More Recipes and Videos
Other Chocolate Recipe Collections
Where Does Chocolate Come From?
Cacao trees bear bright yellow, red, or orange pods that look like elongated squashes. Split, these pods release seeds called cacao beans. The beans are fermented to develop flavor, aroma, and color, and then roasted to intensify their rich flavor.
There are different varieties of cacao trees: Criollo, which product the finest beans but are more difficult to grow and have low yields, and Forasteros, which provide the bulk of the world's cacao beans.
Heat releases the nib or inner seed, which bears the essence of chocolate.
Grinding cacao nibs produces a liquid or paste form of chocolate called chocolate liquor. The liquor is composed of cocoa butter--a creamy vegetable fat--and cocoa powder, the two essential ingredients (along with sugar and vanilla) in making the chocolate we eat.
Conching, or more grinding and kneading, smoothes the texture of the chocolate liquor, releasing residual moisture and acidity.
Tips for Working with Chocolate