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New York, NY
CRIOLLO FAMILY: Criollo, thought to originate in Central America, possibly around Nicaragua, migrated especially to the upper Amazon. Rare and sensitive to its climate. Complex cocoa with lots of secondary flavors.
FORASTERO FAMILY: Most widely spread cocoa strain worldwide. Less sensitive to climate. Higher quality strains from Ghana, Java and Ecuador. Quality ranges from very low to complex. Sometimes bitter and astringent.
TRINITARIOS FAMILY: Hybrid of the other two families, with a stronger, more full bodied flavor than Criollo. The quality can be very good and complex. Plants are hearty and adaptive.
FAT BLOOM : The cocoa butter has separated out from the chocolate due to poor tempering or incorrect temperature. It creates a hazy surface appearance, but is fine to eat. SUGAR BLOOM: When condensation forms on the surface of chocolate, it combines with sugars present to create a syrup. Large sugar crystals remain on the surface of the chocolate when the moisture then evaporates.
The cacao plant itself, as well as its raw, unprocessed product.
The amount of cocoa in a particular chocolate. In general, the higher the cocoa content, the more intense the chocolate flavor and the lower the amount of sugar present.
The hard oval fruit of the cocoa tree, also referred to as cabosses. Cocoa plants produce two harvests a year. The pods are irregular in shape and harvested from continually flowering plants. Inside they contain 30 to 40 seeds in a white pulpy mass.
Ground cocoa beans, sugar and vanilla. DARK CHOCOLATE: Chocolate that contains more than 50% cocoa content. Besides chocolate liquor, it often contains added cocoa butter, sugar, vanilla, and often lecithin. MILK CHOCOLATE: Chocolate liquor to which dairy, sugar, vanilla and often lecithin have been added. Quality milk chocolate should contain a minimum of 30% chocolate liquor. WHITE CHOCOLATE: Made from cocoa butter, dairy, sugar and vanilla (and often lecithin). It does not contain chocolate liquor, but must contain at least 33% cocao butter to be considered of good quality.
The first stage of the nib grinding process. The finely ground nib, or meat, of the cocoa bean – technically not yet chocolate, is neither liquid nor does it contain any alcohol.
The source of all chocolate and cocoa. Cocoa beans are found in the pods of the cacao plant. Theobroma cacao, an evergreen, is typically grown within 20° of the equator.
The naturally occurring fat in cocoa beans, essential in the making of good chocolate. A bean contains approximately 50% cocoa butter.
The powdery substance made by pulverizing and sifting the “cake” that remains after cocoa butter is pressed from the chocolate liquor.
The process in which heavy rollers or rotating blades plow back and forth through the liquid chocolate, kneading it to smooth out its texture. The resulting friction and aeration removes moisture as well as acidity and provokes chemical changes that develop and round out the liquid chocolate’s flavor and aroma. The amount of conching time is important, as well as precise for various taste profiles and proprietary labels. Some chocolate products are conched for days, further polishing the particulates to the finest mass.
A term used to describe high-quality chocolate – quality determined by bean quality, particle size of ground bean and amount of cocoa butter. Most confectioners agree couverture should contain at least 33% cocoa butter.
Pouring a thin coat of chocolate over something, such as a ganache interior. This is a very old method of covering hand-formed interiors; often the first step to further embellishing them with fruit, nuts, flower petals or food dye transfers on top.
A natural process in which the cocoa bean, and the pulp from the cocoa pod, undergoes a reaction by which yeasts and temperature modify the composition of the cocoa bean and pulp to yield the characteristic sweet chocolate flavor.
The measurement of the average particle size of the cocoa solids in the chocolate, expressed in ten-thousandths of an inch or in microns.
A smooth, silky mixture of chocolate, and cream, milk, butter or a combination of the three.
A finely ground smooth mixture of nuts, chocolate and additional sugar. Traditionally made with hazelnuts and almonds. Gianduja can also be flavored.
Mechanical process of pulverizing the roasted cocoa bean nib to a smooth liquid known as chocolate liquor.
A technical term used for insides or centers of confections that are commonly enrobed with chocolate.
A natural product derived from the soybean that helps control flow properties in chocolate by reducing viscosity.
From the 15th century, a sweet paste made from ground almonds with sugar and egg whites. We use no artificial colors and make ours in four flavors: pistachio, lavender, apricot and cherry.
In the creation of couverture, the poured, set blocks of solid chocolate. In finished manufacturing, this is the process of creating hollow or solid ornamental shapes such as Easter bunnies.
Meat of the cacao bean – the fundamental item from which chocolate is made. These dark, rich bits remain when the shells detach from the beans after they have been roasted.
A traditional Provençal nougat, egg whites cooked with sugar and honey, with almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, cranberries and lavender added.
A French-style jelly bursting with natural fruit juices. We use pineapple, raspberry, cassis and apricot.
A cosmetic process of cleaning the fermented and dried beans in preparation for market.
Product that remains after most of the cocoa butter has been pressed from the chocolate liquor. Press cake is pulverized to make cocoa powder.
A cooking or heating process using dry heat that fully develops the chocolate flavor of cocoa beans, similar to roasting coffee. Roasting machines have rotating drums to roast evenly, at temperatures between 200° and 300° and for anywhere from 10 minutes to a few hours depending on the flavor profile.
A process of delicately heating, cooling and reheating melted chocolate so that it will solidify in a stable crystal form. Proper tempering, when followed by proper cooling, provides shine and good eating properties. The temperatures involved are between 85° and 105°, and need to be precise as different cocoa butters behave differently when they melt. A well - tempered chocolate will break cleanly, and be free of graininess .
The botanical designation for cacao. The genus name, Theobroma, is derived from the ancient Greek words for “god” (Theo) and “food” (broma). Theobroma Cacoa plants need 5 years to mature to fruit bearing and another 10 years to deliver good quality beans. They only grow well as understory and require "mother trees" (banana, palm etc) to shade them. Most cacoa plantations are therefore mixed in crops and small in size. Cacao grows in an equatorial belt that only spans 20° above and below the equator and must be both we and warm.
An irregularly shaped, often oval confection of ganache, coated with chocolate, and usually finished with a cocoa powder exterior. Its shape mimics the black truffle.
The flavor derived from the cured pod of a tropical orchid. The pod is referred to as “vanilla bean”.
A traditional method of tumbling the cocoa beans as they dry on flat racks in the sun. Workers shuffle through the bed of beans every few hours to maintain full exposure of the entire bean. The man in this picture has been doing this for 60-odd years at Belmont Estates in Grenada.
A process of de-shelling the nibs (kernels) after they have been roasted to remove the brittle skins.