It all starts with a cocoa seed in distant tropical lands and ends with the ION chocolates you enjoy every day – because ION is the one company in Greece that controls the entire production process, from the introduction and selection of the cocoa grain to the end product. And so we’re off to the wondrous journey of chocolate in the world of ION!
In Ghana, Ivory Coast, Ecuador, Jamaica, as in other tropical countries, cocoa seeds grow in tall and impressive-looking cocoa trees that can reach up to eight metres high. Each year, a tree produces about 30 fruits of Theobroma cacao, the precious “food of the gods”.
The large fruit – whose size is similar to that of a melon – is collected, shredded and the cocoa granules divided from the white flesh of the fruit.
The granules go through the necessary fermentation process in baskets – this helps them shed their surrounding pulp. The granules are placed under banana tree leaves in temperatures of up to 50oC, which is necessary for the pulp to melt, for yeasts to act, and for the granule to remain clean.
After the granule is exposed to sunlight in order to lose its humidity, to assume its brown colour and begin giving off its fine aroma, it is packaged and set off on its journey to the processing countries.
The journey continues to the chocolate production plants, where cocoa is magically transformed to our favourite treat.
All granules are cleaned and stored in silos according to variety.
Cocoa develops in special colour and texture in special roasting machines, which also take away its humidity.
At this stage, after husking the roasted granule, cocoa nibs – the small aromatic cocoa bits – are made.
It’s time for some magic!
Nibs from various cocoa varieties are mixed in the right proportions and grinded to create cocoa pulp, which is heated in order to develop its wonderful aroma.
Time for the recipe.
Cocoa pulp and other ingredients, such as milk, butter, cocoa and sugar, are combined into a homogeneous mixture.
At this stage, the tasty mixture is turned into powder and acquires the silky texture of chocolate when it melts sweetly in our mouths.
This is the most important part of the entire process.
Slowly and steadily, the mixture is liquidated and aromas are developed at their maximum.
It is here that the chocolates assume their final form, in large plates where all other ingredients (almonds, walnuts, etc.) are added.
The plates are then frozen,the chocolate is solidified…
and a delicacy is born!
Next comes packaging and storage in the appropriate area.