You've been invited over to a friend's house because he wants to show you "something really special" that he's been making. With foodie friends, you never know what you might encounter. Is he smoking and curing his own bacon? Making his own duck confit? Some kind of pickle?
When you step inside, there's a distinctive chocolaty smell. Entering the kitchen, you expect to see mixing bowls, maybe some racks of chocolate-chip cookies or a pan of brownies cooling on the counter...but instead, there are some odd-looking appliances you've never seen before. Your friend is holding a baking sheet full of ... coffee beans?
Nope, they're cocoa beans that he just finished roasting in the oven. And then he presents you with a bar of chocolate to taste and proudly proclaims that he made it himself. Is it really possible to make your own chocolate from scratch? Until recently, it wasn't -- it could be tough to find the ingredients as well as the equipment necessary to create a smooth, silky bar of chocolate as good or better than any produced in a factory. Even now, it's a significant investment of both time and money. But you could be that guy. How impressive would it be to give the gift of chocolate not from a grocery store or a chocolate shop but from your own kitchen? Very.
You can learn how to make chocolate, starting from cocoa beans and going all the way to a finished bar or piece of candy. It won't be easy, but few worthwhile things are. We'll delve into choosing the bean, then look at gathering your other ingredients and equipment before the real step-by-step process begins. It'll be a fun ride, full of highs, lows and experimentation -- culminating in your very own chocolate.