From the Farm to the Bean to the Bar
Chocolate is our most used and prized ingredient in our Miann stores and we are super proud to be able to take the next step in the Miann Journey and make our very own. Its been a crazy journey to getting here, new discoveries, lots of lessons learnt, some the hard way. Chocolate is an amazing product. With nuances like wine, Terroir, climate and fermentation and a whole lot of love give us beans that are so unique, some with notes of raspberry, some slap you in the face citrus. some more roasty black tea flavours and many many more.
The New Zealand craft chocolate scene is booming with makers popping up all over, its safe to say New Zealand has never had it soo good for chocolate and is only getting better. We are proud to be a part of this movement.
This is how our chocolate is made in small batches in our Morningside Miann Chocolate Factory
It all starts with the cacao trees. Generally growing twenty degrees north and south of the equator, these trees bear a fruit — cacao pods:
The farmers will cut open the pods and remove the beans, which are surrounded by a white fruity pulp.
Fermentation is the next step to the more intense flavor development that begins once the beans have been roasted. This step requires much skill on the farmer’s part.
To stop fermentation, the beans are dried in the sun, in some cases like out Papua New Guinea beans they are dried over smouldering coconut husks. From here they are bagged up and sent on their way. We use some traders whom source the best beans from farms working ethically. Others we source from direct trade through relationships we have built up.
After the beans have made there way to Auckland,NZ we test batches to find our sweet spot, the chocolate that we love, everyone is different so expect to find flavours we dont when tasting our bars.
The first step in our production line is hand sorting the Cacao beans. We hand pick to remove any imperfections, stones, and any other random items that have made there way into our cacao bean sacks. We have even found some toys.
After sorting, we roast up our beans, We have different roast temperatures and times for each bean. Looking for that Chocolate Brownie smell emanating from the oven is a good point to start checking if your beans are ready. This is an important step in locking in flavours that make our bars so unique
For our Dark Chocolates we only use two ingredients: cacao and Organic Cane sugar. We like to keep our dark chocolate bars at 70% cacao so if you sample a few bars you can really taste the difference in the origins, from different farms in different countries. With our milk chocolate we add either coconut or organic milk powder and cocoa butter to get that milk chocolate flavour so many love.
Next up is winnowing, a process that removes the shell and leaves us with the Cacao Nibs. Our machine from Cocoa Town in America, with the help of a vacuum cleaner helps us through this step, if your ever in the store and it sounds like we vacuuming you now know what we are up to.
After the winnowing we pre grind the Nibs in our Thermomix to speed up the grinding process. Then its into our Cocoa Town Melangeur, with the large stone wheels which grind the nibs down into a liquid. The smell in the store at the early stages of grinding can be quite intoxicating in a good way. Morningside often smells like chocolate!!, We then add the sugar and its another 2 days grinding in the machine to achieve our perfect texture, During the later stages of grinding the wheels are eased off to conch allowing flavours to develop and some of the funkier flavours to evaporate leaving us with our signature bars.
We then empty the machines and set our chocolate in large blocks, ready to be aged before being either sent to our stores or Temperered and made into Bars, Dragees and much more.
For our Chocolate bars we hand wrap every bar individually in gold foil and then into there paper wrapping which has been designed by Stacy Hammond in the UK. Then hand written labels are applied the process is Complete