Chocolate is an inspiration for cosmetics. Its colour, texture and smell are used to create products to stimulate the senses and soften the skin - without increasing waist size! Chocolate contains phenylethylamine, a chemical our brain manufactures when we are happy or in love. Its distinctive flavour and fragrance have led to the creation of many of our most delicious products.
The cacao tree (Theobroma cacao or food of the gods) is native to tropical America and can grow up to about 30-feet tall. The fruits produced are ripe, dark reddish-brown pods, which yield 20-50 seeds, which are known as cocoa beans.
Chocolate is made by fermenting these seeds to remove their bitter taste. They are then cleaned, sorted, roasted and cracked to remove their hard shells, resulting in cocoa nibs. These cocoa nibs are ground into a thick, oily paste called chocolate liquor, which is then blended to the desired consistency of the chocolate manufacturer.
The fat removed from the chocolate liquor is called cocoa butter. With the fat separated, the remaining liquor becomes cocoa powder, which can be mixed with other ingredients to make confections and drinks.