Chocolate History

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What is Chocolate Made From?

(You probably already know this, but greater detail will follow shortly.)

Chocolate is made from cocoa beans which grow in cocoa pods. Cocoa pods grow on cocoa trees, and each cocoa pod contains about 50 cocoa beans.

There are three types of cocoa tree varieties, which produce varying qualities of beans. The best, most flavorful, and least available cocoa beans come from the Criollo tree variety. Beans from this tree make the best chocolate. The Trinitario tree variety is slightly more available and makes good quality chocolate. The most widely available chocolate is made from the Forastero tree variety, but generally makes poorer quality chocolate.

The primary factor that determines the final quality of the finished raw cocoa mass product is how the beans are dried, roasted, and processed (see below). Additional factors include the quality of the sugar and vanilla that may be used.

There are only three primary ingredients in chocolate:

1. Cocoa mass, or liquor (extracted from the cocoa beans)

2. Cocoa Butter (also extracted from cocoa beans)

3. Sugar

Additionally, Vanilla (either real or artificial) is added by many manufacturers. There is a trend by some chocolatiers not to add vanilla to their finished cocoa product in order allow the purest aromas and flavors to be appreciated..