The Science of Chocolate

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Happy #NationalChocolateDay!

With today being National Chocolate Day and only 3 days from Halloween, we figured it would be appropriate to discuss the science of chocolate! Many of you may have noticed different terms on your favorite candy bars wrapper describing it as chocolate, cocoa, & cacao.

So what are the differences to these types of chocolates? They are actually all products of the same cacao plant harvested in warm tropical climates around the Equator. Around 70% of cacao is harvested from western Africa. Cacao looks like a football shaped melon. Inside are the cacao beans, that harvesters extract and allow to dry in the sun. Once the beans have dried they are shipped all over the world. When they arrive at their location, the beans are cleaned, stripped of their shells and the raw cocoa nib is now ready to be processed. The nibs are melted together and then ground down to make a cocoa powder. The cocoa powder gets sugar, lecithin and other ingredients added to it, melted all together and formed into blocks or bars.

Above: The Cacao Plant

Above: Dried Cacao beans

Above: Cocoa Nibs

Again wishing you all a very happy #NationalChocolateDay!