Eating chocolate a.k.a. "Food of the Gods", is and always will be a magical experience for everyone, everywhere. My first experience with real Cacao (not the cheap corner shop chocolate bar) was about 10 years ago, while travelling the Amazon in Perú, there were several Cacao plantations, we visited a farm and experienced the amazing Cacao Fruit for the very first time. Not many people get to eat the fruit since the beans inside are quickly removed to start the fermentation process in order to make what most people get to know as Chocolate.
We've visited several chocolate factories over the years, and for some reason, the food industry make things appear much more complicated than they really are, the process for making chocolate seemed endless and overly elaborate, not to mention the countless ingredients they use. No wonder people don't want to bother attempting to make their own!
How exactly do we go from a Cacao Pod to a bar of Chocolate?
The Cacao Pods are collected from the tree. Color varies from red, orange and yellow. It takes about 6 months for a tree to grow a mature pod.
The fruits are cut in half and the seeds are taken out to dry and ferment by themselves. The fleshy and sugary pulp that covers each seed are key to the fermentation process.
Once the vinegar smell disappears and the pulp dries out, the beans reduce in bitterness in order to unleash the chocolate scent and taste that we love.
The beans are then dried, roasted and ground into whole cacao powder, or in most cases, separated into dried Cacao Powder and Cacao Butter.
CACAO HEALTH BENEFITS
After a visit to yet another chocolate factory, this time in Tanzania, things started to change in my perception of how to make real chocolate. These ladies managed to keep the process simple and their final product was superb! I decided I was going to give it a shot! So I bought some Cacao Powder, a few chunks of Cacao Butter and set off to my kitchen. It's hard to describe the feeling of empowerment when you see your first REAL chocolate bar in front of you! I ran to Sameer and screamed I JUST MADE CHOCOLATE!. It was an epic moment.
Do you want to give it a try? I'll take you through it...
BASIC HOME MADE CHOCOLATE
1/2 Cup organic Cacao Powder (unsweetened)
1/2 Cup organic Cacao Butter
Agave Nectar or Stevia
Pinch of Rock or Sea Salt (unrefined)
Nuts, Seeds or Dried Fruits
HOW WE DO IT...
Melt the Cacao Butter in bain marie or really low heat
Mix the rest of the ingredients. If you feel like the cacao is too bitter or strong you can mix some Carob or Lucuma Powder into the mix.
You can use ice cubes or a plate as a mold, or you can get the fancy chocolate molds. Either way, your chocolate is going to taste great!
Keep refrigerated, remember that how made chocolate doesn't use any binding agents or preservatives. Depending on the weather, the cacao butter will or will not melt at room temperature.
Photos by: The Mindful Sprout™