Chocolate making is an art form. Tougher still, is the bean-to-bar process, which requires many different steps and precision…but results in some of the most amazing sweets you’ll ever taste! We are pleased to say that we now offer both options at Christy’s Gourmet Gifts – creating chocolate in-house with products like our Christy’s Crunch, and creating handmade bean-to-bar chocolates, some of them vegan!
With Bernhard’s expanding passion for high-quality chocolates, and the knowledge he has gained along the way, we are able to create innovative products that aren’t readily available at local chocolate shops, one of our favourites being our Coconut Milk Chocolate Bean-to-Bar. Bernhard was first inspired to create bean-to-bar from his trip to Costa Rica – he explored the chocolate industry from the grower and agricultural end, and was inspired by the farm-to-table movement that’s currently flourishing in the culinary industry.
To give you a behind the scenes look at the detailed process, Bernhard shares a bit more about our creation process for bean-to-bar chocolate below:
1 Source high-quality processed beans from the farmers. Bernhard uses a variety of high quality beans, choosing to source them from different farms and locations like Honduras or Mexico, to sample the different flavours that are available to us. Currently, he is sourcing his beans from Peru, but each shipment of beans he receives is a different variety.
2 Processed beans then go into the crushing machine to bring the beans down to smaller, workable pieces and separate the husks.
3 A winnowing machine is then used to separate the smaller cacao nibs from the husks. The husks are set aside to make anything from tea to garden filler.
4 Then, the chocolate liqueur is created by placing the nibs into the refiner. Once the chocolate has heated, sugars, any extra cocoa butter (which adds a smooth mouth-feel), and spices or flavourings can be added, and then we continue to process in the refiner for around 48 hours.
5 From there, we complete the tempering process and place into chocolate moulds for cooling.
The bean-to-bar process may be a long one, but the products that come of it are even more customizable flavour-wise, and more raw. Some of our favourite bean-to-bar creations in the shop have been our antioxidant bar with cacao, goji berries and blueberries, our gianduja bar, and more!
Interested in making your own chocolate at home? To temper your own chocolate, follow the instructions below or read our detailed blog post here.
- Chocolat callets
- Measure out the amount of chocolate you need. Melt the chocolate in a clean dry bowl in a microwave. Do short bursts of 30-45 seconds, stirring in between until chocolate is totally melted and you reach 45 degrees Celsius.
- Cover a countertop with a piece of parchment paper. Pour roughly ⅔ of the melted chocolate onto the parchment.
- With a pallet knife or spatula, work the chocolate until it starts to crystallize (the step right before it starts to harden), if it goes too far and begins to get clumpy, you will have to start again from Step 1.
- Once it starts to crystallize, put the chocolate from the parchment paper back into the melted chocolate in the bowl. Mix it together and make sure it all blends in.
- To ensure readiness: Milk and White Chocolate should be brought to 28-30 degrees Celsius. Dark Chocolate should be brought to 31-32 degrees Celsius.