"Chocolate is wonderful: mild, sensual, deep, dark, sumptuous, satisfying, potent, massive, creamy, seductive, stimulating, gorgeous, excessive, silky, smooth,
luxurious, celestial. Chocolate is ruin, happiness, pleasure, ecstasy, imagination ...
it allows us to sin, makes us healthy, happy and elegant."
CLASSIFICATION: (A sample cutting)
(Classificação: 'A prova de corte')
Wherever cocoa is sold, it must also be evaluated. This is done by means of classification. Analysis is done with reference to sample cuttings, moisture-content and taste. For the sample cuttting a classifier cuts 300 cocoa beans lengthwise and places the halves into the hollows of the classification board. With the help of this method the classifier can detect defects such as mould growth, insect damage, sprouted or flattened beans and he can divide the beans into corresponding grades.
Classification of cocoa beans
('Produção de chocolate')
João Pedro works at the chocolate factory of the Cocoa Research Centre CEPLAC (Comissão Executiva para o Planejamento da Lavoura Cacaueira). This center was established in 1957 with an aim to promoting the competitiveness and sustainability of cocoa cultivation in Brazil. One of its centers is located between the cities of Ilhéus and Itabúna.
The CEPLAC chocolate factory does not manufacture industrially produced chocolate, but crude chocolate. Their aim is to test the quality of the cocoa which later determines the taste of the chocolate. First, João Pedro cleans the beans in a sieve to remove the last impurities prior to roasting.
Cleaning cocoa beans ('limpeza das amêndoas de cacau')
Roasting cocoa beans ('torrefação de amêndoas de cacau')
The roasting process releases up to 400 flavors. There is a wonderfully warm chocolaty aroma in the air and you feel you want to stay there forever. The roasting process gives the beans their final chocolate-brown colour. The water content of the beans now drops to until 2-3%. The roasting temperature in these small machines lies between 100 and 140 degrees Celsius and the roasting time is between 20 and 30 minutes.
Roasted cocoa beans ('amêndoas de cacau torradas')
Peeling of the cacao beans ('descascamento de amêndoas de cacau')
João Pedro then brings the roasted cocoa beans to the peeling machine. Due to the very fragile internal structure of the cocoa beans they break easily during the peeling process. The machine sieves the cocoa fragments at 5 levels and and sucks up the lighter waste with a carefully monitored flow of air.
This produces the so-called Cocoa nibs: roasted, peeled and broken cocoa beans that form the basis of every kind of chocolate.
Warm, liquid chocolate
The cocoa nibs are then ground and heated. Due to their high fat content, they turn to liquid and the resulting warm mixture is stirred for hours. In this non-commercial process, the fat - the cocoa butter - is not separated by high pressure from the cocoa, as is customary in the commercial production of chocolate. João Pedro then stirrs sugar and vanilla or other tasty ingredients into this cocoa mass.
Production of chocolate
Production of chocolate
Cooling the chocolate
João Pedro then cools this liquid cocoa mass down from 42° to 28° Celsius and pours it into a mould. 28° is the melting point of chocolate, which is why it melts so nicely and slowly on the tongue. The chocolate is then cooled down to 6 degrees for a very short time, before it is packaged. This is what makes the chocolate so deliciously crispy.
Packing the chocolate
Cocoa contains phenylethylamine; this substance is produced by the brain when we are happy or in love, theobromine; an alkaloid containing caffeine and catechins; natural antioxidants.
The main ingredients of high-quality chocolate are cocoa (min. 60%), sugar and pure cocoa butter - the latter is responsible for the delicate glaze. In the commercial production process, the cocoa butter is removed first, then a part of it is added again at the end.
Warm, liquid chocolate is poured from a plastic bowl back into the mixing drum (backlit).
PEOPLE OF THE FARM, II
('Pessoas da fazenda, II')
Carlos Roberto, foreman
One of the 'tropeiros' of the farm
Dona Elaine, housekeeper
Gymnastics hour ('aula de ginástica') in the farm school
Role reversal: geography lesson with the 'German' ('o alemão')
The teacher took advantage of the (geography) lesson and let me do a little unit: Germany, Europe, flying by plane, does cocoa grow in Europe? Why not? And coffee? Why not? etc. I'm not sure how much the kids understood but I'm sure they were impressed - as I was. Then the teacher took my camera and photographed our little "lesson".
A farm worker's daughter