It’s hard to believe that something so intensely bitter is the basis of one of the world’s favorite foods. But, raw cocao beans are simply not something you’d eat if given a choice. It takes a lot of work to turn cocao into chocolate.
Cocao has been cultivated for thousands of years in Central and South America. The Aztecs fermented it and made it into a beverage xocolatl, which means “bitter water.”
The process of turning Cocao into Chocolate begins by fermenting the beans. Next, the beans are dried and roasted, and the shell is removed to produce cocoa mass. When liquefied, the cocoa mass is called chocolate liquor. Cocoa solids and Cocoa butter are derived from chocolate liquor. Alone the solids and butter are mixed to create unsweetened baking chocolate. Sweet forms of chocolate contain sugar, and milk powder or condensed milk. White chocolate is made from cocoa butter, milk and sugar, but contains no cocoa solids.
Today, chocolate is a $50 billion dollar a year business. The largest manufacturers of chocolate products in the world are Mars and The Hershey Company, Cadbury, Nestle, Kraft Foods and Lindt.