Thursday, April 28, 2011

Blanxart Chocolate -The Details Make The Difference

photo courtesy of Julie Anderson

Chocolate. It lifts your spirits, makes almost any offense forgivable and mimics the feeling of being in love. We're proud to work with Blanxart Chocolate, a small bean-to-bar company in Barcelona that makes their bars the traditional way, using historic machinery that they have used for decades.

Blanxart sources much of their beans from Domaine Monts de la Lune (Mountains of the Moon) Plantation (DML) in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
DML is certified by Fair For Life.
Fair for Life ensures fair and positive relations between producers and their cooperatives or contracting companies, between workers and their employer, between seller and buyers on the world market while at the same time ensuring performance of standards. This attention to detail and strong business ethic permeates everything that Blanxart makes. So, how does Blanxart produce their bars? It's a simple process that is as fun to watch as a chocolate bar is to eat (well, almost).
The first step in the making of chocolate is cleaning and toasting the cocoa beans. The degree of toast bestows the characteristic aroma and flavor of Blanxart chocolate. Toasting eliminates the humidity and the acidity, and also facilitates the chipping process of the cocoa beans.

Once the cacao is toasted, one of Blanxart’s traditional machines crushes the beans to obtain small pieces commonly called nibs.

The nibs are then crushed further to become liquor of cacao. This liquor is a fine paste that is mixed with sugar and cacao butter. The mixer machine is set to the exact proportions based on the kind of chocolate that will be created.

The mix is further processed in the refiner through a process known as conching. The refiner is a machine composed of cylinders that uses pressure to turn the mass in the mixer into a fine smooth liquid chocolate.

This resulting chocolate goes into the shells which are temperature controlled, large containers adapted with whirling arms that move the chocolate for hours until a homogeneous liquid texture is obtained.

When the conching process has finished the chocolate is stored at the right temperature until its use for chocolate bars.

The next time you're in Barcelona, be sure to check out the Blanxart flagship store where you can learn more about Blanxart artisan chocolates. Better yet, pick up a bar here in the states and enjoy the finest in Spanish traditional chocolate.