Chocolate maker Bean-to-bar
The cocoa beans arrives in bags weighing 60 to 90 kg each. Then a rigorous selection process will take place based on the different origins of the cocoa. The nose, sight and hands will all play an essential role. All the elements in this step required the highest care as well as an incomparable meticulousness.
Upon the arrival of the cocoa beans, the chocolatiers will sort the beans in a sieve. This first step consists of eliminating any spoiled beans; metallic debris or stones.
Next comes the roasting, which allows the chocolate to develop its aroma. This consists of cooking the beans in 140 to 150°C heat for thirty to forty minutes. These specifications vary depending on the origin and humidity of each bean. Every roasting requires the utmost precision.
Then a machine sorter called a “tarare,” takes off the shell that surrounds the bean through giving it what we call “nips.”
An essential ingredient for the chocolatier must be introduced at this stage: the ever important cocoa butter. A manufacturer makes this magnificent fatty substance of a light yellow colour. It sometimes even evokes a light chocolate aroma.
Compared to other animal-product butters, cocoa butter has a certain nobility in its vegetable origins. This butter gives the chocolate its singular “melt-in-your-mouth” taste. In the next step, we mix the sugar, Bourbon vanilla beans, the “nips” and the cocoa butter by crushing them all in a machine called the mixer. A very dense and very heavy batter comes out the other end. Only after this step can we really start calling it… chocolate.
The grinder continues the mixing by grinding, three different times, this thick batter that transforms into a smooth and refined substance; a chocolate that melts in your mouth. To homogenise the product, develop its aroma and give the chocolate its smoothness. The “conche” will knead the batter for about 48 hours which consists of two round stones made of hard rock, that slowly turn the precious substance. This process removes chocolate’s acidity in a vacuum at 51°C. The chocolate is then cooled at 31°C, the exact temperature of crystallisation.
The length that the chocolate is in the “conche” has a big influence on its velvety and creamy texture.
Having been taken out of the “conche” mixer, the chocolate is then poured into big moulds in the shape of bars. These huge bars are then called the “covering” chocolate and will be sent to the chocolaterie. They are magnificent. Conserved at precisely 16°C, they will be the chocolatiers’ raw material to make bars, delicious chocolates and numerous other fantastic creations. It’s in 1977 that Bernachon started to make its own chocolate, after a year of perfecting the recipe.