Chocolate is a derivative of the fruit of the cacao tree (Theobroma cacao). The seeds of this tree are astringent, quite insipid and bitter, although after a long but simple elaboration process this insipid seed can be converted into a complete food with high taste complexity.
The chocolate making process begins once the growers have collected the cocoa fruits, open them and allow them to ferment at room temperature for between 2 and 8 days. Once the fruits have fermented, the seeds are separated and dried in the sun. This process will take 2 or 3 days depending on the ambient temperature of the place. Once dried and cleaned, they are sent to the chocolate manufacturers where they will finish the production process.
When the seeds arrive at their destination, they are roasted. Roasting is done at around 120-170ºC and can last up to an hour depending on the size of the beans or if the skin has been removed. The roasted seeds are split and passed through steel rollers that transform them into a thick liquid called cocoa liquor. From here the liquor can take several paths depending on its use. To obtain the cocoa butter, the cocoa liquor is passed through a filter where the cocoa particles are retained that will later be used to make cocoa powder. In the case of chocolate, the unfiltered liquor is used.
This thick liquid now has a bitter, astringent and acid taste, but it is already reminiscent of the taste of chocolate we know. The next process is the concheado where sugar and milk solids are added (in the case of milk chocolate) that are mixed and shaken in machines for 8-36 hours. At the end of this process, lecithin (an emulsifier) and a little cocoa butter are also added so that the resulting mixture is creamy and homogeneous in the mouth.
At this moment we have the finished chocolate but it is still liquid. It has to be tempered in order to make it shine and crisp in the mouth and then let it solidify in the corresponding molds.