From Cacao Bean to Bar

If by chance you are munching on a Hershey bar or a Snickers, do you know how valuable that bar you are eating was at one point?

Cacao beans were first used by the Mayans as a currency. One square of that Hershey bar may have been enough to procure a small rabbit. A few bars and you would have had enough to buy yourself a servant.

cacao beans

 

Those valuable beans were a sign of wealth in the Mayan times, and cacao actually translates to “food of the gods”. But like everything that evolves, as people found ways to harvest and use it more efficiently, it’s nature changed dramatically.

The French, English, Austrains, Italians and Swiss all found ways to make the cacao into delicious treats and each had a role in shaping what chocolate is today.Β It was Conrad Van Houten from the Netherlands who found a way to press the cacao butter and leave only pure cacao powder. The butter has since been used in soaps, hand creams and various other beauty products, and garners a much higher price than as chocolate only.

Chocolate paste

 

If you peek at the label on the bar you are eating you will most likely see Lecithin has been added. This ingredient is derived from soy and is used as a cheap replacement for the cacao butter in making chocolate. That is the reason why your Hershey’s bar cost you a $1, and the real chocolate, with 70% cacao mass, is much more expensive.

And, much, much more delicious.

final product

 

We know this now, not just as rabid chocolate consumers, but as trained chocolatiers.

Hecktic Chocolatiers

 

Watch this video to see us turn raw cacao beans into many delicious chocolate treats….

 

0 Comments... Be the first to comment
  • January 30 2013

    Can I please have some?
    Like, now?:)

    • Pete
      February 3 2013

      This had to be some of the best chocolate we have ever tasted πŸ™‚

      • February 4 2013

        That reply only makes the desire bigger:D

  • January 31 2013

    Most interesting and great pics. Two comments:

    1. Don’t I WISH (I was “munching on a… Snickers” right now) Sadly, such treats are rare as hen’s teeth here in Dalat, Vietnam (come to think of it, I do believe I saw a bountiful bin of hen’s teeth at the market down my alley…)

    2. Pete’s looks so hysterical in that “chocolatier” hat, I can barely peck this comment! πŸ˜‰
    Dyanne@TravelnLass recently posted..Wordless Wednesday: Might I Offer You a Spot of Grubs, My Dear?

    • Pete
      February 3 2013

      I laugh at myself as well in this photo. It was about 4 sizes too small for my melon, and I have no explanation for my reaction πŸ™‚

  • January 31 2013

    What a fun and delicious way to spend a day! And Dalene, you look like you are shrinking. Looking fab, girl!
    Jennifer recently posted..Castello di Petroia: A Romantic Umbrian Getaway

  • January 31 2013

    Tell you what, Dalene, if I were to choose between a 4 squares of chocolate and a servant, I would probably go for the chocolate!!! Beautiful Yummy post!
    Have a lovely day πŸ™‚
    Arti recently posted..Where to Stay in Kyoto: New Miyako Hotel

    • Pete
      February 3 2013

      I’d take half a servant and enjoy 2 squares πŸ˜‰ Thanks Arti, you have a wonderful day also!

  • January 31 2013

    As a possessor of a major sweet tooth, I would LOVE this activity! I’m definitely putting this on my list πŸ™‚
    Alex recently posted..The Great Escape: Month 16 Roundup

    • Pete
      February 3 2013

      It was a lot of fun Alex. Extremely interactive and the guide/chocolatier really put on a show.

  • January 31 2013

    Quoting somebody we probably all know: “Hmmmm…chocolate…” By the way, just learned why lecitin is there!
    Federico @ MaiTravelSite recently posted..The Primate Cathedral of Saint Mary in Toledo, Spain

    • Pete
      February 3 2013

      I had no idea before either what the stuff was, but I do now. I’m turning into a chocolate connoisseur.

  • January 31 2013

    Chocolate making was one of my fav activities in Central America. SO AWESOME.
    Erica recently posted..Stepping Into a Time Machine: The Star of Texas Tattoo Convention

    • Pete
      February 3 2013

      It was one of our fave activities too, lots of fun, and you get bag full of chocolate goodness afterwards. You really can’t go wrong with that scenario.

  • February 1 2013

    I am not big on sweets but this is my kind of tour.
    Ayngelina recently posted..48 Hours of Food in Ottawa

    • Pete
      February 3 2013

      I’m not big on chocolate either, but Dalene is. The tough part is that you only have about 2 days to eat all your goodies and then the chocolate goes bad. I could only eat 1-2 day and so a few of them had to go to waste.

  • Laura @Travelocafe
    January 31 2013

    It was cool to watch the video of you turning raw cacao beans into many delicious chocolate. Wow!

  • February 1 2013

    Awesome thing! I Went to Cadbury factory tour in New Zealand, and saw the same thing. Chocolate is such a wonderful thing πŸ™‚
    Juno recently posted..Runaway Photo: Tips on Watching Gray Whale in Baja California Sur, Mexico

    • Pete
      February 3 2013

      It IS a wonderful thing πŸ™‚

  • WOW! I’m a big chocolate fan, the bitter kind though. This is something I’d like to try when we visit Central America hopefully this year.

    • Pete
      February 3 2013

      I think there are a few outfits like this throughout CA and SA. I hope you get to try and enjoy it πŸ™‚ Thanks for the comment!

  • February 3 2013

    It goes without saying that I would love this post, right? Also, cruel of you to write it while I’m NOT allowed to eat chocolate (I’ve been “off it” for a whole month now! booze, too…sigh).

    • Pete
      February 3 2013

      Right, you’re training for Kili. Sorry… If it makes you feel better it tasted horrible and the beer here tastes like dirty water πŸ™‚

  • Emily in Chile
    February 3 2013

    Yum! I want to stick my finger into all those little bowls of chocolate liquid.

    • Pete
      February 3 2013

      One of us did lick the bowl, none went to waste.

  • Jacquie
    February 7 2013

    I want all of this chocolate, a small rabbit, some beauty products that smell like chocolate and a servant. Said servant would feed it to me, (yep, I love rabbit and it would be yummy with chocolate sauce) and slather it on me. OMG…that was my inside voice.

    What a super fun time this must have been!!!!!!

    • February 8 2013

      Haha Jacquie! Best. Comment. Ever.

  • February 16 2013

    We did a chocolate tour in Belgium that was pretty neat. To see it from the chocolate bar end, starting with the prepared chocolate. It looks pretty interesting to see it from the bean end too.

    • February 20 2013

      Yeah, I honestly can’t believe in all our travels that we had never done something like that before. It was such a fun, informative day. AND tasty!

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