Handmade Chocolate

Handmade Chocolate: How We Do It

Posted by Friars Friars on

For centuries, chocolate has held a place of indulgence and delight. Its rich, complex flavours and smooth textures have captivated palates around the world. But what goes into creating that perfect piece of chocolate? While mass-produced bars deliver a familiar taste, there's something truly special about handmade chocolate. It's a labour of love, a meticulous process that transforms simple ingredients into decadent treats.

From Bean to Bar: The Journey of Handmade Chocolate

Unlike its commercially produced counterparts, handmade chocolate starts with the whole cocoa bean. These precious beans, sourced directly from ethically responsible farms, hold the key to the final product's unique flavour profile.

1. Roasting:

The journey begins with roasting. Skilled artisans carefully roast the beans at specific temperatures and time frames. This crucial step unlocks the complex flavours and aromas hidden within the beans. Roasting profiles vary depending on the desired outcome. A darker roast brings out bolder, more intense chocolatey notes, while a lighter roast emphasises the delicate floral and fruity undertones. The roasting is a key part in the production of handmade chocolates.

2. Winnowing:

Once roasted, the beans are cracked open to reveal the cocoa nibs – the heart of the chocolate. The shells are then separated using a winnowing machine, creating a gentle breeze that removes the lighter shells while leaving the heavier nibs behind.

3. Grinding:

The cocoa nibs are then meticulously ground into a thick paste called cocoa mass. This stage can be done using traditional stone mills or modern grinders. Stone mills, though slower, preserve the delicate aromas and textures of the cocoa, while modern grinders offer increased efficiency.

4. Refining:

The cocoa mass is then refined to separate the cocoa butter – the fat component – from the cocoa solids. This process allows for precise control over the final texture and richness of the chocolate. Handmade chocolate makers often choose to maintain a higher percentage of cocoa butter, resulting in a smoother, creamier feel in the mouth.

5. Conching:

Now comes the magic – conching. This extended mixing process aerates the chocolate, reduces bitterness, and develops its smooth texture and rich flavour. Traditional conch shells were used for centuries, but today, modern conch machines continue this essential step. The duration of conching can significantly impact the final product. Longer conching times result in a more luxurious, velvety texture and a more complex flavour profile. A crucial step in the journey of delicious handmade chocolate.

6. Tempering:

Tempering is the process of meticulously raising and lowering the temperature of the chocolate to create a stable crystal structure. This ensures a smooth, glossy finish, a satisfying snap when broken, and a longer shelf life. Done correctly, tempered chocolate melts beautifully in your mouth, delivering a truly luxurious experience. This aspect is much sought after in handmade chocolate manufacture.

7. Moulding and Finishing:

Finally, the tempered chocolate is poured into pre-designed moulds. These moulds. Can be simple bars or take on intricate shapes, reflecting the creativity of the maker. Once set, the chocolates are carefully unmoulded and may be further decorated with edible elements like nuts, fruits, spices, or even edible glitter. It's the skills that sets handmade chocolate apart from others.

Beyond the Basics: The Art of Handmade Chocolate

The beauty of handmade chocolate lies in its ability to showcase the unique characteristics of the cocoa beans used. Different bean origins, roasting profiles, and conching times all contribute to a distinct flavour profile. Skilled chocolatiers become artists, blending cocoa beans from various origins to create chocolates with specific taste characteristics. They also explore unique flavour combinations, incorporating fruits, spices, and other inclusions to create an ever-evolving repertoire of delectable treats.

Handmade Chocolate Creams

 

FRIARS Heritage Collection:

Friars are no strangers to the art of producing fine handmade chocolates and this Heritage Chocolate Bundle is testament to our skilled Chocolatiers. Here, we bring together three incredibly rich handmade chocolates of distinction. If you haven’t visited us recently you will be first wowed by our striking new packaging. Still created with bold geometric designs to the fore but exuding a classic finesse. If you can bring yourself to open the box, as they say, then another treat awaits. Dark chocolate Mint Creams,Orange Creams and Vanilla Walnut Creams. Very dark and magical, but made only with the skills of our Chocolatiers. No magic was used in the making of these chocolates. They are just ‘magically’ handmade chocolates. Mixed, finished and dipped by hand in the same way as has been the case for decades.

Handmade Chocolate Gift Box

The Handmade Difference:

So, what sets handmade chocolate apart? Here's why it's worth seeking out:

  • Quality Ingredients: Handmade chocolate makers prioritize high-quality, ethically sourced cocoa beans. This commitment shines through in the final product's rich and nuanced flavour.

  • Attention to Detail: Every step of the process, from roasting to conching and tempering, is meticulously controlled. This dedication ensures a consistent and exceptional final product.

  • Unique Flavours: Handmade chocolate offers an unparalleled range of flavours and textures. From classic dark chocolate to adventurous fruit and spice infusions, there's a world of discovery for every chocolate lover.

  • Sustainability: Many small-batch chocolate makers prioritize sustainable practices, supporting ethical cocoa farming and minimizing their environmental impact.

Indulge in the Experience:

Handmade chocolate is more than just a treat; it's an experience. Each bite reveals the dedication and passion of the maker, the unique character of the cocoa beans, and the artistry of the chocolate-making process. So next time you're looking for a decadent indulgence, seek out a local Chocolatier or artisanal brand. Explore the world of handmade chocolate and discover a taste that will tantalize your senses and leave you wanting more.

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