Chocolate is produced from the cacao bean, a large pod found on the cacao tree.
Cacao trees originated in South America, but are now grown and harvested in Africa, the Far East and the West Indies.
Both the pulp and the beans obtained from the pods are fermented in the sun. After the pulp evaporates, the beans take on some of their chocolate flavour.
The outer skin is removed and the beans are dried and roasted.
The shell of the bean is removed and it is the kernel that is then processed into the thick cocoa solids, which makes the basis of chocolate.
True chocolate is called couverture, containing cocoa butter (pure cocoa fat).
Although professional chefs prefer the fine eating quality of couverture, it requires a specialist tempering process before it can be used.
Therefore most chocolate manufacturers replace the cocoa butter with vegetable fat. This produces convenient compound cooking chocolate, for ease of use.
Dreamy Chocolate Mousse
- 250g dark chocolate, grated
- 100mls milk
- 150g caster sugar
- 2 tbsp cold water
- 1 tbsp gelatine powder
- 2 tbsp booze (like rum or cointrea etc) optional
- 700ml cream, lightly whipped
- Place the grated chocolate, milk and sugar in a pan.
- Heat the mixture gently to a dissolved, smooth consistency.
- Add water to gelatine and warm in the microwave until dissolved, than add to the chocolate mixture.
- At this stage you could add a nip or two of your favourite booze (like rum or cointrea etc).
- Allow mixture to cool slightly and just before setting point, fold in cream.
- Pour into moulds or just into attractive glasses.
- Allow to set in the refrigerator before decorating with sweetened cream and fresh strawberries