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How to Make Revolutionary Chocolate (From Bean to Bar)

’57 Chocolate is the pioneer bean-to-bar chocolate company in Ghana, West Africa, founded in 2016

by Priscilla Addison ’09 and Kimberly Addison

TOTAL TIME: Lifetime
SERVES: Ghana, and very soon the world

1

Effort: So much time and effort go into making the smallest piece of chocolate. Since we are a small-scale artisanal chocolate company, all of our delicious products are handmade with love. For the first step of making bean-to-bar chocolate, all of our cocoa beans are sorted by hand.

2

Creativity: Once sorted, the beans are roasted. What we love most about roasting is that it makes our entire production center smell like brownies! While larger companies use an industrial cocoa bean roaster, we use an oven to roast our cocoa beans. Roast temperature and time are unique to each chocolate manufacturer, and they can influence the aroma and taste of chocolate. For example, two chocolate makers can process the same bean and roast them at different temperatures and get two different-tasting chocolates. We have creatively identified a specific time and temperature to roast that is distinctive to our brand.

3

Strength: We crack the roasted cocoa beans open using a manual cocoa crusher. Next, we remove the shell of the cracked cocoa beans. This process is called winnowing. We use a traditional Ghanaian winnowing method, which involves a sieving technique typically used for sorting maize. This takes a lot of strength and endurance. The edible pieces inside the shell are the cocoa “nibs,” which have a unique crunchy and bitter taste. The nibs are poured into a cocoa grinder and crushed to make a thick paste called chocolate liquor.

4

Novelty:We pour the chocolate liquor into a melangeur (chocolate machine), adding other ingredients (cocoa butter, milk powder, sugar) and unique flavors (e.g., hibiscus). Grinding the chocolate in this machine can range from several hours to a few days, depending on the flavor of the chocolate. We want the cocoa to shine, so cocoa is always the main and first ingredient in our products. We do not use any artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. Our milk chocolate contains 55 percent cocoa, while some milk chocolate bars on grocery store shelves can have as little as 10 percent cocoa.

5

Skill & Patience:After the liquid chocolate is created, it needs to be tempered. Tempering involves heating and cooling the chocolate to specific temperatures. We have a love-hate relationship with tempering chocolate. Each flavor of chocolate has its own temperature specifics that need to be met to properly mold it. Even heating to a few degrees higher or lower than required could result in poorly tempered chocolate. Tempering undoubtedly takes skill and patience, particularly when it’s done by hand. Proper tempering will give chocolate a shiny finish.

6

Art & Value: After tempering, we pour the chocolate into decorative molds. We use Ghanaian Adinkra symbols for our chocolates, and each symbol has a unique meaning. We also have local artists design our packaging. We love creating products and packaging that are a reflection and celebration of Ghanaian art and culture. ’57 Chocolate is not just about the chocolate or cocoa products; it’s about adding value to an underutilized resource (the cocoa bean) in Ghana.

’57 Chocolate is the pioneer bean-to-bar chocolate company in Ghana, West Africa, founded in 2016 by Priscilla Addison ’09 (international studies and French & francophone studies) and her sister Kimberly. They take dried cocoa beans and process them into luxurious chocolate and confections. Interested in learning more? You can stay connected with ’57 Chocolate through Facebook/Instagram (@57chocolate) or Twitter (@57chocolategh). Read more about Addison at dson.co/addison09.

Read more from the fall 2018 issue of Dickinson Magazine.

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Published October 19, 2018