Making Chocolate
So far, we've taken the seeds of a tree, roasted them and ground them up. Now the process of making the chocolate we eat can begin, and it takes a lot of talent.

Photo courtesy Hawaiian Vintage Chocolate
Discs of dark chocolate can be used for baking or can be eaten just as they are.

There are three basic things that must be done by the chocolate maker to make a chocolate bar:

  • Adding ingredients - The chocolate that we eat contains sugar, other flavors (like vanilla) and often milk (in milk chocolate). The chocolate maker adds these ingredients according to his or her secret recipe.

  • Conching - A special machine is used to massage the chocolate in order to blend the ingredients together and smooth it out. Conching can take anywhere from two to six days.

  • Tempering - Tempering is a carefully controlled heating process. According to this Chocolate FAQ, tempering is "a process where the chocolate is slowly heated, then slowly cooled, allowing the cocoa butter molecules to solidify in an orderly fashion." Without tempering, the chocolate does not harden properly or the cocoa butter separates out (as cream separates from milk).
These three steps, along with the blend of cocoa beans chosen at the start and the way they are roasted, are the art of chocolate making. The steps control the quality, taste and texture of the chocolate produced, and are often closely guarded secrets!

Types of Chocolate
Baking Chocolate
Pure cocoa liquor with nothing added
Cocoa Powder
Cocoa bean solids; cocoa liquor pressed to remove the cocoa butter
Semisweet Chocolate
Pure cocoa liquor with extra cocoa butter and some sugar
Milk Chocolate
Pure cocoa liquor with extra cocoa butter, sugar and milk solids; more milk than chocolate liquor
White Chocolate
Cocoa butter with sugar and milk; no cocoa bean solids

For more information on chocolate, check out the links on the next page.