Chocolate is considered a key ingredient in many food items such as cakes, ice creams, shakes, cookies and many savoury products. Chocolate lovers are found throughout the world, thus generating the highest demand for its cultivation and manufacturing.
Regardless of the popularity, not everyone knows
- How chocolates are produced?
- How to harvest chocolate plants?
- What ingredients are used in making chocolates?
Chocolate production starts with the cultivation of coca. The cocoa tree, Theobroma Cocoa, is harvested in a forest of most wet tropics of Central and North America, South Asia and West Africa. The tree is grown at 20 degrees off the equator. The healthy growth of the cocoa tree is possible under hot temperatures, rain and shade.
The cocoa tree produces oval-pod fruits that usually have 30-50 seeds inside. These seeds are called cocoa seeds which are utilized in chocolate production.
Cocoa pods are harvested when they turn yellow or orange. These pods can be plucked twice a year, mostly. The pods have a size of 5-12 inches, while each cocoa bean has a size of an olive, surrounded by white pulp. After opening each pod, the beans are collected for further processing.
The collected beans are cleaned and exposed to the sunlight, where their white colour turns purple. Afterwards, the beans get covered with banana leaves or remain exposed to sunlight when the temperature is ideal. They remain under this condition for 5-8 days. The fermentation process turns the cocoa seeds into brown colour.
After fermentation, the cocoa beans get exposed to the sunlight for another 7-14 days, where they dry up completely. That time, their weight gets half of the original. This shows the beans are ready to pack in the sacks for shipment.
Once the chocolate manufacturers receive cocoa bags, they make complete testing. The testing is done to check the quality and types of cocoa and to remove foreign matter. After successful testing, the cocoa beans are ready to be refined into chocolates.
The cocoa beans are roasted on low flame where they generate colour and specific flavour. Afterwards, the shells of the beans are removed to extract the inner bean meat called “cocoa nibs.” The nibs are further filtered where they are sorted according to the size
The cocoa nibs are then grounded into the liquor that is the unsweetened cocoa. The nibs contain high fats which melt when the grinding process generates heat. This results in the cocoa liquid. In the extracted liquor estimated amount of sugar and butter are mixed. According to the manufacturer’s recipe, other ingredients can also be added such as condensed milk, dry milk powder, whole milk etc.
Refinement and moulding
The liquor is refined further to break down completely all the desired ingredients. The fined chocolate collected is cooled down in the desired moulding utensils via a food conveyor belt. Afterwards, the different types and sizes of chocolate bars are packaged and distributed to different world markets.
Author Bio: Mr. Rizwan is a sole proprietor of Al-Haq Traders. He has been working with food and confectionery industries for years and has vast experience with industrial belting.