B E A N to B A R Chocolate
Did you know that The Light Cellar started with a passion for creating raw chocolate from scratch? Light Cellar owner, Malcolm Saunders would source un-roasted cacao and redistribute it amongst chocolate fanatics, while also teaching everyone how to make their own alchemical chocolate creations. So much has evolved and changed since 2007! Now we stone grind our own chocolate just the way you like it… Dark and smooth! There is so much to share about our process and passion, so continue reading as we take you through the process of how we create beautiful chocolate from bean to bar!
We start with the freshest and cleanest beans we can find! We use carefully picked, fermented, washed and dried Arriba Nacional beans from Ecuador. Each batch is lab tested for nasty mycotoxins, molds and fungus – things that would otherwise be killed through the roasting process. All cacao pods are hand-harvested, taken to a specialized fermentation facility where they are cracked open. The beans are scooped out and placed in large wooden boxes where the beans ferment for 3-4 days. This process influences the flavour of the bean, so a proper fermentation is the beginning of the finished flavour of the bar. Once fermentation is done, the beans are washed, dried, cracked and winnowed. Winnowing removes the skin, and what remains is the lovely nibs (seen below on the far right!) So much work goes into preparing the cacao before it even arrives at the shop.
So much love and time goes into our stoneground chocolate! Once we have the beans in our hands, we grind them into a paste and put them into our stone grinder. We add a small amount of coconut sugar, un-roasted cacao butter and paste ( made from the same Arriba Nacional beans) and vanilla bean – all organic and the absolute highest quality!
It takes at least 4 days to grind and melange the chocolate to the perfect smoothness and mildness. The flavours develop from day to day – the first day being the most intense with distinct floral and red fruit notes. As the days go by, the volatile oils in the cacao are released and the flavour balances out to become milder. The bitterness becomes more subdued, and the richness of a dark brownie and deep chocolate flavour start to show. It still retains notes of red fruit, but flavour complexity and depth have been maximized!
Place a piece on your tongue and pay attention to how the flavours change and develop over time. Feel what the texture of the chocolate does to your mouth. Taste for the red fruit notes.
Once our stoneground chocolate is ready, it needs to be tempered before it can be poured into molds. Tempering is a process that stabilizes the cacao butter crystals into uniform crystalline structures. It is an important process which ensures that the finished chocolate is stable at room temperature, has a good “mouth feel”, and has a snap and shine to it. There are many ways to temper, which involves warming, then cooling, then warming again. We currently use a granite slab where the chocolate is poured and moved around until it cools. We then heat it up and pour into molds. All of this is done by hand – which takes time and great care! We hope you enjoy our chocolate as much as we enjoy making it!
The last step in our bean to bar journey is to mold the chocolate. Once tempered, the chocolate needs to be poured quickly so it stays in temper. We then place the molds in the fridge to set, pop them out and package them. We hope you love our chocolate as much as we do!