Back
Header Bild

CHOCOLATE MAKES YOU HAPPY

Swiss tradition

Maestrani has a sixth sense for chocolate. Our chocolatiers take high-quality ingredients and melt them to create fine chocolate specialties.

FROM HARVESTING TO COCOA MASS

Processing the
cocoa pods

HARVESTING THE COCOA PODS

The cocoa tree grows in the tropics. Each tree produces just 20 to 50 pods per year, weighing around 500g each. The pods are harvested by workers on the ground using machetes and long bamboo poles with sharp knives attached.

FERMENTATION

The gathered cocoa pods are transported to regional collection points, where they are split open with machetes. The pulp and cocoa beans inside the pod are removed and piled into baskets or laid out in large boxes. The beans are left for two to six days in the shade of large banana leaves. During this time, the beans ferment. In the fermentation process the pulp is separated from the beans, the beans lose their ability to germinate, and the first flavours begin to develop.

DRYING

After fermentation, the beans contain up to 60% water, which can result in mould and rot. Before the beans can be stored and further processed, they have to be dried. The beans are spread out to dry on mats or in large flat boxes and turned frequently. After drying, the water content is around 7% and the beans are ready to be transported to Europe.

PROCESSING THE COCOA MASS

Chocolate production

MIXING THE INGREDIENTS

The cocoa mass is mixed with the individual ingredients. Different amounts of cocoa butter, milk powder, sugar and other ingredients are added according to the recipe. This takes place in a huge mixer. At this stage, the chocolate mass tastes almost like the finished product. But because the individual ingredients are coarse-grained, the mass still tastes gritty.

ROLLING

To refine the chocolate and remove all traces of the gritty texture, the cocoa mass is rolled into a very thin sheet by several rollers. This sheet is thinner than a strand of human hair.

CONCHING

At this stage, the cocoa mass is still too bitter and harsh, and the flavours of the individual ingredients have not yet combined. The chocolate mass is heated to around 80°C in the ‘conch’, where it is continuously stirred for several hours. This causes the bitter flavours to evaporate and allows the desired flavours to fully develop.