The tradition of making fine chocolate dated from 1500 BC- 1900 BC when cacao seeds were so expensive that some cultures like the Aztecs not only used it as a gift to their gods but counted it more valuable than gold.
Chocolate was not always a sweet, rich-tasting treat. In fact, for much of its history, it was consumed as a bitter beverage. However, once it gained popularity in Europe's courts and America's colonies, chocolate underwent a transformation and became the beloved treat it is now known for around the world.
The making of gourmet chocolate has been passed down from generation to generation, from a bitter aphrodisiac drink to the delicious goodness that tickles our senses and touches our spirit. Yet, the essence remains the same.
Let's take you on the journey of fine chocolate from seed to table.What Is Fine Chocolate?
Fine chocolate is that which is made with high-quality ingredients and careful attention to the manufacturing process. It is typically made from cocoa beans that have been carefully sourced and roasted and produced using traditional methods such as grinding and conching. A smooth texture and rich flavor characterize fine chocolate, and it also has a distinct aroma and a well-balanced taste profile. It is often made in small batches by artisanal chocolate makers, and it may be more expensive than mass-produced chocolate. Fine chocolate is usually distinguished from lower-quality chocolate by specific flavor notes and the absence of off-flavors or defects.Fine chocolate vs. regular chocolate
The difference between high-quality and regular chocolate is evident in several ways, including the quality of the ingredients used, the manufacturing process, and the overall flavor and texture of the finished product.
Gourmet chocolate is a type of chocolate that is made with high-quality cocoa beans, which are carefully selected and roasted. It is usually produced using traditional techniques like grinding and conching, which give it a smooth texture and a rich flavor. Gourmet chocolate may also have a unique aroma and a balanced taste. It is often made in small batches by skilled chocolate makers, making it more expensive than mass-produced chocolate.
Regular chocolate, on the other hand, is mass-produced and may use lower-quality cocoa beans and less expensive manufacturing methods. It is often made in large quantities and may have a less complex flavor profile and a less smooth texture.
Overall, fine chocolate is typically considered to be of higher quality than regular chocolate due to its attention to detail and the use of high-quality ingredients in its production.
Now that you have seen the key differences between the two types of chocolate we have today, let's take you through the process of making high-quality chocolate.
How To Make Fine Chocolate
To start with, learning how to make fine chocolate transcends pleasing the palate with a sweet confection. It needs the right energy, creativity, and skill to create that perfect creamy texture. It's no easy task and can not be done in a shoddy way; else, you tamper with the overall experience. It takes an artistic skill to touch the soul with a bite of chocolate that gives the palate an unforgettable experience.
Making fine chocolate involves several steps, including:
Sourcing cocoa beans
To make fine chocolate, you will need to start with high-quality cocoa beans. Look for beans that are well-fermented and roasted to your desired level of darkness.
Grinding and conching
Next, you will need to grind the cocoa beans into a fine paste known as chocolate liquor. This process can be done using a grinder or a melange machine. After grinding, the chocolate liquor is conched, which involves stirring and refining the chocolate to create a smooth texture.
Tempering is the process of heating and cooling the chocolate to specific temperatures to give it a shiny appearance and a smooth snap when broken.
After tempering, the chocolate is poured into molds and cooled until it hardens.
Wrapping and packaging
Finally, the chocolate is wrapped and packaged for sale.
If you're learning how to make high quality chocolate, it is essential to pay attention to every step in the process and use high-quality ingredients. The type of cocoa beans you use, the level of roasting and grinding, and the way you temper and mold the chocolate can all significantly impact the outcome.
How Vosges Chocolate Is Considered Fine Chocolate
At Vosges, the relationship between food and alchemy dates back to ancient times. Alchemy involves combining elements, planets, and their vibrations with food to create something more than just sustenance. When done correctly, food can be transformed by combining the right time, hands, and heart.
Hence, every step of making a Vosges chocolate is more than a mere tantalizing of the tongue. It's an almost spiritual experience; from the sourcing of the cocoa, herbs, and spices to the creative packaging, everything is designed to take your whole senses on a journey of no return.
If you are looking for where to buy fine chocolate, you can get high-quality chocolate from independent distributors, artisanal chocolate makers like Vosges, and specialty stores. To ensure the highest possible quality, it may also be worth seeking out chocolate that is certified as fair trade or organic, as this can help ensure that the cocoa beans used to make the chocolate are sourced in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.