TAZA chocolate Factory Tour: Grinding the Cocoa Nibs

Sooz TVThe final installment of my TAZA chocolate tour of their Somerville factory is here! In this video, co-founder Alex Whitmore describes how cocoa nibs are ground. During the grinding process, the cocoa transforms from a solid to liquid because the nibs are oily with 50-55% cocoa butter.

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Part 1: How The Roaster Works.

Part 2: How The Cocoa Winnowing Machine Works

Part 3: Grinding the Cocoa Nibs

TAZA chocolate Factory Tour: How The Cocoa Winnowing Machine Works

Sooz TV
Here’s my second of two videos of TAZA chocolate’s tour of their chocolate factory in Somerville. In this video, TAZA co-founder Alex Whitmore describes how the cocoa nib winnowing machine works. This is the process of removing the shell off of the cocoa bean. They donate the shells to Groundworks Somerville, a community gardening organization.

This video was shot in a room with a lot of people in it and no tripod. Always better to get someone in their natural element than a staged tour — but you’ll also notice a little extra noise at times and the camera moving to avoid a person walking by.

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Part 1: How The Roaster Works.

Part 2: How The Cocoa Winnowing Machine Works

Part 3: Grinding the Cocoa Nibs

The Secret To Making Really Good Chocolate Truffles

Chocolate Truffles

Like most recipes, chocolate truffles are not that difficult to make if you can follow directions and have some time. I use a simple recipe of dark chocolate, cream and cocoa powder on epicurious.com by chocolatier Robert Linxe. I started making chocolate truffles a couple years ago on a whim. I thought they’d make tasty winter holiday gifts: and I was right! (I registered geniustruffles.com in 2007 and one of these days I might actually do something with it. Until then …)

If there is one “secret” to really good chocolate truffles, it’s the chocolate itself.

Dark chocolate, never milk chocolate!

I always use dark chocolate: never (ever) milk chocolate. Cardullo’s in Harvard Square is my favorite spot to buy chocolate. If you prefer organic chocolate, Harvest Co-Op in Central Square (Cambridge) has an impressive selection. That’s where I picked up the chocolate for the truffles I made at the #pinkslipparty at Betahouse Friday night.

Use a variety of chocolate percentages: 55%-70%

Each batch of truffle ganache I make uses three to four different types of chocolate: from 55%-70%. The percentage refers to the percentage of cocoa mass (chocolate liquor), the essence of chocolate, that’s in the chocolate bar itself. Milk chocolate has a low percentage. It’s barely “real” chocolate. I found out two years ago I have diabetes so milk chocolate is definitely not something I can eat anyway. And white chocolate? Not a good choice for truffles either. White chocolate doesn’t have any cocoa solids and therefore, doesn’t have a cocoa classification (percentage). When I think of white chocolate it makes me think it would probably be about as tasty as eating lotion. Dark chocolate has a much lower sugar content (lower carbs) than milk chocolate or white chocolate so cooking with it can still be part of healthy eating.

Combine several different brands of chocolate bars

Some of my favorite brands to use for chocolate truffles include Vosges (a piece of their Calindia chocolate bar with dried plums, cardamom and walnuts is a good match with a cup of chocolate tea from Tealuxe), Dolfin, Côte d’Or and Valrhona. Somerville chocolate maker Taza’s 70% dark stone ground chocolate bar adds a little texture to the truffles. I’ve been experimenting with how much of their chocolate to include and it seems like about one ounce is a good amount.

So that’s the secret to really good chocolate truffles: buy dark chocolate and mix up a few varieties!

Sooz TV: Tour of TAZA chocolate in Somerville — How The Roaster Works

Sooz TV

TAZA chocolate gave tours of their facility in Somerville on December 6th. I’ve tried to use their chocolate for my truffles and they never turned out all that great. Next time I’ll probably use a little less of their choco just to give the truffles a different consistency without overdoing it. I definitely have a better appreciation for their “stone ground bean to bar” chocolate after co-founder Alex Whitmore gave a tour of how they make their chocolate modeled after a traditional Mexican chocolate making process.

In this video, Alex explains how the cocoa beans are roasted.

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Part 1: How The Roaster Works.

Part 2: How The Cocoa Winnowing Machine Works

Part 3: Grinding the Cocoa Nibs