I already posted a graphic account of the cocoa harvesting process here, but was missing the continuation, the actual making of chocolate. Here goes the process followed at La Iguana Chocolate for making small dark chocolates of different flavours.
Everything starts with shelling the roasted seeds, extracting the nibs, which are naturally broken up pieces of the chocolate seeds. The roasting makes the shelling process easier, since the raw seeds are hard to shell.
Volunteers working hard at shelling cacao beans at La Iguana Chocolate
Once the beans have been shelled they must be ground twice and then pressed to extract the cocoa butter. Heating the powder helps extract the butter, and this can be done by laying it out in the sun or by “nuking” it in the microwave.
making the chocolate liqueur and weighing out the bites
Once the cacao has been pressed we get a cacao “cake” which is ground again to get cocoa powder. This powder is what is then used to make hot cocoa drinks with either milk or water, or can be ground once again with sugar, cocoa butter and flavourings to make chocolate.
adding the flavours to the cocoa liqueur (cocoa powder ground with sugar and cocoa butter)
pressing the chocolates in the mould
These chocolates are untempered, and thus have a bit of a gritty feeling in the mouth. They’re still delicious, but they would be different to most people’s idea of chocolate who only know it out of foil wrapping. The tempering process is long and involves special equipment. They used to make tempered chocolate here at La Iguana, but it takes up too much space in the kitchen so they’re waiting until they finish a chocolate-specific laboratory where they can run the equipment in its own dedicated space, where it will not be in the way so much. 🙂