Chocolate is a food product made from the seeds of the tropical cacao tree. The earliest known use of the cacao in food was in a drink around 1000 BCE. Chocolate in the form that we think of didn't happen until much later.
"Cacao" is the bean that comes from the cacao tree, which is known by the scientific name of Theobroma cacao. "Cocoa" is what the bean is called after it has been processed. In the United States, cacao is often referred to simply as cocoa.
Chocolate begins with the cacao bean, which is grown in warm regions of the world such as Brazil and western Africa. After cacao beans have been picked, fermented, dried and shipped, they are taken to the chocolate factory. The cacao beans are then roasted, typically anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. Afterwards, the shells are separated from the insides and go through a process called "milling." Milling turns the remaining insides into a pure chocolate liquid called "chocolate liquor" (although it contains no alcohol). Baking chocolate is simply cooled and hardened chocolate liquor. This chocolate liquor then goes through additional manufacturing steps depending on the particular product being made. Oftentimes it is combined with other products such as cocoa butter, milk, sugar and/or other ingredients.
Yes. We produce our own chocolate in small batches to ensure maximum freshness and quality.
Yes, our chocolate is certified kosher and we are the only kosher candy maker in Milwaukee.
Dark chocolate will last about 5 years due to the antioxidants in it. Milk chocolate, because it contains milk solids, needs to be used within 1 year.
White chocolate is a bit of a contradiction. Technically, in order to be classified as "chocolate" as per federal standards, a product must contain chocolate liquor. However, white chocolate doesn't (hence its white color). Instead, it's a mix of cocoa butter, milk, sugar, and flavorings.
Research suggests that chocolate in moderation can have some positive benefits. It may help with circulatory health, and dark chocolate may help prevent heart disease.