(NaturalNews) Chocolate is made not, strictly speaking, from the seeds of the cacao tree but from the entire seed pod. To make chocolate, the pods are broken open and the mix of seeds and mucilaginous pulp within is left in the sun for several days to ferment.
Wild yeast partially digests the cell walls of the beans and causes them to heat up, killing the embryo and guaranteeing that the beans will not sprout. Even more importantly, the fermentation step produces the characteristic chocolate flavor of the final product!
After fermentation, the beans are stripped of pulp and must then be dried as quickly as possible to prevent the growth of mold. When possible, this is done by spreading the beans out in the sun for 5-7 days, but ovens or other industrial drying methods may be used if necessary.
After drying, the beans are sorted, inspected and shipped to chocolate makers. The chocolate makers will roast the beans for between 30 minutes and two hours, which heightens the chocolaty flavor and causes the hulls to break away from the nibs.
The nibs are then ground into chocolate liquor, the raw material for all chocolate products.