Chocolate is a product that requires complex procedures to produce. The process involves harvesting the cacao beans and manufacturing the beans into chocolate.
The beans grow in pods that are about the size of a football. The pods are harvested manually so as not to damage the trees or the flowers and pods that grow from the trunk.
The pods are collected, split open and the cacao beans removed. It is the following steps
that develops the eventual taste of the finished product.
The beans are placed in heated trays or covered with leaves and left to dry in the sun and then dried, usually in the sun.
The beans are ready to be refined into chocolate. They are roasted, outer shells removed, and then broken into small pieces called nibs. The nibs are ground under pressure into the solid mass often referred to as chocolate liquor. During this process the fat of the cacao bean precipitates out. This is called cocoa butter.
The cacao liquor is blended with sugar, cocoa butter and in the case of milk chocolate, milk solids, heated and mixed over a lengthy period of time (called conching) to achieve a variety of chocolates.
While formulas and processing methods can vary widely between chocolate manufacturers the following descriptions generally describe the different types of chocolates.
WHITE CHOCOLATE is produced by mixing cocoa butter and sugar and sometimes
milk solids. There is no chocolate liquor in white chocolate. Pure white chocolate that Pierre's uses should not be confused with most products marketed as white chocolate, but are in fact, and must be labeled as such, chocolate flavored candy.
DARK CHOCOLATE is produced by mixing the chocolate mass (cacao liquor) with sugar and in some recipes cocoa butter. The higher the percentage of chocolate mass the more bitter the chocolate. Bittersweet chocolate is usually made with 65% to 91% cacao mass. Semisweet chocolate usually contains between 48% to 64% cacao mass and sweet dark chocolate contains 38% to 47% cacao mass.
MILK CHOCOLATE is produced by mixing the chocolate mass with sugar and milk solids and in some recipes cocoa butter.