By Devashree Sanghvi, Thecrazyindianfoodie.
Chocolate symbolises as does no other food, luxury, comfort, sensuality, gratification and love said Karl Petzke, the famous haute cuisine photographer.
For me, biting into a piece of chocolate symbolises all things comforting and happy in my life. That feeling of the smooth velvety texture and incredible flavours exploding on your palette is incomparable to anything else.
I’ve recently tried some incredible artisan chocolates from an Indian brand called BeeTee’s Melt Chocolates and I’ve fallen head over heels in love with it. Pure, artisan chocolates handmade with love from scratch, their bean to bar concept truly reflects in the beautiful flavours once you take a bite.
BeeTee’s melt chocolates come in three main variants: BeeTee’s Melt 72% dark chocolate with palm sugar, BeeTee’s Melt 48% milk chocolate and BeeTee’s Melt 54% coconut milk chocolate.
Each of these delicious treats are made with the highest quality raw materials sourced straight from the famous cacao farms of Kerala and Vietnam. What you will taste ultimately, is pure, rich chocolate without any added cocoa powder or preservatives or cocoa solids or artificial sweeteners.
All of their chocolates are gluten-free, soy-free, preservative-free and refined sugar-free.
I also really liked the quirky and colourful packaging that’s perfect for gifting your loved ones. They’re available on Amazon and Flipkart too and they’re very reasonably priced for such good quality, handmade chocolates.
Chocolate Is something that is truly loved by everyone around the world. Whether it’s silky milk chocolate, rich and complex dark chocolate or creamy white chocolate, I’m sure you already have a favourite. Growing up, we all read and fell in love with the magical world of Charlie and the Chocolate factory, imagining ourselves swimming in chocolate rivers on candy beds. Chocolate has been an important part of different world cultures and traditions since time immemorial.
In India, we’ve grown up eating chocolates from big brands made in large processing units and the artisan, handcrafted chocolate industry is still in its nascent stages. It makes me so happy and proud to see brands like BeeTee’s melt chocolates, slowly leaving a big footprint in the Indian artisan chocolate industry.
There is a huge difference between bean to bar chocolate produced by small manufactures in small batches and the mass-produced chocolates we see in stores.
What does bean to bar chocolate mean? Essentially It was a term coined by small chocolate makers who make limited quantities of good quality chocolate to differentiate their products from the everyday brands that are produced in millions. While a bean to bar artisan chocolate maker might make a few hundred bars a month, a chocolate factory or a company might make gazillions.
In a bean to bar company like BeeTee’s Melt Chocolates, the whole process from sourcing the cacao beans to finally making the bar is done by them at the same place.
These high-quality chocolates are made in micro-batches with natural ingredients and are usually preservative-free unlike bigger companies which usually use Pre-made chocolates to make their products with lots of added emulsifiers, refined sugars, vegetable fats, artificial flavours, preservatives and taste enhancers.
Bean to bar chocolate makers often are very selective about where they source their ingredients, sometimes even making single-origin chocolates with rich, complex flavours depending on which region the cacao bean has been sourced from. These beans are then cleaned, fermented, roasted, cracked, winnowed, ground, refined and tempered into chocolate by the same small unit. The bar should represent the origin and flavour of the beans.
These artisan chocolates are made without reducing the percentage of naturally occurring cocoa butter and without adding any unnatural flavouring ingredients, artificial emulsifiers and any vegetable oil or animal-based fat, maintaining the naturally occurring flavours.
These chocolates are the crème de la crème of the chocolate world due to the sheer hard work, love, time and effort that goes into changing a few cacao beans to superior quality chocolate.
People have slowly started understanding the difference and there is a big movement towards supporting local, homegrown chocolate brands that taste so much better than most market favourites. This has also led to a huge boost to the local farmers and economy, prompting many good brands like BeeTee’s Melt chocolates to come up in the industry. This helps in the development of fair-trade practices, encouraging more indigenous production and of course higher consumer knowledge.
