It doesn’t take much to sink our teeth into a delicious truffle. Our chocolatiers toil over our homemade sweets with love, package them up in a pretty little box, and set them on the counters for you to pick and choose. But before that truffle went home with you as an after-dinner treat… it lived a life you wouldn’t imagine. You might want to grab a chocolate snack for this one…
Feel the tropical sun beat down as you’re sitting among the cacao trees. You’ve watched them young and old grow tall, and be cut down to manageable size. For years you’ve waited as the flowers bloom. Some become home to cacao pods, and others don’t. The vibrant greens and yellows and browns tell you that in just a little while, there will be handfuls of beans ready to be cracked open.
You cut down a few pods, rap them against the tree, and scoop out the beans from both halves. You carefully house the beans between banana leaves and begin the fermentation process. Without it, you know that rich chocolate flavor can’t develop.
In as little as a few days, it’s time to dry. You spread them out so the sun can beat down on them, slowly raking them back and forth for an even drying. After a week, you start the roasting process. Slowly bringing out the dark colors and rich flavor profiles, you reach your desired flavor and remove the shell to find the prize: the cocoa nib.
Once you’ve winnowed out the nib, you grind it down into a rich paste. You use some as it is, and the rest you press until you’ve got smooth butters and material for milling into powder. Then comes the fun part. You continue to grind and refine as you decide what kind of chocolate you want to make. You experiment with sugars and milks for days on end until you’ve got just the right combination. For a little while longer you cool and warm the chocolate until you’ve got that delightful little snap when it breaks, and add all the little crunches of nuts and salts until it’s perfect.
You handpick each chocolate and place it neatly in a box, knowing some lucky someone will taste the fruits of your labor, and begin all over again!