HOW WE MAKE IT
Between 2014-2016 we lived and learned chocolate in Costa Rica. We are still learning, every day. Because, as The Chocolate Doctor once said: "chocolate is a cruel mistress"
THE CACAO FLOWER
Cacao grows 20º above and below the equator.
THE CACAO TREE AND PODS
Notice how the pod grows directly from the trunk of the tree!
CACAO FRUIT AND FERMENTATION
The cacao fruit is a delicious pulp, similar to Lychee in its texture. Typically, the pulp is used for the fermentation process of the cacao beans. The fermentation process lasts 1 week.
Fermentation is essential, and the main driver of complex flavor development of the cacao bean. Different practices will have different affects on flavor, as well as the soil it grows in, levitation and micro-climate.
We find that sun drying the fermented cacao beans yields the richest flavor profile. Although there is an abundance of heat and sun in the areas where cacao grows, there is also lots of humidity, and rain.
There are nuances to the drying process that make for a great batch of beans. This process lasts 7-10 days. Once dried, they are ready to be shipped to the chocolate makers!
This is where the magic happens. It's a delicate art and science. If you give 2 chocolate makers the exact same beans, you will still get 2 different tasting chocolates.
Cacao beans have about 50% fat in them. Grinding the beans for 48-72 hours will turn them into a luscious stream of chocolate.
Conching is the process of allowing the trapped acids in the chocolate to evaporate, resulting in better flavor.
When we first started out, we tempered our chocolate by hand. It was our dramatic encounter with the Cruel Mistress, that is chocolate, because tempering is a delicate play on temperature. This leads to the alignment of the fat molecules, resulting in a shiny, snappy and beautiful chocolate bar. Tiny changes in the temperature of the environment, or timing mistakes, will ruin the beauty and affect texture.
Today we work with a tempering machine, and usually the chocolate behaves herself :)
Naked DAR bars, awaiting to become Art Bars