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Frequently asked questions

Chocolate Making

How is chocolate made?

Chocolate is made from cocoa beans, which come from cocoa pods, the fruit of the cacao tree. The cocoa bean is grown mainly in West Africa and South-East Asia, and to a lesser degree in Central and South America.

Cocoa pods are harvested twice a year, when they reach maturity. The cocoa pods are split with a machete immediately after harvesting, to yield the cocoa beans and pulp within. The cocoa beans and pulp are then covered with banana leaves and left to ferment for 6 to 7 days.

After this fermentation process, the beans are dried. They are spread out to dry naturally in the sun, being turned regularly, for around 5 days until they attain moisture levels of +/- 3%. Once dried, they are packed into jute sacks and shipped off all round the world.

Next comes the chocolate production stage. Once cleaned, the beans are ground to make cocoa paste, from which cocoa butter and cocoa liquor can be extracted. The dark, white or milk chocolate variants are then made by altering the ratio of cocoa paste to cocoa butter.

Health

How healthy is chocolate?

When well selected and consumed in moderation, chocolate offers a number of considerable nutritional benefits. Its ‘antidepressant’ qualities come from mood-enhancing elements such as magnesium, serotonin and salsolinol. Rich in carbohydrates and fats, chocolate is also an excellent energy booster. Finally, chocolate is an excellent antioxidant. It contains more potent polyphenols and at higher levels than even rich sources such as green tea or red wine.

Does chocolate raise your cholesterol level?

Dark chocolate (pure cocoa butter) has a very low cholesterol level. The cholesterol level in milk chocolate varies between 15 and 18mg per 100g, which is negligible.

Chocolate Tasting

What is the best way to taste a Corné Port-Royal chocolate?

Tasting a chocolate involves all of your senses: sight, touch, hearing, taste and smell. First and foremost comes sight: the chocolate should look smooth and lustrous. A well-made chocolate should give as you bite into it. If a praline starts to melt in your hand before you’ve had the chance to put it in your mouth, that’s a good sign: it indicates that it contains cocoa butter. Let it melt in your mouth, pressing the chocolate to your palate to release all its flavours.

What is the best way to store my chocolates?

Chocolates are best kept in a dry place, away from strong odours and at a temperature of between 15-18°C. Keeping chocolates in the fridge is not recommended. It is also advisable to keep chocolate away from food and other substances with a strong odour, as chocolate absorbs odours very readily.

How long do chocolates keep for?

In order to enjoy their flavours at their fullest, store chocolates at optimal conditions, and do not keep them beyond their best-before date.

Why do some chocolates have a white bloom?

If a chocolate is subject to fluctuations in either temperature (below 15°C or above 18°C) or humidity, a white bloom may occasionally appear on the surface of the product. It is important to emphasise that this white bloom in no way affects the taste of the chocolate.

What is a praliné?

A praliné is made by caramelising sugar syrup, hazelnuts and almonds together before being ground to varying levels of fineness.

What is gianduja?

Gianduja is a mixture of finely-ground hazelnuts and powdered sugar to which chocolate is added. Gianduja comes from the Piedmont region of Italy, which supplies the finest hazelnuts to the chocolate trade.

What is a ganache?

Ganache is a silky smooth blend of chocolate and cream. A ganache can be made simply with chocolate, or infused with flavourings such as fruit, violet, etc.

What is marzipan made from?

Marzipan is a paste made from finely-ground almonds and sugar. Corné Port-Royal marzipan is made of 40% almonds, sourced from Faro in Portugal, home to the finest almonds.