Walking thru the Chocolate section in your grocery store, ever wonder why Craft Chocolate costs more than your Hershey's or Cadbury's bar? And if you should really spend those few extra $$?
What is considered craft chocolate or Bean-to-bar chocolate?
All chocolate starts with the humble cocao bean. It is roasted and shelled and ground to make a nice chocolate liquor along with some sugar and milk solids to please the human palate.
It is a multi-million dollar industry involving state of the art equipment to churn out the product.
Bean-to-bar chocolate does not involve large industrial scale machinery nor a large manufacturing facility. Human hands are involved at every step of the process.
The devil is in the detail. Because these companies handle large volume, it becomes impossible to pay attention to flavor profiles and also because of the volume, the process lacks human hands physically touching the beans. As a result, a lot of rubbish is overlooked. Not to be interpreted as foreign particles, it means simple things like picking out the small placenta or the thing that attaches the bean to the center portion of the cocao pod are overlooked.
Craft Chocolate makers painstakingly sort this out and at times takes hours depending on the quantity of beans.
This is where I spend more time than any other part of the process.
Why do we do it?
For starters, it is harder in texture than the bean itself thereby creates a variation in texture, therefore forcing a longer grinding process.
And the other reason is that it doesn't have any flavor to contribute to the overall chocolatey experience.
And most importantly, it is 'because we care and want to ensure that you get only the best'.
So, the next time you are in the grocery store and wondering what to pick, go ahead and buy that expensive bar. Break a piece, let it sit on your tongue, let it melt. Coat your entire mouth and close your eyes. Now, taste the difference. Enjoy the subtle fruitiness, nuttiness or caramel notes that come thru.
Don't chow it down. Enjoy it.