There are plenty of interesting facts and figures to learn about chocolate! Discover where cocoa beans are harvested, the chocolate production process and get some top tips from a chocolate tasting professional!
Chocolate is enjoyed all around the world! But most of the cocoa beans that chocolate is made from are harvested in just one section of the world!
A whopping 70% of cocoa beans originate from four West African countries. These countries are the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon. The Ivory Coast and Ghana are the two largest producers of cocoa in the world, they produce more than 50% of the cocoa we use!
A lot of cocoa beans begin their life in West Africa, but there’s plenty of adventuring to do before they end up on our shelves! The chocolate production process is long, but good things take time!
There’s more to your bar of chocolate than meets the eye! It takes a long process, with many stages, to transform a humble cocoa bean into a truly tasty chocolate bar.
Producing chocolate begins with harvesting cocoa. The cocoa beans are then shipped to factories where they are cleaned and ground down. Then, the ground cocoa beans are imported or exported to different countries around the world, to be made into a huge variety of chocolate products.
Chocolate is a tasty treat that lots of us enjoy indulging in! This sweet treat is an extra special snack for most of us, but did you know some people actually taste chocolate for their job?! Learn all about unusual flavours, and the best ways to savour chocolate, in our interview with choccy chief, Cherrie Lo!
We met up with Cherrie Lo, a professional chocolate taster! Cherrie’s job is to taste, and experiment with lots of different chocolates before they go on sale. Cherrie also manages chocolate cafes, shops and even chocolate school!
Green Thai Curry & Shrimp Chocolate; Tuna Fish Chocolate; Curry & Raisin Chocolate; Bacon & Cream Chocolate, and even a Milk Chocolate Bonbon filled with fried grasshoppers – I’ve tasted all sorts!
When judging international chocolate awards we taste the most creative flavours from around the world. Each country has its own special native ingredients, local flavours and food culture. Even though it sometimes seems like a strange chocolate flavour to us, we should keep an open mind to understand others’ food culture. We can learn so much from each chocolate tasting and judging session!
Use your 5 senses – Look, Smell, Listen, Feel and Taste.
If you look at an Easter egg (or any other chocolate): Break a chocolate egg and put a small piece in your hand, and let’s start a little tasting journey!
LOOK at the natural shine on the chocolate, a fine chocolate should have a silky sheen.
Bring the chocolate close to your ear and LISTEN to the snap sound when you break it. A crisp snap sound means the chocolate was well tempered and properly stored at the right temperature.
Bring the chocolate to your nose, inhale and SMELL. How would you describe the different aromas? Floral, fruity, spicy?
Put the chocolate in your mouth and FEEL the chocolate on your tongue - is the texture silky or grainy? Does it melt slowly or quickly?
And finally, we will TASTE the chocolate. If it is fruity, is it more like raspberry or cherry? If it’s nutty, can you tell if it’s more like hazelnut or walnut? If it’s chocolate-y, do you think it tastes like a brownie or toffee?
The most important thing is to let yourself discover what you can taste and be able to describe it.
Try closing your eyes to smell and taste different fruits, edible flowers, and spices with help from your parents. The more you practice the better you will become at describing aroma and taste, which is very important for a chocolate taster.
Eating chocolate constantly! I once tasted 197 different types of chocolates in 3 days from 9am to 6pm!
Thanks to Cherrie Lo for sharing her chocolatey wisdom with us!
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Images ⓒ unsplash.com:
Cocoa beans by Etty Fidele
Other Images ⓒCherrie Lo