Factory Tour Continued
The melangéur has granite runners which revolve on a steel
or stone bed to mash the nibs into a thick paste. Sugar and vanilla
are added during this process.
The "chocolate liquor" from the melanguer is transferred to the "conche-refiner"
for further processing. Heat is introduced and this process takes
several hours (some chocolate makers will conche for up to 72 hours).
Conching ensures that the liquid is evenly blended.
Following conching, the liquid chocolate is tempered for several hours.
The tempering process involves heating the chocolate liquor and then
cooling it in several stages. This process stabilizes the cocoa butter
crystals so that they become more uniform in size. It also gives the
chocolate a bright luster and a sharp snap when you break it.