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).
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.