Cocoa beans ©iStock

Cocoa beans ©iStock

Cacao trees grow in Africa, Madagascar, Central and South America, and parts of Asia where the weather is hot.  

Cocoa beans grow inside large pods that are picked and left to dry in the sun. The dry beans are shipped to places where chocolate is made. 

At a factory, the cocoa beans are cleaned and roasted and the shells are removed.

Chocolate is stirred in large vats in a chocolate factory. ©iStock

Chocolate is stirred in large vats in a chocolate factory. ©iStock

The roasted beans are cracked and the outer shells blown away, leaving broken bits of the beans, called nibs. 

The nibs are crushed and ground into a thick paste called chocolate liquor. 

Some of this is put into a press that removes cocoa butter, which will be used in making chocolates, and ground into a powder and packaged as cocoa.

Some is mixed with cocoa butter, sugar and condensed milk to make a paste. The paste passes through rollers to make it smooth, then it is stirred for at least six hours.

The liquid chocolate is weighed and poured into moulds. Flavoured centres or nuts and fruit are added at this stage. The liquid chocolate is poured into moulds to set.

Chocolates can be made into blocks, eggs, or any shape, depending on the moulds. The moulds are allowed to cool, the chocolates removed and then wrapped in foil or decorated.

History

For hundreds of years, people drank chocolate, but they didn't eat it until the first bars were made in Switzerland in 1819. The chocolates were hard and tasted bitter.

In 1879, Rodolphe Lindt discovered that adding milk or cream improved the taste, and invented a machine which made smoother milk chocolate that tasted better. 

 

Go here for lots more information about chocolate:

 http://facts-about-chocolate.com/chocolate-information/