What better way to spread the joy of the festive season than with chocolate?

Most of us love chocolate and would love to indulge in it. So why not know more about chocolate making and make ourselves capable enough to fulfil our cravings for that sweet fantasy all by ourselves.

The Mayan and Aztec civilisations were the first ones to identify the value of cacao pods.

These pods are obtained from the Theobroma cacao tree. Chocolate making is actually a long and complicated process.

The process

Firstly the cacao pods are harvested then they are split open and the cocoa beans and fruity pulp which are there inside are scraped from the pods and left for 2-8 days to ferment in baskets.

Then they are dried completely in direct sunlight and later packaged and shipped to the manufacturers. They are roasted to elicit intense chocolate flavour and colour.

After that they are transferred to the winnower to remove the bean-shells which leaves the nibs, full of cocoa solids and cocoa butter. Then these nibs are ground to a thick, rich paste (called as cocoa liquor-which has no alcohol), now cocoa butter is removed by pressing the paste and cocoa presscake is what remains.

This presscake when pulverised becomes cocoa powder. According to the type and quality of chocolate wanted various ingredients are added.

This mixture travels through a number of rollers to smooth out the texture then sent to conching machine which kneads and massages the chocolate mixture for several hours to days.

Later chocolate is tempered in large machines that cool it to precise temperatures to obtain shiny smooth bars. Subsequently it is poured into moulds then wrapped and is ready for consumption!

You can too

Rich chocolates are not the prerogative of world brands alone, it is no rocket science.

If you wish to make those divine tasting chocolates at home, you can, very comfortably using the refrigerator, gas stove or microwave oven available at home.

Radhika Mandala, proprietor of Chococraft said, “All that you will need is chocolate block, moulds, fillings, decent packing material, all easily available in local markets. Also one should be interested in learning it; it brings out creativity in you.”

R. Sudha, owner of ChocoFantasy said, “During the festive seasons,. innovatively packed chocolates as gifts are a rage.

I use baskets made of cane, assorted wrapping techniques to pack the chocolates and I also make Christmas trees and Santa with chocolate.”

Apart from the usual delectable chocolates with nuts fillings, lot of new things are being tried. Edible Prints is now being tried on chocolates as well, so you can have your family photo, invitations for various occasions, a logo if you have one as the custom print on the chocolate.Chocolate indeed is a discovary to make you smile.