Published: May 1st 2012April 27th 2012
Anyone who has read the Green & Black's cookbook, Green & Black's Chocolate Recipes (http://www.greenandblacks.com/uk/green-and-blacks-kitchen/recipe-book.html
) or Willie's Chocolate Factory Cookbook (http://williescacao.com/fine-chocolate/products/#books-and-gifts
) or even the relevant sections of McGee on Food & Cooking (http://www.amazon.co.uk/McGee-Food-Cooking-Encyclopedia-Kitchen/dp/0340831499
) or Larousse Gastronomique (http://www.amazon.co.uk/New-Larousse-Gastronomique-Hamlyn/dp/0600620425
) will, of course be familiar with the process of chocolate making, and how it's turned from a large berry, maybe slightly bigger than a mango into the recognisable product we know and love.
I've had the privilege of working with some of this raw material, at different stages and experiencing the varied tastes, smells, textures and processes involved.
I've handled the raw berry and tasted the pulp that surrounds the seeds inside (tastes like mango crossed with lychee), seen the seeds drying (for most of the cacao we've seen here it seems that they skip the fermentation step), ground the roasted dried beans to a range of coarsenesses and used the resulting 'raw' cacao to make brownies. At this stage the cacao is very bitter, grainy and nutty. Much less than half of the processes that go into chocolate-making have happened by this point but it's still a great material.
Obviously recipes that would use chocolate have to be adjusted for
cacao, I found that a mixture of 70% cacao and 15% extra each of butter and sugar works well. See the graph opposite.
It's not the same, but it is good. The flavour is much nuttier, less refined, and more intense than using chocolate, and the texture is similarly nutty.
Just thought you'd like to know. That is all.
There are more photos below