How is chocolate made?
How we make chocolate
At Mars Chocolate Australia, we are passionate about chocolate, and we know you are too. That is why we are constantly working to make our chocolate better.
To ensure freshness, we make all our bars and FUN-SIZE® treats, and most of our other delicious chocolate treats at our plant in Ballarat. Every year we use thousands of tonnes of chocolate. That is enough to fill more than four Olympic-size swimming pools!
The only way to make good chocolate is to start with good ingredients. All of the ingredients we use must meet precise specifications of quality and safety, and we do this by working closely with all our suppliers. It also means that we focus on the cocoa we use to make our chocolate and the farmers who grow the cocoa.
The main ingredients of chocolate are cocoa, milk powder and sugar. Some basic steps are needed to combine and transform these ingredients into chocolate. The key steps we use for making our chocolate are: milling the solid ingredients, conching (mixing) the milled ingredients with liquid ingredients, and finally tempering the chocolate to give it gloss and snap.
First we combine our cocoa, sugar and milk powder and pass it through a mill. We mill the solid ingredients until they are microscopic, which ensures the chocolate has absolutely no grittiness.
We then take the milled ingredients and mix them with the liquids. The main liquid we use is cocoa butter – the natural oil extracted from cocoa beans. Adding cocoa butter to the chocolate helps the chocolate flow and gives it a smoother, melt-in-the mouth texture. We use a huge mixer called a conche to combine the ingredients with the cocoa butter. Conching takes several hours and turns the chocolate from a thick paste into a smooth creamy liquid. To help make the chocolate even smoother, we also add a tiny amount of lecithin, an ingredient found in lots of oilseeds. Finally we add a hint of vanilla to accentuate the sweet and creamy flavours of the milk chocolate.
Before we use our chocolate, we temper it. Good tempered chocolate has a ‘snap’ and melts in the mouth at body temperature. Chocolate with bad ‘temper’ is grainy, can appear white or mottled and is not as nice to eat.
Finally, the chocolate goes on to our many products. One of the most common ways we use our chocolate is to enrobe bars – the centres pass through a small chocolate waterfall that smothers them.
From start to finish, we work hard to ensure that our chocolate treats can create a smile.
Lecithin is a clever natural compound that helps oil and non-oil ingredients mix. In chocolate making, it helps the cocoa butter mix with the sugar and milk powder!