کاکائو Cacao

کاکائو Cacaoکاکائو Cacaoکاکائو Cacao
Cacao Pod
lat. Theobroma cacao (Sterculiaceae)
Group: Spices
Cacao Pod Theobroma cacao (Sterculiaceae)
Cacao Pod Theobroma cacao (Sterculiaceae)
Cacao Pod Theobroma cacao (Sterculiaceae)
Odor profile: the fruit of the cocoa tree (theobroma cacao), full, sensuous, slightly spicy and bitterish with an underlay of fat.

Before it melts in our mouth and gives us its energy and optimism, chocolate goes a long way from being a green pod growing on a tropical tree.

The history of cocoa interlaces with the history of the ancient American civilization. In Central America cocoa trees were cultivated by the Mayas and later by the Toltecs and the Aztecs. The word "chocolate" is derived from the word ‘xocolatl’ which originates from the Nahuatl language, an Aztecan dialect, and means 'bitter water''. The word "cocoa" stems from the word "kakaw" which the Maya took on from preceding civilizations. The Europeans did not know cocoa even existed until 1502 - 10 years after Columbus discovered America.

The fruits of the cocoa tree, the cocoa pods, weigh 200 - 800 grams. It takes about 6 months before the fruits can be harvested. While the pods ripen, their color changes from green to yellow and orange. One tree produces about 30 pods with each of them containing about 30 - 40 seeds: The cocoa beans. There are several species of cocoa. Criollo, which accounts for 3% of the world's cocoa produce, is highest quality cocoa and Forastero, which accounts for 85% of the world's cocoa production, is the most common one.

The cocoa beans and the white pulp are extracted from the ripe cocoa pod before they are left to ferment while covered with banana leaves. The two-week long fermentation process is of utmost importance as it enhances the flavour and aroma of the cocoa.

Once fermented the cocoa beans contain approximately 60% moisture which needs to be reduced to 7.5% as high levels of moisture cause mold and would spoil the harvest. Therefore the fermented cocoa beans are sun-dried after the fermentation process. And after that the cocoa beans are ready to be dispatched to the factories where they are processed further.
In the factories the cocoa beans are cleaned and roasted at low temperature. Roasting the beans is what gives them the characteristic taste and smell we all know and love. Once the beans have cooled off they are being refined, i.e. freed of hulls and germs, by machines. The clean cocoa iss then ground to a paste called chocolate liquor which is the main component of chocolate. Cocoa paste consists of cocoa butter (natural cocoa fat) and a dry substance. When the cocoa butter is separated from the paste, the dry substance is further ground into fine cocoa powder.

Chocolate is made of chocolate liquor. Sugar, cocoa butter, emulsifying agents and vanilla are added to the chocolate liquor. Then the liquid chocolate is refined and tempered for perfect consistency and aroma. The scent of dark chocolate is full, warm and slightly spicy. White chocolate is made of cocoa butter, sugar and milk powder and therefore its aroma is not as intense. It is less spicy, but creamy and soft.

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