The quest for fresh chocolate

 

As a lifetime chocolate lover I am always looking for new chocolate to try- a very satisfying hobby.  Being married to another chocoholic and having a five year old running around ensured that there was always chocolate in some form coming into the house.

It’s a delicious dilemma- Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, chocolate truffles, bean to bar, estate chocolate, raw chocolate; in the past decade so many new and delicious types of chocolate have become available that I could hardly keep track.  It truly is an amazing time for chocolate lovers.

While the more I tasted new chocolates, and found new favorites, the more I became interested in making it myself.  I began researching how to make chocolate online, bought and checked out a ton of interesting books but no easy, sure-fire way to make it over and over again seemed to appear. 

I started contacting experts in the chocolate industry and came across some surprising resistance to the idea of making it at home.  One legendary New York based cocoa importer, who launched several high end chocolate brands in America and Europe, told me that making good chocolate without thousands of dollars of high end equipment was impossible.  Something out temperature and crystallization and ‘stability.’

Feeling a bit discouraged and confused, I almost gave up on the idea of trying to make chocolate at home, when a mysterious package from Peru arrived at my front door.  It contained cocoa butter and cocoa powder samples I had ordered weeks before but forgotten about completely.  Encouraged by having some raw ingredients, I began making my first batch of craft chocolate.  It didn’t go well. 

Neither did the next batch, or the dozen after, but I began to taste some encouraging signs.  I began to understand that the right ingredients make all the difference in how the end product came together.  I perfected a simple technique that worked for just about every type of chocolate I wanted to make.  Adding small tweaks like a pinch of salt, some walnuts, maybe a bit of vanilla, added depth and flavor that I couldn’t get with off the shelf chocolate.

Making great chocolate at home is easy if you start with the right foundation, and becoming your own chocolatier is a reward all its own.