After chocolate is refined, it can be eaten straight out of the machine! But most chocolate is tempered before being packaged for sale. Tempering is the process of heating, cooling, and then slightly re-heating chocolate, so that it stays smooth and shiny. The tempering process compels cocoa butter’s fatty acids into form V, which give chocolate a shiny surface, a strong snap, and a smoother texture in your mouth. Unless it’s being used in baking or been diluted with a cheaper oil that more easily coats the cocoa and sugar solids, chocolate must be tempered.
If left untempered, a mixture of the six cocoa butter crystal formations will remain, causing grey streaks or bubbles of fat throughout the chocolate, called fat bloom. Once chocolate is made, many makers let it mellow out for a few months before tempering, allowing the flavor to fully develop before tempering and using it. Once chocolate is tempered it can be molded into a chocolate bar, used to make bonbons or coat a candy bar, or even sculpted into any number of beautiful creations.
By now, you have probably gained an appreciation for the labor-intensive process that is chocolate-making. Of course, not all craft chocolate-makers are equally skilled at coaxing flavor of the beans. At Bar & Cocoa we work hard (translation: we taste a lot of bars) so you can order freely, and enjoy your chocolate.