Our chocolates are the result of a simple set of values applied into a complex production.
The production of chocolate is inevitably a multistep process. At Friis-Holm we dwell on all these steps and complexities from bean to bar. This allows us to experiment with quality to the maximum. We simply expand the limits as to how far the development of the unique tastes of the beans themselves may take us.
Only sugar is added in our dark chocolates. No soy lecithin, no vanilla – nothing that will intervene in and affect the innate cacao tastes.
This is approach is unusual. The typical industry dodges – to raise volume, keep down costs, or targeting uncritical taste buds – have all been removed from our equation. Instead, our focus is on the uncompromising, no-frills craft. We create sophisticated and new chocolate experiences for the quality-conscious consumer. But at the same time, we push the world of chocolate production in a direction where craftsmanship, transparency and culinary value are the leading criteria.
There are at least as many cacao varieties as there are apple varieties.
When the cacao fruits are harvested, they are cut up and the beans and the pulp surrounding them are taken out.
Then comes one of the most important processes with regard to developing tastiness in the cacao: fermentation.
During fermentation a series of processes take place, that give taste to the cacao, and a number of unwanted acids and alkaloids leave the cacao beans or are transformed.
The sugar in the pulp is transformed to alcohol which penetrates the bean and is transformed to acetic acid. Heat from the processes kills the germ in the bean and a series of enzymatic processes are at work.
There are different fermentation cycles in the beans, the most important being the acetic acid fermentation and the finishing lactic fermentation.
From cacao to chocolate
The fermented and dried cacao beans arrive in sacks at our factory in Hvalsø, about 45 minutes west of Copenhagen. Here, we treat them carefully through specialised processes, that transform the cacao into what you know as chocolate.
After the dried cacao beans have arrived at the factory, roasting is the first step of the process. Roasting serves several purposes.
First of all the development and accentuation of the desired aromas, i.e. the darker the roast, the less acidity and more bitter notes, the lighter the roast, the more acidity and less bitter notes.
After roasting and shelling comes the milling/grinding. Caused by the friction (and thus raising temperature) and the high amount of cocoa butter, the mass soon becomes liquified. Cacao beans typically consist of about 50% cocoa solids and 50% cocoa butter. The cocoa solids are responsible for the colour, practically all of the aroma and the overall taste of the chocolate, whilst the cocoa butter gives the chocolate its texture and consistency.
The cocoa mass is ground until it has the desired fineness. After the milling/grinding, sugar is added and the process continues until sugar and cacao mass is totally dissolved and integrated into liquid chocolate.
Finally, before the chocolate goes in the molds, it needs to be tempered. This provides a controlled crystallization of the cocoa butter in the chocolate.
It is the tempering, that provides the snap when breaking the chocolate and the shiny surface. Without tempering the chocolate would be softer and more malleable and dull in appearance.
The trick is to control the temperature before and during cooling to within a few degrees, to maximize the amount of stable crystals in the chocolate.
As long as there is a sufficient amount of stable crystals, the rest will ‘fall in place’ with them
Just add sugar