The language of chocolate

  • Cacao
    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 from native South America is known primarily as Theobroma Criollo Cacao and is believed to be one of the finest species in the world due to it's delicate but complex flavour profile.
  • Tempering
    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
  • Polymorphs
    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!
  • Single Origin
    A chocolate that comes from one origin. To make chocolate, many beans from different parts of the world can be used and blended - often resulting in an inferior flavour profile. When cacao grows, it develops certain enzymes and growth habit depending on the type of soil its grown in, the other foliage and plants around it and even the water supply. Single origin chocolate is made with cacao beans from only one place, usually a country or region. Using chocolate from a specific location allows the taster to experience the unique and often very characteristic flavours of that origin. Examples of single origins would be Peru, or Madagascar.
  • Single Plantation
    Single plantation chocolate is made from cacao beans which are able to be traced back to a particular cacao farm, or plantation. This level of traceability is a sign of an extremely fine, well flavoured chocolate as the maker is proud and willing to show the origins, estates and actual plantations of their source ingredient. Single plantation chocolate is considered so special due to the absolute traceability, very specific flavour profiles and the limited nature of it's availability. Poor harvest, disease or natural disaster can affect a cocoa harvest as any other crop and so to limit the supply to one particular plantation requires a considerable gamble with the supply chain. At CocoaCrystal, Peruvian chocolate is our most cherished and all of our signature chocolate is a single plantation Peruvian chocolate, from Alto El Sol and is our favourite of all of the worlds chocolate (so far!)
  • Criollo
    Theobroma Criollo Cacao is the name given by Linnaeus during the classification of plant species. The name Theobroma as described above in the glossary is derived from the Greek 'Food of the Gods'. Criollo cacao is rare, making only 5% of the entire worlds chocolate production! The Criollo cacao tree grows primarily in Central and South America, Sri Lanka and the Carribean Islands and is considered to be the original, ancient variety of cacao. It is particularly hard to grow, yet chocolate made from Criollo beans are considered some of the finest; the 'Prince of Cocoas' in fact. We love Criollo Cacao particularly and our signature Peruvian chocolate is always made using this variety. With delicate but complex flavour profile, fruity notes and low bitterness it really is very special.
  • Trinitario
    Theobroma Trinitario Cacao is a 'hybrid' of the species. It is thought that in the 1700's, a storm which devastated a Criollo cacao farm in Trinidad was replanted with the hardier Forastero variety, which then produced hybrids of the original cacao tree. Trinitario is considered a fine cacao, with the stronger, hardier Forastero growing habit but retaining the delicate flavour profiles of the Criollo.
  • Forastero
    Considered to be the cacao bean of choice for 'bulk cocoa' - Forastero beans are found primarily in Africa and Ecuador. Forastero beans comprise up to 80% of all chocolate production in the world. it's much hardier and less susceptible to disease and crop failure, making a good choice for farmers needing to guarantee the security of their livelihood. Forastero is often blended with finer cocoa varieties due to its inferior flavour with a short bitterness and only a 'full bodied' cocoa flavour. We use a particularly fine Single Origin of Forastero variety in our Ecuadorian chocolate pared with crushed hazelnut.
  • Theobromine
    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
  • Dutching
    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 can be seen in the iconic biscuit discs of the Oreo Cookie
  • Lecithin
    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 so I avoid using soya lecithins in my chocolate workshops or micro manufacture wherever possible