Chocolate - Feature

From Cacao Bean to Bar

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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….

 

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31 Comments

  1. 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˜‰

    1. 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™‚

  2. 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™‚

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

    1. 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!

  3. 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).

    1. 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™‚

  4. 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!!!!!!

  5. 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.

    1. 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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