What is 'Bean to Bar' Chocolate?
Mocha Mondo chocolate is made from ‘bean to bar‘. This means that we grind roasted cacao beans as ’nibs’ and make the chocolate using our own recipe. This way we have total control over all of the ingredients. For instance, almost all chocolate contains an ingredient called lecithin. This helps to make the chocolate more malleable, increases the chances of a perfect temper, and helps the surface ‘shine’. Lecithin is good for your health and is taken as a supplement by many people. Commercially most lecithin comes from soya. We use lecithin which comes from sunflowers.
Beans are ground in a a special stone grinder called a melanger. First they are ground to less that 15 microns. This is the size of grain after which your tongue can not distinguish any improvement on smoothness and takes around 24 hours. The next stage is called conching and uses less pressure on the grinding stones and takes 48 hours for both the 70% dark and Mocha chocolate. This drives off the bitter phenols from the beans as the warm chocolate constantly turns and folds over the stones. Finally, the warm chocolate is left to set naturally and rested for up to two weeks.
Before the bars of chocolate can be poured into the moulds to finally set, the chocolate has to be tempered so that it is shiny, snaps, and melts on the tongue, whist also being stable at ambient temperatures. This process involves raising, lowering, and raising the temperature of the liquid chocolate until it is ‘ready’. Conditions have to be just right during this process including time, temperature and humidity. Warm tempered chocolate is then poured into specially prepared and polished moulds and shaken to allow the bubbles to rise to the surface. The full moulds are then cooled in a dry atmosphere. Finally they are wrapped and labelled.