Once cacao beans are fermented and dried, they are packed in jute bags and shipped to chocolatemakers around the world. Subtle changes in cacao from harvest to harvest require us to create small test batches until our vision of the chocolate is realized. Once a recipe is developed, we proceed into boutique production, making 12 kg or 25 lb. of chocolate at one time.
We begin our process by cleaning and sorting cacao, in order to eliminate substandard beans, to prepare for roasting. If necessary, we separate the beans by size in order to achieve an even, precise roast. There is always great music playing in the background.
Roasting deepens and enhances a cacao's flavor initiated in the fermentation and drying stages. Fragrant smoke, popping and intoxicating aroma are a few of the sexy-sounding cues in the roasting of cacao.
After roasting, we break the cacao beans and winnow them to remove their thin papery husk, resulting in pure nibs. The nibs are hard and crunchy with a nutty and mildly bitter taste.
Next, we grind the cacao nibs into a warm paste and add cane sugar to balance the cacao's inherent bitterness. Through our refining and conching techniques, we heat, aerate and gently knead the mixture over several days into rich, velvety-smooth chocolate. Time is a primary component in making chocolate. The transformation is fragrant, magical and beautiful.
We pour the chocolate into blocks and let it age for two months, allowing the flavors to coalesce. We then melt it down to temper and mold into bars.