Let me take you through the process of how a BeeTee’s Melt Chocolate Bar is made.
It all starts with a cacao bean. Grown in tropical Kerala and Vietnam, BeeTee’s Melt sources the beans from small farms where high-quality cacao beans are grown without any pesticides using best practices. They are handpicked by BeeTee’s chocolate connoisseurs.
The next step, almost as important as sourcing the right beans is fermentation. The flavours you will taste in your final bar largely depend on the fermentation process. Once the Cacao beans are at the unit, they are cracked opened and kept in temperature-controlled boxes on banana leaves to ferment for a few days. Fermentation of the cacao beans is essential for developing the aromas and flavours of the chocolate. Acids and fluids are released in the process giving the chocolate its distinctive flavour.
The next step is drying these fermented beans since they have a lot of moisture. BeeTee’s Melt dries them under the hot sun until they are moisture-free.
Once dried, these beans are hand roasted to perfection in small batches to bring out their maximum flavour by the experts at BeeTee’s Melt Chocolates. Roasting the beans brings out the beautiful chocolaty aromas and rich, intense flavours that we love in our chocolates. During the roasting process, the natural amino acids and natural sugars present in the beans are converted into beautiful flavour compounds. The acidic smell developed during fermentation is replaced by a rich chocolaty aroma.
Roasting the beans also makes cracking and winnowing them easier as the outer shell becomes thin and brittle and it’s easier to extract the cacao nibs.
The roasted beans are cooled and then cracked into nibs where the outer shell is discarded and the nibs are delicately ground for many hours until you get rich and pure chocolate liqueur. This cacao nibs’ paste is as decadent as it sounds. This velvety mixture has both cocoa solids and cocoa butter which is the natural fat from the cocoa beans.
At this stage, palm sugar or coconut milk may be added depending on what variety of BeeTee’s melt chocolate is being made. For example, for making their delicious Vegan coconut milk chocolate, they add coconut milk and natural coconut sugar to enhance the taste. However, no artificial preservatives, milk powder or emulsifiers are used.
An impressive point to be noted is that at BeeTee’s Melt Chocolates, they do not separate the cocoa butter from the chocolate as that’s what makes it melt in your mouth. Excellent quality cocoa beans contain 40-50% cocoa butter and their dark chocolate has 72% cacao goodness (cacao butter + beans).
After this, the chocolate is perfectly tempered to the right consistency by the expert chocolate maker at BeeTee’s Melt. Tempering is a process in which the chocolate’s temperature is carefully lowered and increased until it reaches the correct consistency through the formation of crystals. Without tempering, the chocolate would have a sandy, crumbly texture due to the stage at which the cocoa butter and solids are present in the chocolate post grinding and setting.
To achieve that velvety, indulgent chocolate bar texture, tempering it correctly is essential. It needs time, temperature control and movement manipulation. This will result in that perfect snap and bite once you taste a bar.
This whole process is done by hand by the excellent chocolate makers at BeeTee’s Melt.
Once correctly tempered, the molten chocolate is poured into moulds which are tapped to remove unwanted air bubbles. This too is done by hand at BeeTee’s Melt adding to the flavour and texture of the chocolate as compared to It being done by large machines in big factories.
Once the chocolate is set, there are various quality checks before it’s packed in sustainable, environment-friendly packaging that’s also appealing to the eyes.
The chocolates are then packed and delivered to your doorstep all over the country.
The next time you bite into your chocolate, don’t forget to read the list of ingredients and the amount of sugar added on the back of your packet. You’ll be shocked and surprised to see how many artificial sugars and preservatives and unpronounceable ingredients mass-produced chocolates contain.
At BeeTee’s melt, they believe that if you can’t pronounce the ingredient, don’t put it Into your body.
Switch to a bean to bar chocolate, switch to a soy-free, gluten-free, preservative-free, pure and delicious chocolate made meticulously with love and a lot of effort at BeeTee’s Melt chocolates.