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Chocolate

FloraCatriel MenendezComment

From the Theobroma Cacao tree, we can find a flower that develops into a pod, and inside there are seeds, also called beans. These beans are really rich in aroma, flavor, and high quantity of cacao butter.

Depending which flower or trees are around, the seeds have the ability to absorb these aromas and flavors. The cacao beans are the main ingredients of chocolate. the pods can be anywhere from yellow to red.

When It is ready, the cacao can be picked, separated from the shell, and then brought to the fermentation room.

 After a couple days (three to five) depending the kind of chocolate, it is placed in the drying room. It will take one week to concentrate the flavor.

After the beans are dry, they are crushed to remove the second shell formed in the drying room.

Now we have technology and big machines to do this, but the traditional way is to put the beans in a mortar where two men sing and smash the beans.

 They place the mixture in a long, wooden bowl and shake it. The shell flies out and the cacao stays in the bowl because it is heavier.

They put the cacao back into the mortar, add sugar, and mash it again to make a ball of pure, sweet cacao. They traditionally mix it with water, but now we add milk to make it more creamy and delicious.

When the cacao ready, it is placed in a machine and mixed with cacao butter, milk, or milk powder and vanilla. The machine mixes and warms up all the ingredients to avoid sugar crystallization.

The next process will be to temper. The chocolate can resist more temperatures and it is easier to shape into art or different figures.

The chocolate is warmed up to 110 to 120 F, and then the temperature is dropped to 100 F. This process allows moisture to be removed from the chocolate. The best temperature to mold the chocolate is 90 F.

The chocolate has theobromine, which is similar to caffeine. It makes us awake and happier.

Chocolate has a lot of influence in the history of the Mayans and Aztecs. In pre-Columbian Mesoamerican civilizations, it was the major currency.