After the grinding process is complete, our tour moves on to the Cold Room.
In the Cold Room, the chocolate is tempered, molded, and packaged. Tempering is a process of heating and cooling the chocolate to precise temperatures, making sure the chocolate is smooth, shiny, snaps cleanly, and melts easily in your mouth. Chocolate must be correctly tempered or it will not come out of the molds when it’s cool.
You may have encountered untempered chocolate in that candy bar you once found in your glove compartment after it had melted and cooled several times. It was probably powdery white and the chocolate flaked away instead of snapping. That chocolate was not spoiled, but it was out of temper.
Our two tempering machines, directly in front of the window, melt, stir, and cool the chocolate in just the right manner so that it remains in temper as the cocoa butter cools and solidifies. From these machines, liquified chocolate is poured into molds for Black Mountain Chocolate’s chocolate bars, cubes, and drinking chocolate. This molten chocolate is also transferred to our enrobing machine weekly for coating our handmade truffles in our Signature Dark Chocolate.
We call this room the Cold Room for a reason! It has a special air conditioning unit to keep the air cool and dry. Because chocolate has properties that allow it to melt at temperatures similar to that of your body (why chocolate melts in your mouth), maintaining a consistent temperature and humidity is crucial. When chocolate gets too hot, too cold, or the ratio of cocoa to sugar is out of balance, chocolate loses its shine, and can have discoloration, called ‘blooms’. As you can tell, chocolate is pretty finicky in the way it likes to be treated!
Our friend Ming, the Material Scientist, takes us through the chemistry of tempering chocolate
What does it mean when your chocolate is grey and dusty-looking? Abbey the Food Scientist explains the phenomenon of chocolate bloom…
Now that you know how to make and temper chocolate, here are some easy chocolate pastry art techniques to master from Joon’s Little Table