I am the beloved of every human irrespective of their gender, irrespective of their age. The ultimate present of every occasion which never fails in retaining a laughter on an incident when one can bet of never smiling again. The richness of the cocoa, the sweetness of my bitterness lifts your spirits and serves as an eye opener on the nights meant for assignment completion. Yes, you guessed it right, I am your personal ambrosia, your life saviour, your CHOCOLATE, here I am today to take you on my journey from a bean to bar so are you ready?

My journey just like you my eater buddy is not that easy. I take birth in the tropical and humid climate which observes a short dry season and a regular rainfall of 1000-2500 mm per year, beginning my life as a cocoa bean amidst the greens of the cocoa trees I fill the surroundings with my rich aroma. The quality of the cocoa and the climatic conditions play a very important role in deciding my characteristics and flavour, and as quoted by sophocles, “If one begins all deeds well, it is likely that they will end well too.” holding the same relevant a good quality been is necessary for the production of a delicious chocolate.

After harvesting, the pods are opened and the seeds are removed which makes me ready for the next step which is fermentation. Just like a human baby after birth is given intensive care to increase its immunity for handling the exterior environment, similarly for intensifying my bitter flavour the beans are fermented for around five days. This process produces heat and demands a periodically regular stir. The perfectly fermented cocoa is then dried for around 15 days removing all the moisture attracting mould, when this process is over only the dried beans are selected and the remaining are discarded from further processing.

Drying marks a transition in my journey. A switch from the hands of my birth giver farmer to the hands of a professional chocolate maker. After drying, the chocolate maker roasts the beans at 210°F for around 10-15 minutes. Roasting, apart from sterilizing the beans also enhances its flavours and makes the next step much easier. This is followed by winnowing, the most important part of my journey which exposes the very best part of my initial bean stage. During this process the chocolate maker removes the outer shells revealing the nib of the cocoa beans – the most desirable part of the initial me.

The nibs are then ground either by machinery or in between heavy stones which result in the production of a heavenly elixir in which addition of sugar produces what is called as cocoa liquor. Changing my state from solid to liquid, grinding is the step producing the primitive version of molten chocolate. Sometimes, many makers instead of grinding go for the technique conching, which involves a continuous mix of the cocoa mass on a certain temperature. This technique does a combination of things such as drying (in case bits of moisture still remain), developing flavour and crushing the large pieces (if any).

Now, after all this to make me regain my original solid state the next step, which is known as tempering is done. During, tempering the chocolate produced in the previous step is heated and is allowed to cool slowly at its own, this enables the cocoa mass to stabilize and solidify properly. It is the most essential part in my entire production as in its absence my solid state does not harden well. And, finally after all these steps of intensive skill and hard work you have your favourite chocolate bar to scintillate your senses.

So, now my eater friends you know my entire journey, would love to know yours as well, you can share your journeys and your life stories on the below mentioned email Id. Till then farewell eaters and, keeping chewing your chocolate.

Feature Image Credits : Scopio

Kriti  Gupta

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“Research tells us that fourteen out of ten individuals like chocolates.” – Sandra Boynton

American humorist, Sandra Boynton is not wrong when she talks about the statistics with reference to chocolate lovers. I mean, who would dedicate an entire day (7th July) in celebration of something if they did not feel an immense amount of love for its existence? This rich, smooth, and creamy invention is easily one of mankind’s most versatile and delicious foods to exist. Dark, white, milk, and everything in between, there’s something for everyone.

However, what we now know strictly as a delicious food item, actually had a more important function to serve upon its inception. It all started back in Mesoamerica where cacao (the plant from which chocolate is made) was so precious that it was actually used as a currency! We honestly aren’t even surprised. Given the freedom, I too would love a world where peace prevailed and world trade flourished on cacao seeds. However, before this seed was converted into the delicious sweet treat, it went through a series of experimentation as both drinks and dishes to become what it is today. Its earliest use was in drinks made out of spices and sometimes even corn puree. Not the ideal combination, but practice does make perfect after all.

Deemed as an aphrodisiac, the substance was and continues to be believed to increase libido, thus making it a popular contributor to consumerism, among couples both young and old.

The question still remains: how and where it started its journey into the world of dessert. The first time cacao adopted its sweet form was with its arrival in Europe, for which we can thank Christopher Columbus. Sugar was added to cacao as well as to the romantic idea that this substance, this manna from heaven, with its magical powers, would give you power over women. Despite this myth being completely false, cacao drinks still continued to be served in gold cups and worshipped as a sinful indulgence that everyone should partake in. Interestingly enough, the Catholic Church of the time did attempt to label cacao and the popular frothed chocolate made from it, as “daemonic Diablo” or in simpler terms, pure evil and associated with Satan himself. This failed miserably and people refused to submit to the church and continued enjoying their cacao, either sugared or spiced.

Then came along the momentous movement of Industrialisation, the dark and light of all mankind, during which it took on its famous shape as a chocolate bar. There was no looking back after that. We now live in world of all kinds, shapes, sizes, and brands of chocolate to satiate even the toughest of taste buds. While Companies like Hershey’s made their mark in the United States, the classic Dairy Milk chocolates revolutionised the Indian market for chocolate along with Nestle, making it India’s most popular chocolate brand.

No matter what the age or location the chocolate had, it does and always will continue to dominate the hearts and minds of millions across the world.


Feature Image Credits: Kaedeen

Meher Gill

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