The process of making chocolate
From the 1600s chocolate was a fashionable drink that was sold in chocolate houses. To make the finest chocolate is a complicated and time consuming process. Make your own at home with our simple chocolate recipe.
First the beans are roasted. The roasted beans are covered in a brittle ‘shell’ and which is painstakingly removed by the kitchen boy, splitting the shells and revealing the internal ‘nib’.
These nibs must be ground and are placed on a ‘Metate’ – a large stone. This stone is heated from below with charcoal and the nibs are crushed with a stone, or iron roller.
Both the warmth and the friction of the roller and stone turn the nibs to a liquid paste. The more this is rolled, the better tasting the chocolate, and the more it can be sold to the Court as better than that of the City traders. The poor kitchen boy would have spent many hours rolling the nibs!
The liquid paste is taken from the stone and set, sometimes on waxed papers in discs, or often in little tin moulds to make a ‘brick’ or ‘bar’. These blocks of chocolate are known as ‘chocolate cakes’. Cake in this case means piece, as in a cake of soap.
The processed chocolate ‘cake’ is put into a pot or pan and heated with a liquid – water, milk or even wine. Then the chocolate maker adds sugar and spices such as vanilla or a chilli pepper before serving with a flourish to the king.