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Historical background


Cocoa was well known to the classic Mayan civilization which flourished and died in the Yucatan and Guatemala in the 1st Millennium. Alongside deceased Maya dignitaries were buried implements like jars and bowls which were used for making chocolate. They called it Ka-ka-w. Linguistics believes that the Maya‘s probably learnt to use the product from the earlier Olmec civilization which flourished between 1500BC to 400BC.

The beans became a commodity for trade, an object of warfare and also a currency. The Mayans spread the chocolate far and wide to the west of Yucatan where the Aztec established their power. In due course Cocoa became a major source of wealth of the Aztec. To the Aztec chocolate was the drink for the warriors and the elite. Chocolate lent itself to flavour mixtures like maize flour and herbs. It was offered to the Gods and was used to anoint new born children on the forehead, face, fingers and toes.

It was, only, under the invader Cortez, when the Europeans, first learnt the full value of cocoa. Its new name ―chocolate‖ appears to be a Spanish inspired blend of Maya and Spanish. The word was soon applied to all products of cacao. As a commodity of trade cocoa beans began to reach Spain in 1558. As an expensive exotic spice Chocolate was gradually introduced to the rest of Europe. By the 17th century the Italians experimented with new flavourings for chocolate including musk, jasmine, citron and  lemon  peel.  In1659  A.  D. David Chaliou was granted a monopoly for selling chocolate throughout France. Chocolate was first sold in London in 1657.

By the end of the 18th century there had been a perceptible increase in the amount of chocolate being consumed in stabs, in ices and sorbets, as an ingredient in desserts and main dishes and in pastas and soups.

It  was in  1828 that  a Dutchman ―Van Houten patened the screw  press  which removed 2/3rd of cacao butter. The residue so obtained was known as Cocoa. This dispersed easily in water and was considered to be more digestible.

Mr.Van Houten, also developed an Alkalizing process by treating cocoa during processing with potassium carbonate which led to a milder flavour and darker colour.

By adding the excess cacao butter to ground beans created a smooth paste which could be moulded and remain solid when cool yet melted easily in the mouth.By 1842 Cadbury Bros. was selling block chocolates. By 1847 Fry were marketing chocolate déleciux à Manger. Major contributions were made by Swiss for e.g. In 1880 Randolph Lindt increased the amount of cocoa butter in his formula and developed CONCHING. In 1876 Daniel Peter produced the first milk chocolate.



The Cocoa tree provides with its seed the raw material for making chocolate. The scientist Linnacus 'assigned the species to a botanical genus, which he named Theobroma' – food of the gods. Botanically the leathery fruits are giant berries or pods.

In this genus 22 species are now recognized, all native to central and South America, of these two are cultivated. Of greater importance is ―Theobroma Cacao from which nearly all the world‘s chocolate is produced. Cacao is the term for the tree and for its seeds corrupted to cocoa in English.

It is now cultivated all over the world within an area of 20 degrees on both sides of the equator. This tree requires shade when young and is susceptible to fungi and pests. There are many varieties however the Forestero variety accounts for 80% of the world production.

Cacao flowers are pollinated by a species of Midge and grow directly on the trunk of the tree. Only a few flowers develop into fruit or pods and average yield annually being 30 per tree. Full grown fruits are about 8 inches (20cm) long and 4 inches (10 cm) across in an oblong shape. The green pods when ripe are saffron, yellow or red in colour and contain on an average 30 to 40 seeds, occurring in rows and embedded in a white or pinkish pulp.

West Africa is now the largest producer of Cocao and produces over 60% of the world‘s production.



Ripe pods are collected, split and the contents scraped out. The seeds and the surrounding pulp are exposed to the sun allowing the pulp to ferment. This fermentation process is completed in 5 to 7 days. Fermentation is essential for the development of good flavour, for use in the making  of  chocolate.  Fermentation  develops flavour precursors breaking down sugar to glucose and fructose and turning some protein into free amino acids and smaller peptides. After fermentation the beans are dried and exported to manufactures. They lose 50% of their weight on drying and the yield of a single tree is approx. 500 gms to 1 kg.

At the manufacturers a complex process of roasting and grinding turns the seeds into chocolate mass i.e. cocoa and cocoa butter. These two are mixed in varying proportion to form chocolate. Chocolate that contains a very high percentage of cocoa butter and is known as CHOCOLATE COUVERTURE.

Before preparing chocolate for dipping, moulding, coating, sauces, etc. they must be stabilised or tempered.




Before preparing chocolate for use they must be stabilised or tempered. This process applies only to genuine chocolate containing very high cocoa butter or chocolate couverture. Cocoa butter consists of different fats, some melt at low temperatures others at higher temperatures those with lower melting points are the first to solidify on being cooled giving chocolate an undesirable grainy texture. It is the high melting point fats that give high quality chocolate its shine and snap. The objective of tempering is to distribute these fats evenly by creating very fine crystals evenly throughout so that it becomes smooth, sets evenly and quickly.

Tempering consists of 3 stages:-


  1. Melting: Chocolate couverture must be melted over a Bain Marie to 49o- 50o C (120- 122oF)at this temp all fats would have melted, it should be stirred constantly to evenly distribute the fats.

  2. Tempering: When the chocolate has melted it is removed from the Bain Marie on to a marble top and stirred constantly to about 29oC (84oF). The object of this process is to seed the mixture with cocoa butter crystals of a uniform and stable type which will keep well during storage. At this point nuts, fruits, etc. may be added.

  3. RE-WARMING: After tempering and cooling, if the mass is to thick for using it must be re warmed over Bain Marie till it reaches a temp of 29oC (84oF). This step must be done carefully for if the temperature rises to 44oC or 111o F the chocolate is no longer tempered, it SEIZES i.e. it goes hard and grainy.

Chocolate which has not been tempered will take excessively long time to set and its texture will not be good. Also some of the cocoa butter with float and then set making a whitish coating called the BLOOM



Manual: Chocolates can be made by hand dipping, the centres being lowered on a special dipping fork into molten chocolate, covered and then deposited on paper to set. It is a skill which takes years to master and is a method used mainly by craft confectioners, who wish to produce high quality individual chocolate selections.



There are two automated methods:-


  1. Enrobing: It is a method in which the centres are transported under a curtain of molten chocolate and then allowed to set.

  2. Shell moulding: Molten chocolate is deposited into moulds to form a shell which is then filled. A lid of chocolate seals the filling in before it is de moulded.



Hand Moulding: This is done using moulds made of plastic, metal or rubber which must be kept clean and dry as well as smooth. Molten chocolate is then deposited by hand into moulds to form a shell which is then filled and covered by a layer of molten chocolate and allowed to set. Chocolate shrinks when set thereby pulling it away from the moulds so it can be easily de moulded.



TEMPERED Chocolate is used for dipping, making moulds, pastries, cake icings, cookies and meringues.

LIQUEUR CHOCOLATES can be made by shell moulding or by depositing the syrup into impressions made in trays of starch & left undisturbed for some time, the syrup crusts forming sugar crystals and can be lifted out and enrobed.

TRUFFLES: Are based on a ganache flavoured with sprits, essences and nuts.


WHITE CHOCOLATE is made by using only cocoa butter


Block Chocolates

Cocoa powder: Cocoa powder is made by dehydrating cocoa mass.


Drinking Chocolate: is made by dehydrating prepared Chocolate into powdered form.


Chocolates contain Phenylethlamine a naturally occurring substance in the brain which stimulates euphoric feelings. It also contains THEOBROMINE a stimulant which acts on the muscles and Caffeine, but in much smaller quantities.

YIELD is 600 calories per 100 gms.

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