“Nine out of ten people like chocolate. The tenth person always lies.” – John Q. TulliusLife is like a box of chocolates - those that you can make yourself (by hand and from heart). The good thing about making chocolates at home is that you can experiment with flavours you fancy and perhaps don’t exist. Think wasabi with chocolate or floral bars. Psst… I always fancied myself as a bit of a chocolatier.Chocolate making is very much an art and science. So, I went straight to the best women in business to learn the tricks of the trade and put my artistic skills to work. If you’re in love with the sweet stuff as much as I am, you’re welcome.The story of chocolate“The Cacao tree is the source of all things chocolate. The fruit of the Cacao tree is a football-shaped pod which contains seeds called beans. The cocoa beans are fermented and sun-dried before being shipped to the chocolate factory. Here the beans are roasted in a steam of hot air to give them their signature deep brown colour and aroma. The part of the bean needed to make chocolate is the portion inside, called the nib. After roasting, the beans are crushed to release the internal nib from the shells,” explains Arti Dhingra, Principal Chocolatier at Art Chocolat Academy in New Delhi.We’re not done yet. “The nibs are ground into thick brown liquid called cocoa liquor, which is further milled to release cocoa powder and cocoa butter. These constituents are re-combined along with additives and stirred continuously in a process called conching, which gives the finished chocolate its smooth, silky texture. This mixture can then be moulded into chocolate bars, poured over individual confectionery items, shaped into various forms, used as liquid syrup or as an ingredient in chocolate ice cream,” she shares. Based on the amount of cocoa and milk solids, chocolate can be further classified into dark, milk and white.
When melting compound chocolate, make sure your chocolate is chopped into small uniform pieces. Always melt on low heat because if it is too high the chocolate will zip right past the melting stage and become hard. It is easiest to melt chocolate in a microwave but it’s the riskiest too. “Run the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between and rotating the bowl if necessary. As a rough guide, you will need to microwave every ounce (28 grams) of chocolate for about 1 minute,” recommends Arti. You can even choose to use a double boiler or invest in a professional electric melter.If you think making chocolate is something only experts can do, you couldn't be more wrong. You only need the best ingredients, a dose of patience and some creativity to roll away to chocolate paradise.Nutty Chocolate Clusters
Recipe by Arti Dhingra from Art Chocolate AcademyThere's nothing simpler or more satisfying than these crunchy clusters. The mix of nuts, vermicelli and cornflakes adds a nice crunch and helps to break the intensity of chocolate.
Coffee Chocolate Truffles
Recipe by Divya Kakkar from The Sugar TherapyIf there's one thing better than chocolate or coffee, it's chocolate with coffee. The creamy coffee flavoured ganache gives a subtle lift to these deeply chocolatey rounds.If you are using compound chocolate, Divya recommends a brand called Vanleer – available in super dark, dark, milk & white varieties. This is easily available at stores stocking bakery products.
Heart Shaped Chocolate Fudge
Recipe by Kishi Arora from FoodaholicsFudge can be slightly challenging as it requires both chocolate and condensed milk to be heated together to attain the chewy texture that’s just right. This recipe shows you how to get there.