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pure, semi-solid cocoa mass
a sweetener with fewer calories than sugar and an almost-zero glycemic index
solid butter extracted from cocoa beans
The Origin of Perfect Fit Chocolate
First, some background on me, and why I decided to make my own chocolate.
I went on the keto diet two years ago, but not for the usual health and weight loss reasons. I really just wanted to stop falling asleep at work in the afternoon after eating chocolate all morning and having a sugar crash.
See, I had recently transitioned from a fairly active job to one that was sedentary, and I just couldn’t stay awake — so I went on the keto diet and gave up carbohydrates.
It was actually pretty easy, except for giving up chocolate. I tried the sugar alcohol and stevia chocolates. I tried the chocolates with artificial sweeteners. I hated them all.
Around the same time, I found a book in the library called “Bean to Bar Chocolate” by Megan Giller. I read it and discovered that chocolate isn’t actually all that hard to make! A few Amazon orders later, I was making it myself. At first I tried making it with sugar, but I wouldn’t eat it. Then I started experimenting with artificial sweeteners, and the results were horrible.
Imagine throwing away pounds of chocolate!
I thought about giving up until I found a chocolate ingredient supplier who sold allulose. Allulose is a naturally-occurring sugar that people can’t metabolize. So it’s sweet, but your body just gets rid of it. I started making chocolate with it, and the results were wonderful. I’d finally found the chocolate I wanted. I started making chocolate with different beans from all around the globe, from the Ivory Coast to the Dominican Republic. I soon had so much chocolate that I was giving it away. To my surprise, people were telling me that it was good enough that they would pay for it.
So, Perfect Fit Chocolate was born!
My first bar is called Socolata. It’s a 65% cacao dark chocolate made in my home in Raleigh, NC. It contains cocoa liquor (also called cocoa mass), allulose, and cocoa butter. It tastes a little stronger than a 65% dark chocolate made with regular sugar, because allulose isn’t quite as sweet as regular sugar. I sincerely hope you enjoy it.
Is Socolata just for people on special diets?
One of the great things about Socolata is that it simply tastes like great chocolate. When you taste it, what you’re getting are the flavors of the cocoa bean: hints of spices, floral notes, and a wonderful earthiness. You can eat this chocolate just because you love the taste. And you’ll keep coming back for more.
How it's made
Well, first you start with love and passion. Those don’t show up on the ingredients label, but they are there.
The first step is to buy raw cocoa beans.
They don’t look like anything special, mostly like weird almonds. I experimented by ordering beans from all over the world and found that the different locations, based on climate and elevation, resulted in amazing differences in flavors.
Roast the beans.
Cocoa beans come from cocoa pods which grow on trees typically found in hot, rainy tropical areas. During the harvest, the pods are opened up, releasing the beans. Then, they’re roasted to create that delicious chocolatey flavor. Roasting the beans is a wonderful experience. Each time, my whole house smells like brownies.
Then the beans are cracked and winnowed.
As the beans are cracked, even more chocolate aroma is released. The cracked beans are passed through a winnower that uses air to separate the bean from the husk. That also blows even more chocolate aroma around the house (making chocolate is an constant treat to the senses, especially the nose). Then you take the cracked beans, the allulose, and some additional cocoa butter and process (conch) it in a melanger to make molten chocolate.
Next comes processing.
After the beans are cracked and winnowed, they are crushed with a melanger that typically has granite wheels and a granite base. Everything that is passed between the wheels and base gets crushed. Then, the crushed chocolate is conched, so that the cocoa butter is distributed evenly within the chocolate. This process also makes the chocolate smooth.The friction from the conching heats the molten chocolate to 140F. After 18 hours, the chocolate is finished conching.
Then, in a process called tempering, the chocolate is cooled to 93F, seeded with a special form of cocoa butter that contains only the type of crystals I want in the final chocolate, and then poured into molds.Then into the fridge for at least 30 minutes to jump start the crystallization process.
Did you know that chocolate is firm and cracks when you bite it because the cocoa butter has crystallized?
Finally, taste testing!
The last part of making the chocolate is the most important: taste testing. You invite people to enjoy and share in the wonderful delight that is chocolate. At this step, it’s easy to see why the cocoa bean’s genus is named Theobroma.
Literally translated: Food of the Gods!