How Is Chocolate Made?
When the Spanish explorer Hernando Cortes came to Mexico in the 1500s, he found the people there enjoying a dark, flavorful drink made from the seeds, or beans, of the cacao tree. The drink was chocolate!
Cacao beans grow in large pods. After the beans are removed from the pods, they are allowed to ferment and dry. The beans are roasted and then shelled. Chocolate is made by grinding the oily beans between hot rollers. Plain chocolate is very bitter. For sweet chocolate, sugar is added. For cocoa, the oily fat, or cocoa butter, in the chocolate is removed.
Much of the chocolate consumed today is in the form of sweet chocolate, a combination of cocoa solids, cocoa butter or other fat, and sugar. Milk chocolate is sweet chocolate that additionally contains milk powder or condensed milk. White chocolate contains cocoa butter, sugar, and milk, but no cocoa solids.
Chocolate has become one of the most popular food types and flavors in the world, and a vast number of foodstuffs involving chocolate have been created, particularly desserts including cakes, pudding, mousse, chocolate brownies, and chocolate chip cookies.
Many candies are filled with or coated with sweetened chocolate, and bars of solid chocolate and candy bars coated in chocolate are eaten as snacks. Gifts of chocolate molded into different shapes (e.g., eggs, hearts) have become traditional on certain Western holidays, such as Easter and Valentine’s Day.