World Chocolate Day, also known as International Chocolate Day, is an annual observance that occurs globally on 7 July. Celebrations on the day includes the consumption of chocolate and some references indicate that this day celebrates the introduction of chocolate to Europe in 1550.
As much as we love this popular sweet treat, there are things you probably did not know about it.
We spoke to the Head Chocolate Maker at Afrikoa, Antonino Allegra about the things we don’t know about chocolate, and below is what he had to say.
Chocolate-making is one of the most complex processes that requires patience and skills- there are over 14 steps involved in turning bitter cocoa beans into delicious chocolate. It takes seeding, planting, harvesting, fermenting, drying, bagging, shipping, roasting, winnowing, pre-refining, milling, conching, tempering, moulding, packing (and eating of course!).
From when the seed of a cocoa tree is planted, it takes 7 years before a cocoa tree even starts to produce cocoa pods, but it is considered an old tree after 15-20 years.
Chocolate can taste like more than just chocolate! Fine chocolate is complex (like wine) and has over 600 flavour compounds. These flavours are all determined by the soil; climate, the way it is roasted and conched can all change the way the chocolate tastes. All these elements are taken into account when creating a chocolate bar to make it unique and different from all the other chocolates out there.
Good-quality chocolate is incredibly complex and temperamental - it doesn’t set on its own and needs to be heated, cooled and constantly adjusted by the chocolatier to get it perfectly shiny with a good snap. Each of our chocolates has a personality of their own!
If you thought being a chocolatier was a cool job, you probably haven’t heard of a cocoa sourcer! Cocoa sourcers work for chocolate companies and travel the world to look for cocoa beans from interesting places around the world to make unique one-of-a-kind chocolate!