How we make our chocolate
Each bar starts its journey with us as a 60-kilo sack of raw cacao that comes to us by way of truck. Before our fine beans reach our doorstep, they are harvested, fermented, and sun-dried on-farm in South America.
How is this different from other chocolates?
We start with an extremely high quality raw cacao, where we know the story behind it. Many other chocolate bars start as commodity cacao powder and have added sweeteners and fillers. The problem? Origin, quality, and supply chain are largely unknown. Vicuña bars receive painstaking attention to detail in-house and we only add one ingredient: pure cane sugar.
SOrting & Roasting
We hand-sort through each and every cacao bean that comes into our facility. When sorting, we're looking for beans that are shriveled or have excess dried cacao fruit. Any beans that are less than perfect are discarded. Next, we roast our cacao in a convection oven. Each origin of cacao demands its own roast profile, bringing out the unique and exciting flavors that cacao has to offer.
Cracking & Winnowing
Once roasted, it's time to separate the husks. We use a home-made machine (plus a lot of hand-sorting!) to crack the roasted cacao beans and remove the husk from the inside of the bean. We use the husks to brew a unique cacao tea, and of course, the nibs advance to grinding, one step closer to a finished bar!
Each 65-lb batch of chocolate is ground to creamy perfection over the course of roughly 70 hours. Our electric-powered stone grinder transforms cacao nibs into beautiful chocolate like magic.
Tempering & molding
After our chocolate is ground, it is ready to move to the tempering machine. Tempering chocolate is a process of heating and cooling that gives our chocolate a superior fit and finish, including shininess, uniform texture, and a clean, crisp "snap" when breaking into a bar. Our tempering machine deposits chocolate into molds by way of a pedal-controlled spout. Excess is scraped back into the machine and the molds cool for about 30 minutes. It is important that humidity is kept to 30% or below through tempering, molding, and cooling, as moisture may condense on our bars and create a light colored film referred to as bloom.
Once cooled, each bar is hand-foiled and hand-wrapped. The final product is a beautifully packaged, delicious bar with every mark of true craftsmanship.