From bean to bar
From bean to bar - In the absolute, all chocolates come from a bean to bar process. However, the so-called bean to bar movement differs from mass-scale chocolate production and has strong roots in artisanal practice. It is also a different craft than chocolatier, for which chocolate is a ingredient, as opposed to the finished product of a process than begin with the cocoa bean.
Therefore, our work is entirely founded on the bean. In turn, every step of its processing affects the quality and nature of the chocolate made from it.
We receive our cocoa bean fermented and dried. The fermentation and drying of the beans are the first 2 stages of their transformation into chocolate, right after harvest, usually in collective facilities shared by local growers.
We buy our beans through sourcers and small importers who collaborate directly with farms or farmers’ groups growing “fine” cocoa. Great attention is given to the fermentation and drying processes, which is reflected in the resulting chocolate quality.
Once in our workshop, beans are sorted and roasted. Roasting develops the chocolatey aromas, and the bean’s unique profile: fruity, herbaceous, woodsy, floral… The character of the soon-to-be chocolate starts to show.
Then, the beans must be hulled. To do so, we crack the beans, which separates the hull, and clean the beans by sucking the lighter skins, trying to leave all the piece of beans behind. It’s… not our favorite part. Fortunately, our beast of a winnower has our backs!
Clean pieces of beans are cocoa nibs. To make them into chocolate, we reduce them into a paste, cocoa liquor. The liquor is then further grinded (along with sugar) to reduce its particles. Called refining, this step ensures a silky texture. Finally, conching is all about aerating the chocolate to polish the flavour. Our stone grinders will sometimes turn for over 100 hours to turn nibs to chocolate.
To be moulded into bars, chocolate must be tempered, brought to specific temperatures. This last step we share with chocolatiers is how we get shiny, snappy and melty chocolate.