At last, the chocolate is poured into molds of all shapes and sizes, from bite-size minis to 10-pound blocks used by confectioners.
The liquid chocolate also may be used to “enrobe” or coat candies with centers of caramel, cream, nougat or nuts. To do so, centers are placed on a wire conveyor belt and passed under a thin waterfall of warm chocolate.
The cooling process is taken seriously because it can affect the chocolate’s final flavor, and molded or enrobed chocolates to go a climate-controlled cooling chamber.
The cool bars are then popped from the molds and passed to a machine that wraps them with precision. They then roll down the production line to join a waiting case. Workers ship the cases to distributors, confectioners and retail stores throughout the country.
What about food manufacturers, who may make ice cream or cakes or frostings with syrup? Those can be shipped as liquid chocolate. Manufacturers may also take it in the form of coatings, powders and flavorings that infuse their treats with America’s most popular flavor.
The average size of a cocoa farm in West Africa is seven to 10 acres.