Wendy Alford spoke to the Rotary club about the Tocumwal Chocolate School.
Moved to Tocumwal from Melbourne, whilst building home, rented in Numurkah, just prior to COVID.
Established Tocumwal Chocolate School where participants explore and discuss the types of chocolate and the origins of the beans, temper chocolate and mould chocolate and explore simple decoration techniques.
The classes lasting 5 hours with lunch included, are attracting interest from tourists.
Cocoa beans are grown in Central and South America, Philippines, West Indies and West Africa.
The egg shaped cocoa pods, measuring between 15 and 30 centimeters, each contain 30 to 40 beans about 1 cm in length. Once cut from the tree, left to ripen before opening. The beans are heaped onto the ground and fermented, which can take 2 to 9 days. Before being shipped the beans are dried then placed in sacks. The beans are then cleaned by sieving, dedusted, destoned then roasted.
The beans are then crushed to release the kernels, which are ground, resulting in a mixture, this is then treated using different processing techniques producing a pure cocoa powder.
To make milk chocolate, milk powder is added, while white chocolate consists of only cocoa butter and sugar. The mixture is passed through a press to produce a smooth and creamy texture.