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What Is Dark Chocolate Made Of

The secrets of making dark chocolate

Intense and gourmet, chocolate is greatly appreciated by the French. No less than 7 kg of chocolate (black, milk, or white) per year per person are consumed in France. While some prefer milk chocolate or white chocolate for their sweetness, others will be more seduced by the intensity of traditional dark chocolate.

But how do you produce a chocolate paste with a simple bean? It was the Mayans and Aztecs who first discovered the taste qualities of these beans, which they prepared as a drink and which they nicknamed "the drink of the gods". 

what is dark chocolate made of

Today, the techniques have changed (addition of certain ingredients such as sugar or milk, industrialization for mass consumption), but the basis of the recipe is the same.

Rich in magnesium and other antioxidants, dark chocolate is as good in taste as it is for health! To learn all about dark chocolate and what is dark chocolate made of, let's discover together its ingredients and manufacturing secrets.

Harvesting, fermentation, and drying

It all starts with the harvesting of the pods, these strange fruits that look like a little rugby ball. The pods are the fruits of the cocoa tree, a demanding tree that can only grow in countries within the intertropical zone (Mexico, Peru, Ivory Coast, Brazil, Indonesia, etc.).

Once the pods are harvested, they are opened to harvest its seeds, i.e. the beans, covered with a white texture more commonly known as pulp. By letting the seeds ferment, the pulp disappears and makes it possible to make precursors of aromas inside the beans.

Finally, to prevent the beans from rotting, they must dry for about two weeks before they can be ready for export.

Roasting and grinding to release aromas

The work to get chocolate begins with roasting. The beans are roasted for half an hour at a temperature between 100 and 140 degrees Celsius to remove all moisture and reveal the aromas.

Once roasted, the beans are ground to obtain only a kind of powder that is then called grué. After a more intense grinding, one obtains a cocoa paste, also called a cocoa mass. It is from this mass of cocoa that chocolate can then be made. Adding sugar and fat, you get dark chocolate.

Did you know that? By compressing the cocoa paste, you get an oil that turns into cocoa butter when it coagulates, but also a kind of patty called cake used to make chocolate powder.

Conching for more smoothness

A certain Rodolphe Lindt realized that the more the chocolate was kneaded, the more creamy and quality it became. By being brewed for many hours, the chocolate develops aromas and a more refined texture.

This process is called conching and it is now used by all and represents the last step in making chocolate.

The regulatory composition of dark chocolate

In order for the consumer to be able to find himself in different chocolates (black, white, milk), dark chocolate must have a strict composition in order to be considered chocolate. Thus, a dark chocolate bar is composed:

• A minimum percentage of 35% cocoa.

• A minimum percentage of 18% cocoa butter.

To qualify as premium chocolate, chocolate must contain 46% cocoa and 23% cocoa butter.

Good to know: dark chocolate rich in magnesium in antioxidants and flavonoids is very good for your health. In addition, the fat contained in cocoa butter is not easily assimilated and stored by the body.

Now, that you know what is dark chocolate made of. You no longer have any reason not to indulge yourself and eat chocolates from time to time. Enjoy.