Tuesday, 22 September 2009

making chocolate

I was asked how cacao beans became chocolate. Here's the simple answer, demonstrated by Flori, who helps me in the kitchen twice a week (and who is showing me her method for 'milk' chocolate here), and Luca, my nephew visiting from Scotland.

First the beans must be harvested, fermented, dried, roasted and the shells removed. (See earlier post, Cacao.)

Grind the beans in a mill with the finest tooth possible, you want the beans to become a paste, keep passing it through the mill until a thick paste consistency is obtained.
Make coconut milk by grating the flesh of two coconuts, putting in blender with either the water from the coconuts or a cup of regular water, blending then straining. Save a little of the grated coconut for later.
Put the cacao paste in a pot and add a little of the coconut milk, stir and cook over medium heat until the mixture dries out a little. Stirring all the time!!!
Add more coconut milk add stir again - you want the mixture to almost dry out, the liquid from the milk to evaporate but the flavour to remain. The consistency of the paste will become smoother.
Keep adding the coconut milk little by little until the paste becomes more 'plastic'. Taste and add some sugar if you need it (evaporated cane sugar would have been the sweetener used traditionally).
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Remove the pan from the heat, dollop the contents onto a work surface and allow to cool a little. Roll into sausages or truffle sized balls and coat in the grated coconut, or leave as is. Put in fridge to set up.



  1. Nice post about making chocolate... Years ago, there were lots of coco trees in Malaysia. Due to an outbreak of certain plant disease, these were more or less abandoned..., giving way to oil palms.

  2. Oh yum! That looks and sounds so delicious. One question : how do you ferment the beans?
    We used to grow cocoa but since no one had a clue how it had to be processed, a lot of good chocolate went un-made. What a pity!

  3. Bangchik,
    I wonder if that's the same blight that destroyed the plantations here? There's two actually both of which attack the fruit but leaves the trees unharmed. There are only maybe two or three cacao plantations here, small farms really, all the others were abandoned in the 1970s. This farm was a cacao plantation. There are still many cacao trees and we harvest what we can, but most of the crop is lost to the blight. Oil palms, yes they are here in Costa Rica too.

  4. Sunita,
    the main cacao harvest is in October, so I will post on the harvesting, fermenting and drying next month. How sad that your chocolate went unmade!


thanks for sharing!