How Chocolate Is Made – Bean to Bar
Once the beans are harvested and arrive at the factory they are inspected to ensure
the highest quality. They are then sorted by their type. Different beans have different
flavors and to ensure that the taste of Vigneri Chocolate is consistent, each bean
is closely examined to determine what type of cacao it is.
Once the perfect beans are chosen, they are then roasted in ovens with temperatures
ranging from 210-290F. Depending on the chocolate being created, roasting time varies
from 30 minutes to 2 hours. During the roasting process the heat from the oven dries
out the bean, which unlocks the unique flavor and aroma that the cacao bean has.
After the roasting process, the beans are split and the outer shell is then cracked
again and blown away, this process is called winnowed. After winnowing, only broken
and crushed pieces are left of the cacao bean. These pieces are called nibs. Nibs
have an intense chocolate flavor, but are extremely bitter in taste.
Nibs are then crushed and ground into a paste that is thick and often referred to
as chocolate liquor even though there is no alcohol in this product. At this point,
the chocolate liquor is not yet at the stage that people associate with melted chocolate
because it is neither creamy or sweet. In order to get to the chocolate taste and
consistency that we all know and love, sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla and milk are
added. This final mixture is then sent through rollers in order to achieve the necessary
texture and consistency.
Conching is the next step and when the chocolate mixture is blended, aerating the
chocolate allowing for flavors to come together. The last step is to temper the
chocolate, meaning that it is stirred then cooled and then heated again slowly.
Tempering is repeated several times to ensure that the chocolate comes together
in the rich and creamy way that Vigneri Chocolate is known for.