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Revealing The Magic of Chocolate - Part IV: The Alchemy

Making chocolate is a sort of alchemy. It's a very fickle medium to work with and people spend their entire lives experimenting with it, always discovering new things... The modern method of making chocolate revolves around synergy: the synergy between the Cacao and the sweetener. At Loving Earth we make our chocolate by hand-mixing the unique ingredients together and infusing them with our own heart energy and powerful ancient superfoods. This is where the magic really happens... 


Crafting The Magic

When Scott came back from Mexico, he'd been working with various indigenous groups: our raw cacao producers in Satipo, the agave syrup folks in Ixmiquilpan and our vanilla bean producing freinds, the Totonacans of Papantla. He started with importing and commercialising the raw materials before he hit on a brainwave: what if we made chocolate? He called a few people, did some research and spoke to the experts, trying to find out if chocolate could be made using agave syrup. They all said no - “you can't make chocolate with a liquid sweetener; it's just not possible”.

We went on to prove that this isn't strictly the case, though it is true that you can't make chocolate the way people normally make chocolate. This is because of the moisture content in the liquid sweetener: it gums up the machines...which is why our raw agave chocoilate is 100% handmade: it's all blended, stirred and poured by hand. It's quite different to normal's not tempered, so it's not as stable and melts at lower temperatures. At the time we hadn't heard of other people doing this, and it was all learned through trial and error...but it's not rocket science! In fact, it's quite a simple process and through doing it commercially there's things we've discovered that have allowed us to create a certain quality.

Our new raw coconut sugar chocolate, on the other hand, is tempered. We put the nibs and the coconut sugar into a grinder, which we chill with a special water jacket to maintain low temperatures. We then temper it, which means stabilising the structure of the chocolate. At 42 degrees, the crystalline structure in cacao fat disappears. If you take that 42 degrees, bring it down to 28 degrees and finally warm it back up to 33 degrees, you end up with a crystal structure which is very stable, giving our chocolate a gorgeous sheen and a clean, satisfying snap.

The Heart Connection

One of the things we discovered when first making chocolate was something we call “the heart connection”. There's this special moment, especially when you're making chocolate by hand, when you blend the powder with the butter. These two elements of the Cacao bean have previously been separated through the pressing of the nibs, and now we bring them back together. Each time, at that exact moment, we started to notice a feeling develop...this amazing heart connection. The magical alchemy that comes into your heart.

We've taught a lot of people how to make chocolate and everyone has the same experience of this heart connection. In a lot of traditions, the emotional state and thoughts of a person are understood to go into the food they make. We feel this is genuine; a lot of people comment on our products and how amazing they are, and that's a big part of it - the vibration that we infuse into our food. The people that are making it...there's a lot of love, there's a lot of joy there, and that goes into the food - even more so with chocolate. As we discussed in Part II, chocolate is a very powerful transmitter. We feel that it transmits feeling in a similar way to how it transmits nutrients; it could be understood as something similar to when you're spending a day in town and someone smiles at you or holds a door open for you...this affects you, it lifts your mood. But if someone scowls or pushes past you, it puts you in a bad mood. Just like with Dr. Emoto's research and the manner in which he's physically shown how positive feelings affect the crystalline structure of water, cacao absorbs those vibrations. This is a subject we'll get back to later on in the Food Is Sacred series: if you really connect your heart positively with your food, that food's going to be charged with those vibrations...and the people who eat that food will experience it too.


The Alchemical Synergy

As we mentioned earlier, the essence of making chocolate is in the synergy between the Cacao and the sweetener. What we've done is move away from traditional sweeteners that people are having issues with, such as cane sugar, because there's just so much of it in foods nowadays that people have trouble processing it. Our two ranges of chocolate use either raw agave syrup or coconut nectar, which comes from the evaporated nectar of the coconut tree. Commercially, we've been one of the first companies to use these two sweeteners in chocolate. Most of the sugar-free chocolates on the market today use a sweetener called Maltitol, which is a highly processed carbohydrate product that comes from wheat, corn and potatoes. Maltitol syrup has a GI rating of 52, as opposed to Coconut Sugar at 35 and Agave at less than 30. It just doesn't have a suitable flavour synergy, leaving an odd aftertaste in your mouth.

Synergy, synergy, synergy: the synergy of the sweetener and the raw cacao is critical. Our dark agave syrup has these gorgeous, deep round flavour notes and vanilla tones, which marries beautifully with the raw cacao to create its unique synergy. On the other hand, using coconut sugar for our chocolate gives it a character of broad toffee notes. This is the basis of all our chocolate.

Once we've got our base-synergy of raw cacao and sweetener, we then begin to add inclusions, creating functional flavours using traditional superfoods. This means that they don't just taste good - they're also extremely good for you. Nothing in our chocolate is superfluous: there's no emulsifiers, no soy lecithin, no cane sugar...just pure nourishing goodness: wholefoods.

So then, that concludes our chocolate series! We hope it's been informative and that you've found out a thing or two which you didn't previously know. It's a fascinating topic and one which we're constantly learning more assured that this isn't the last you'll hear from us on the subject! See you next week, when we'll be introducing a genuinely Australian superfood: Gubinge! 

If you'd like to find out more about the social history and nutritional profile of chocolate, here's some reading recommended by the Loving Earth Team:

 Naked Chocolate - David Wolfe and Shazzie [the benefits of raw chocolate]

The Chocolate Wars – Deborah Cadbury [the birth of modern chocolate]

The True History of Chocolate – Sophie D. Coe & Michael D. Coe [the social and historical aspects of chocolate]

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