The next stage depends on what sort of chocolate it is destined to become. ‘Fast’ chocolate will be made quickly (in around 12 hours) – often the cocoa butter will be removed and replaced with other fats, as well as other artificial additives. ‘Slow’ chocolate will now be milled through a series of heavy metal rollers, and then further refined in conches, which pummel it between granite rollers at a temperature of 50–80°C for up to a week. The conch, named after the shell, was invented by Rodolfe Lindt in 1880. The longer chocolate is conched or refined, the smaller the particle size in the mouth. The finest chocolate will have particles measuring around 18-20 microns, so small as to be indiscernible to the palate. Also, the more slowly the chocolate is refined, the more acetic acid will evaporate and the mellower the chocolate will become.
© 2003 Chantal Coady. All rights reserved.