Q: Have you wondered why our chocolate tastes a bit fruity?
That's because cacao IS a FRUIT. If you didn’t already know, don't worry, you're not the only one that was surprised. We learned that fact during our chocolate making journey. Cacao fruit are large oval pods that grow on the trunk of a small tropical tree. Inside the fruit are the cacao beans - those beans make chocolate.
And cacao beans are a superfood! They contain a high amount of antioxidant flavonoids which help fight free radicals that cause oxidative stress on your body. Basically, REAL dark chocolate helps our bodies function more efficiently while protecting us from everyday toxins and stressors. Yes, please! But don't take our word for it, studies have demonstrated that “individuals who ate 40 grams of dark chocolate per day for two weeks displayed significantly lower symptoms of stress than individuals who did not eat it”, (International Journal of Health Science, 2014). Now, that science is sweet.
Let’s get into the difference of chocolates, because just like every cacao bean, every chocolate company is different.
Wicked BOLD is a single-origin chocolate company, which means we use beans from just one farm to create our chocolate. Bet you didn't even know that was a big deal, but it is...
The “Big Chocolate” companies, or mass market chocolate is made from several farms. Big Chocolate companies usually buy from the cheapest sources, they don’t spend time selecting their cacao beans; nor do they consider the differences of each bean or wonder “is this one a good bean?” And, why not? They certainly could spend time, or money on this process but Big Chocolate’s cacao beans are alkalized (a chemical process that strips them of their natural flavors), then they add a massive amount of vanilla to redirect your taste buds away from those chemical flavors.
Here’s something shocking – it is currently legal to call a product “chocolate” with ONLY 10% of cacao in the entire batch! That’s absurd, right? Chocolate shouldn’t be crafted by chemicals.
Even words like “gourmet” or “specialty” chocolate can mean that a company may purchase blocks of already-made chocolate from who-knows-where. They melt it down, add their own flavoring, and voila! They can now call that chocolate “gourmet”! Nice try, tricky chocolatiers!
As Wicked BOLD is a single-origin chocolate company; we purchase all our cacao beans from one farm in Belize. We sort each bean. We roast them. We stone grind, temper, mold and package. We own every step of our chocolate-making process. And our attention to each detail is hard work, but in that work is passion for making the best chocolate you can buy.
Here’s how we do it:
SORTING: Classifying cacao keeps us classy
Sorting the cacao beans is an important step in our process because every bean is different. Some beans might not have any cacao nibs inside, (can’t use those), or beans might be cracked (can't use those: cracks are a spot for bacteria to breed), some beans may have become a nice home for insects, (no, thanks), and some beans just couldn't let go of their friends, (which would cause uneven roasting). So we hand-select only the best beans in the bunch.
We categorize the cacao and remove imperfect beans so as to not ruin the taste of our chocolate. Each bean has a distinct flavor that is different to the “perfect” bean. Including the “bad guys” into our chocolate would be, well, bad. The result would be a chocolate taste that would need lots of sugar, vanilla and “flavors” to cover that taste (::ahem::, Big Chocolate companies). And, since we like being on the good side of the chocolate brands, Wicked BOLD is all-natural. We care about what you’re eating.
ROASTED: Time to turn the heat up!
The roasting of cacao beans is the best part of the process because it smells like a chocolate paradise. The air is like breathing in a brownie bliss. It’s also a crucial step as it gives the cacao beans their flavor and brings them to life.
And, that’s all the detail on our roasting profile. The rest is top secret, it’s how Wicked BOLD chocolate tastes wicked bold.
WINNOWING: Break it down now
Winnowing is the process of breaking down the beans into their nibs. We made our own Wicked BOLD winnowing machine, (talk about being a hands-on brand). This allows us to carefully ensure it cracks and separates the bean from the nibs. Fun fact: the roasted bean shells are then used to make cacao tea- WOOHOO for no waste!
After the nibs are separated from the beans we weigh the nibs to the 70% dark that we love so much! Next, we run the stone grinder. This rest of this process is timed perfectly, and also top secret.
TEMPERING: Be cool, but not TOO cool
Tempering is the process of creating crystals in the cacao and sugar to give the bar it’s harder consistency. In the beginning of our chocolate journey, this was the tricky part for us because if the chocolate is not tempered, it melts in your hands, and does not have that “snap” to it.
When the chocolate heats it becomes a liquid, then the temperature needs to be lowered so the crystals can form, but, that’s not all, it needs to be heated again and before adding to the chocolate molds. It’s a delicate process that we have now perfected, and learned the hard way.
PACKAGING: pack it up, pack it in, let us begin
After a proper quality control taste-test of each batch, we start wrapping it up (pun intended). This phase is actually fun – we put on our playlist and prepare packages and smile as we send our little cubes out into the world.
Then the next day, we start it all again.
Hope you enjoy our chocolate as much as we do crafting it! Grab some Wicked BOLD - you will feel less stressed and you’ll be your best knowing you're snacking on the best & BOLDest.