Making chocolate at El Pital, Ometepe
If your journey passes the magical island Ometepe in Nicaragua, don't forget to visit our friends at El Pital. A raw chocolate paradise that has been a great inspiration, they make fantastic chocolates with one of worlds best quality cacao. If you're interested in making your own healthy chocolate, you can learn a tasty lot here, their workshops will teach you the full process.
Make your own chocolate with cacao paste
There are infinite combinations for chocolate recipes, but cacao remains its most important ingredient. Without cacao it wouldn't be chocolate. You can easily make all the crazy experiments you dreamed of.
Work in a clean place and avoid water getting into your chocolate!
1. Prepare your chocolate mixture.
- Melt cacao paste au-bain-marie. 50 °C is enough to melt all the fats in cacao smoothly.
- Add ingredients like coconut oil, cacao butter, honey or cane sugar and mix well.
- Experiment with adding different ingredients from nutmeg to vanilla.
2. Finish your chocolate creation in a mold.
- Use clean and dry molds. You can be inventive using ice cube molds or other forms.
- Add filling, herbs, dried fruits or toasted nuts to finish your creation and put in fridge to cool down.
Temper your chocolate mixture for a stronger structure.
The fats in cacao can form different types of crystals that decides the structure of chocolate. The stronger crystals create a stronger texture. Because the crystals have different melting temperatures, through a process of tempering a strong crystallization forms. We used the following process:
- Warm the chocolate mixture to 50 °C so everything is dissolved and mixed well.
- Cool down the mixture to 28 °C while stirring. You can put the bowl in ice water to cool down. The mixture starts to clump.
- When cooled down, keep stirring well and reheat the mixture to 31 °C. The weaker crystals melt again so the strong crystals remain.
From here use the tempered chocolate mixture to create your chocolates. If you let the mixture become too warm you need to redo the tempering process.
If you use honey or other products that cannot form the crystallized structure you might need to refrigerate the chocolate to keep shape.