lyon are a shining example of an on-site start-to finish operation.
Miniturization and improvement of technology in general may lend to the possibility of this being done from the home or a small studio. Best of luck!
Kyle

Oh no! My Agustus!

Oh no! My Agustus!
March 18, 2004
7:39 pm
conway
Ireland
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February 23, 2004
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Thanks for the info. Great and concise just what I need right now!

May 11, 2004
1:59 pm
alex_h
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April 29, 2004
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there has been a bit of discussion here at my office concerning the manufacturing of chocolate. one of my colleagues questioned the different taste nuances a chocolate can have. i mentioned wine in comparison and she retorted that there had been quite a few scandals concerning wine – yes, even good wine – in the past. how true.

i trust that the best artisans use only the best in their products, but am still a sceptic at heart. and so a thought was born: why not go and visit a chocolate factory? just out of curiosity and to see how the whole process works. has anyone here ever been on a tour?
i’ve toured many a brewery here in bavaria and can imagine some chocolate makers offer tours.
could be very insightful…
i myself wouldn’t mind taking a trip to tuscanny and stopping by domori and amedei and slitti on the way :-D

if anyone has any info i would be interested. could even be interesting to organize a tour for a small group maybe…

i do find it hard to believe a 100% chocolate has any additives. and it does have a distinct taste.

so many questions:

how does sugar influence the taste of chocolate? and vanilla?
but that may be getting in a bit deep.

and then the ultimate question: does chocolate need sugar? try some puro and you will know why i ask.

May 11, 2004
7:02 pm
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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October 10, 2003
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I have heard of guiding tours to Valrhona and some other chocolatiers but as I understood these were for pro’s – chefs and people in the business. Martin should know more about this or some of the members doing chocolate for living.

My local Amedei handler has visited Amedei. I was told it was such a cosy small little factory – family run. However, there shouldn’t be any reason not to try to organise a trip for people with special interest ie. us. Amedei planned to visit Norway this spring – a convention mainly for the trade but as a good costumer I was invited too. Yet I haven’t got any further information on when the event will take place or why there are delays. Whenever it happens though, I’ll see if I get the opportunity to talk to one of the representatives to check out their response. In general I think it is more proper to arrange such a trip in the name of Chocopedia or another organisation.

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
May 11, 2004
9:08 pm
conway
Ireland
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February 23, 2004
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Yes there are plenty of brewery tours and tour of the cheaper choc factories butI usually find with tours of any kind that you get a sanitised version so perhaps the best ones to visit are the small family run factories as what you see is what you get. If it were organised then maybe several of the visitors to Forum could get together, imagine a chocolate convention!

Ok I think I had a little too much fresh air and no chocolate today.

May 12, 2004
6:28 pm
alex_h
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April 29, 2004
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10

i’d be interested in visiting a smaller place, the family type.

LoneLy,

it would be interesting to hear what amedei has to say.

and i think you are right about the trip. maybe seventypercent.com has something planned? ;-)

May 12, 2004
10:19 pm
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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I talked to my local shop today. They’ve visited Amedei a few times themselves. The most recent plans is that they’ll come here late September. The shop owner said they probably would like to have visitors, but there are only two (!) people working except production staff, so if they’re both travelling no one is there to show&tell. As I’ve mentioned before, they were very service minded and friendly when I contacted them pr e-mail, so I guess they won’t bother showing a round a gang of geeks … Would have been nice to visit other chocolatiers too when travelling to Italy though …

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
May 13, 2004
3:40 pm
alex_h
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lucky you! whereabouts in norway are you? maybe i need to make a trip there to meet the folks from amedei ;-)

May 13, 2004
4:54 pm
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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alex h,

You’re more than welcome of course although you’ll need an invitation. However, I’m sure I’ll get the opportunity to bring someone with me. I live in Oslo. Norway is such a small country that I would have been very surprised if they’d bother going elsewhere. There are actually quite a few options when travelling between Oslo and Germany. Ryanair have got flights from Frankfurt (outside though) but are landing south of Oslo. SAS and Lufthansa have good offers from Berlin at least. From Berlin and Hamburg there are busses running daily, approx 10 € one way, 14 1/2 hours ;-)

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
May 13, 2004
5:10 pm
alex_h
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:-) i just might take you up on that invitation. never been to norway before, but heard it’s beautiful. and it’s already warm there? it’s freezing here in munich at the moment. not literally, but still cold with showers. brrrr. not bad for the chocolate though.

May 13, 2004
6:22 pm
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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October 10, 2003
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15

quote:


Originally posted by alex_h

:-) i just might take you up on that invitation. never been to norway before, but heard it’s beautiful. and it’s already warm there? it’s freezing here in munich at the moment. not literally, but still cold with showers. brrrr. not bad for the chocolate though.


Norway is certainly beautiful, green and clean and very popular among German camping tourists. You’re coming with all your big camping cars complaining about our price level. Anyway, our summer often arrives early but is very unpredictable. Last week we had 24C for some days but then the temperature suddenly dropped down to 8. On the other hand, houses are well heated and our nature is beautiful no matter how. It is only a matter of sending an e-mail in advance. I might escape to Vienna/somewhere in Germany in a month or two or three, but I’ll let you know.

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
May 14, 2004
2:43 pm
alex_h
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ok, sounds cool! maybe i’ll do that.
the opposite applies as well. munich may not be the pinnacle of excitement, but there are some interesting things here too…