Again I haven’t posted in a week or so. I have lots of blog posts I want to write, so I’ll be busy. I will start putting out more content, more frequently as well.
A few days ago we were in Arequipa, Peru. Arequipa is 2300 meters above sea level. The first day of our four nights there most of my family had headaches and a little bit of nausea. It was because of the altitude.
We arrived in Arequipa on April 18th. We flew in from Lima, Peru
On May 20th we decided to go learn how to make chocolate at a chocolate factory! We walked about 20 minutes from our AirBNB to Chaqchao Chocolate Factory. Here we met our teacher named Adrian. He’s a young guy who’s super nice.
We learned so much about the chocolate. Did you know that cacao beans actually come from a fruit. The beans are in a white pulp in a fruit that looks nothing like any other fruit nor vegetable. This fruit is called a cacao fruit.
This is the process of preparing the cacao beans to turn them into chocolate:
- Harvest the cacao fruit
- Put the pulp that is inside the fruit, and the beans into big bins
- Let them ferment for eight days
- Then let all of the beans dry in the sun
- Separate the damaged and the undamaged beans into different piles
- Roast the undamaged beans in a special type of oven
- Peel the shells off of the roasted cacao beans
- Grind them with a granite grinder or a mortar and pestle
- Now you put the powder into big press machines, which then separates the cocoa solids and the cacao butter (mas)
After the last step you are ready to create your chocolate. You mix different amounts of sugar, powdered milk, cacao solids, and cacao butter. The different amounts determine whether it’s a white, milk, or a dark chocolate.
I think it is really cool that it depends on how much of different ingredients on what type of chocolate. you choose to make. I’ll show you what I mean.
White chocolate minimum percentages: 28% cacao butter, 14% powdered milk, 0-58% sugar.
Milk chocolate minimum percentages: 25-76% cacao solids, 28% cacao butter, 14% powdered milk, 0-51% sugar.
Dark chocolate minimum percentages: 43-90% cacao solids, 10% cacao butter, 0-47% sugar.
You may realize that some of these ingredient lists have ingredients that some of the other lists don’t. It’s because they are different types of chocolate.
Also, you may have noticed that I didn’t say liquid milk once. That is because chocolate doesn’t have liquid milk in it, it has powdered milk instead. But you still may be wondering why milk chocolate or white chocolate is so creamy, well that’s because of the cacao butter. That’s what makes some chocolate so creamy, not milk.
I found it interesting that real chocolate has only those four ingredients! Any type of chocolate that has more than those particular four is not actually chocolate, it’s a candy bar. I’m not saying that if you read the back of a chocolate package and it has like ten ingredients it doesn’t mean it’s not good. But if you want to buy real chocolate though they will only have those four ingredients.
I guarantee you that most chocolate in the world is fake. They have things like soy, vanillin, artificial flavors, dairy products, and so many more chemicals that one hundred percent doesn’t need to be in chocolate.
While we were at the chocolate factory we did a blind taste test of chocolates. We sampled real chocolates and fake chocolates (candy bars). It was really interesting the different tastes and the different smells.
At the end of our class we made our own chocolates! Everybody in the group each got a tray with little chocolate molds. We were allowed to put different toppings in each of our molds. I put little rice puffs, chia seeds, cocoa nibs, salt, almonds, peanuts, raisins, chili powder, and a few other things. We then poured the melted chocolates into our molds, before putting them into the giant fridge to harden.
At the end of our class we took our chocolates home. That day was awesome! If you are in Arequipa you should go there. If you don’t like chocolate and you go learn at Chaqchao then you’ll like it by the end of the class.
I hope you enjoyed this post. My next post I plan to write about the craftsmanship in Peru, so stay tuned.