Category Archives: Learning about chocolate

Its all about chocolate and cocoa with a conscience.

Fermentation & Flavor Development

In the chocolate industry, fermentation is considered one of the crucial steps for the development of all the amazing flavors we experience in fine chocolate. The harvested beans, still covered in their white pulp, are loaded into buckets and transported to a central fermentation area for processing, often mixed in with beans from neighboring farms. Farmers then transfer the cocoa beans to specialized fermenting “sweatboxes”, usually covering them with banana leaves. Here is where the magic happens, or rather where science and nature join forces to develop the precursors of all the chocolatey flavors we so adore.

The process works something like this: the sugars inside the white pulp – glucose, fructose and sucrose – are transformed into alcohol. The alcohol then turns into acetic acid that diffuses into the beans themselves. The chemical reactions involved in fermentation produce a significant amount of heat, making the pile of beans reach temperatures up to 55°C after a few days. The germ within the bean dies and this triggers the release of enzymes. These enzymes are important for the development of chocolate flavors. We can say that these naturally occurring microorganism kick-start the fermentation process, changing the sugars in the pulp to organic acids, and giving the beans their flavor.

After 2-3 days, farmers turn the pile over. This helps to ensure an even fermentation and introduces air into the fermentation process which, depending on the cacao variety, can last up to 7 days.

Fermentation has such a big impact on the cocoa beans that, even by using the same exact cocoa beans, results can vary widely when tiny changes are made during the fermentation process (how long the beans stay inside the boxes, how many times they are turned, etc). Some craft chocolate makers have fun experimenting with cacao that has been subjected to different fermentation protocols. The results are chocolate bars with completely different aromatic profiles, even if they are made with the exact same beans!



Dick Taylor Madagascar Sambirano Dark Chocolate

Koko Buzz

Dick Taylor Open Bar 406 If you think this intricate molding is hard to achieve, it’s even more difficult without soy lecithin.   What a beautiful presentation!

I’ve found myself in a rut this year somehow eating only simple chocolates including some quasi-mass-market brands.  It’s what’s been lying around the kitchen and it has done a fine job at satisfying my impulse cravings, but has not been all that interesting.  That all changed when I found myself in Harvard Square this weekend where I stepped into the landmark gourmet shop – Cardullo’s.  Like other shops around the country, I’ve seen their selection of artisan chocolates slowly dwindle in recent years, but I knew I could rely upon them to have something beyond the average confection.

There I found Bonnat – too delicate, Dolfin – over refined, Antidote – fun, but I was not in the mood, and then Dick Taylor – perfect, reliably excellent.  And…

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What’s the REAL expiration date of chocolate bars?

When you buy a chocolate bar, you are inclined to check the expiration date written on the packaging to figure out how long the chocolate will be edible for (in case this is even an issue). Or in other cases, you will find a chocolate bar hidden somewhere in your house and look at the expiration date to see if it’s still safe to eat.

You might be surprised to know that, despite the expiration date, chocolate stays edible and safe to eat for longer than what’s indicated on the packaging.

Chocolate bars last longer than other foods because there is no water activity in them, which means that there is no environment for bacterial growth. Also the amount of cocoa butter in it has a stabilizing effect on the chocolate. This is why you will rarely find a proper Expiration Date on chocolate bars, but most likely a Best Before Date, to indicate that the chocolate will maintain its best aromatic and textural properties until that period of time.

However, chocolate makers, whether artisanal or industrial, are very cautious with best before dates. They’d rather indicate a shorter time-frame than a longer one.

Chocolate bars are best eaten as fresh as possible, but they can still be considered edible a few months after the best before date printed on the packaging. Depending on the type of chocolate, the integrity of the package and the kind of storage, there are some general indications to follow.

Dark chocolate is known for lasting longer than milk and white chocolate.The absence of dairy content makes it less perishable. If unopened and stored properly, dark chocolate lasts 2 years (from the day it was made). If opened, but still stored properly, the rule of thumb is one year.
As for milk and white chocolate bars, the time available is cut in half. One year if unopened and stored properly, and 6-8 months if opened and stored properly.

Some chocolate professionals also believe that chocolate becomes better as time goes by. Like wine, some new flavors may develop in the chocolate bar with aging.



Moves to clean up chocolate industry are racing ahead.

Moves to clean up chocolate industry are racing ahead | World news | The Guardian
Photograph: Images

Chocolate gets its origin and domestication story rewritten

Long believed to have been domesticated in Central America some 4,000 years ago, cacao has a more interesting story than previously thought #WorldChocolateDay

tomesaveur item op Instagram: “『カントゥ』『オリジナルビーンズ』 オンラインショップにて全品10%オフ! ◆◆QANTU/カントゥ◆◆…”

Bron: tomesaveur item op Instagram: “『カントゥ』『オリジナルビーンズ』 オンラインショップにて全品10%オフ! ◆◆QANTU/カントゥ◆◆…”


For those who think white chocolate isn’t ‘real’ chocolate, have we got bars for you – The Washington Post

White chocolate with almond. Black base, chocolate in the background.
Available in our shop.



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Why Chocolate is Forever: Four Ways We’re Working for the Future of Cocoa | World Cocoa Foundation


(8) Geert Vercruysse

Bron: (8) Geert Vercruysse


Chocolate: Let’s end deforestation so we can keep eating it.

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