Cacao, or 'Theobroma Cacao' is part of the Malvaceae family, and is an ancient plant native to the Americas, although we can find various species growing around the world, for example Forastero, Trinitario (cacao is of course cross-bred and grown in places non-native to particular species). Cacao from native South America is called Theobroma Criollo Cacao and is believed to be one of the finest species in the world due to it's delicious complex flavour profile. This is why we ONLY source and use raw, organic Criollo cacao direct from Peru in all of our workshops, events and products.
Cacao butter contains different crystals, which are different shapes and sizes. These are also known as polymorphs. In our workshops and events you'll learn exactly why these tiny compounds are so important when making chocolate and you'll be using science to change the way they behave!
Bringing your chocolate mixture to a working temperature... But a little more complicated than this. There are 4 common ways to temper chocolate - Seeding, microwaving, via a tempering machine or table tempering. Tabling is the traditional way to bring your chocolate to temper, using artisanal skills and real craft. Join us for a session and learn everything there is to know, using your knowledge and marble slab to practice under guidance.
The magic of chocolate isn't only in it's divine taste and craft. The happy chemical Theobromine triggers all of the lovely 'bliss chemicals' in our brains, giving us a great sense of wellbeing, spiritual engagement, enhancing our mood and filling us with a warm fuzzy feeling. There's so much more to REAL chocolate than milk and sugar! Cacao has been harvested for thousands of years and used as a recreational drink for this reason.
The process of 'dutching' is used to enhance the brown colour of cacao powder. An alkaline solution is passed through the powdered solid and a chemical reaction changes the colour to a deeper, richer brown. This is purely cosmetic and because I believe in purity over beauty, I never use alkalised ingredients.
Lecithins are common additives found in industrial chocolate manufacturing and are usually derived from Soya. they were introduced as far back as the 1960's, developed to increase the fluidity of chocolate whilst working, meaning that less natural (and expensive) cacao fat is needed. They also bind together water molecules and fat molecules in certain applications and help to increase the shelf life of certain finished chocolate. Check the back of most bars and you'll see Soya Lecithin as an ingredient. Soya isn't very sustainable, and it's a known allergen so I don't use any lecithins in my chocolate workshops or micro manufacture.