chocolatemelangeur.com last winter. And I am loving every minute of it!
And recently, I received some cocoa beans samples from Ontario's first supplier of single origin cocoa beans, The Mexican Arabica Bean Company. Owner, Juan E Gonzalez, supplies organic cocoa beans and cocoa butter from a farm in Mexico, and also from a co-operative in Honduras. And so I made a variety of chocolate bars using these beans, including two single origin 70% dark chocolate bars, and some blended Honduras-Indonesia 51% dark-milk chocolate (it's blended because it had a high non-deodorized cocoa butter content, which means that single origin flavours from both the Honduras beans and Indonesian cocoa butter are affecting the flavour of the final chocolate). All the chocolate bars turned out to be delicious.
The two dark chocolates, from Mexico and Honduras, both had fruity flavours, yet were very different. Mexico had a coffee flavour and perhaps nutty flavour, combined with bright, acidic fruit flavours, while the Honduras had a funny fruit flavour that perhaps reminded me of the pitanga fruit flavour in Akesson's Brazil-origin chocolate. I wasn't sure about it when I first made it, but then as it aged a week or two, I really began to love the flavour. And the Honduras worked out so beautifully in the dark-milk chocolate that I truly gained an appreciation for the bean.
Although the beans were very different (the Mexican beans were washed before processing and the Honduras simply fermented and sun-dried for 5 days), I found them both fairly easy to work with. I tasted a lot of the beans before and after roasting them and found no beans to have mould flavours or anything strange. Overall, both batches were good to work with.
Juan tells me that the new harvest of Mexican cocoa beans, from the Tobasco region of Mexico, have a high percentage of white Criollo beans mixed in with the Trinitario beans. So I am definitely ready to put my order in for more! If you want some beans from Juan, and cocoa butter to make them truly single-origin, contact him via the website at www.mabco.ca or on Facebook, Twitter (@mabcoimporter) or Instagram (@mabco.ca). He's knowledgeable and fun to talk to, and he even worked on cacao farms when he was growing up in Mexico, so he certainly has a handle on cacao!
Since I loved the results of my dark-milk chocolate recipe, I thought I'd share the recipe with you here. If you don't have a chocolate melangeur or refiner, you'll want to use a good juicer (Champion), and Indian spice grinder, or a really good single-blade blender or coffee grinder to grind the chocolate as fine as you can (and until it begins to 'melt' into chocolate) Enjoy!
Dark Milk Chocolate Recipe with 51% Cocoa Solids)
for Lisabeth`s Honduras-Indonesia Dark Milk Chocolate, but you can use any beans and cocoa butter!
Taste: Lightly fruity, acidic, buttery caramel, low roast.
24.53% 400 grams organic/fair trade cane sugar
24.53% 400 grams milk powder (I used non-instant skim milk powder)
30.70% 500 grams cocoa butter
20.24% 330 roasted, shelled cocoa beans
100% 1,630 grams total batch size
(16 3.5oz or 100g chocolate bars,
or 25 65g chocolate bars)
50.94% 830 grams cocoa solids
Step 1: Sort and check the beans: Remove any twigs, metal or other strange particles that could be in your cocoa beans. Remove strange shaped beans, or beans that look bad or broken.
Step 2: Roast the cocoa beans. 30 minutes (with occasional stirring/turning of the beans) on 300º F to 325º F should be good. You can play around with roasting times, depending on what you are looking for.
Step 3: Shell or winnow the beans. Hand shelling can be very slow, but it is helpful to have rubbery thick kitchen gloves to remove the shells. Or crush the beans in a large Ziplock bag and then place them on a flat pan and remove the shells using a hair-dryer or fan to blow the shells off of the beans - outdoors because this is messy. You can also remove the beans with a winnower, by building or buying it.
Step 4: Melt the cocoa butter in the microwave (about 2-3 minutes) or over a double boiler (ensuring no water gets into mix).
Step 5: Pre-grind your roasted, broken and shelled cocoa beans (nibs) and half of the melted cocoa butter with a blender, automatic coffee grinder, juicer, or an appliance designed for pre-grinding cocoa beans.
Step 6: Place the other half of your melted cocoa butter in the chocolate refiner/melangeur, along with the pre-ground chocolate mixture. Refine for 15 to 24 hours, depending on how long you want and to get the taste and texture you like. If you are using a blender or coffee grinder, just a few minutes is all you can do so as not to burn out the motor.
Step 7: Either pour your chocolate out into a plastic wrap-lined pan and let rest and age for 3 or 4 weeks, or immediately temper it and pour into moulds, depending on your preference. If you pour out into pans, the chocolate will have considerable boom, so it will need to be melted and tempered before pouring into moulds. Learn how to temper the chocolate here.
Seal in plastic bags or foil to store. If stored in a cool, dry place, with no exposure to sun, your chocolate should last one year!
Quick Links: List of American Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Makers, List of Canadian Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Makers, List of UK Bean to Bar Chocolate Makers, The Raw Chocolate List, Organic & Fair Trade Chocolate List (U.S. & Canada), Soy-Free Chocolate List, Dark Milk Chocolate List, List of Specialty Chocolate Retailers, List of No Cane Sugar Chocolate, List of Cocoa Bean Suppliers, How to Temper Chocolate, Chocolate Recipes.