Q: Do fermentation and chocolate ever go together?
A: YES, actually. What we taste and enjoy as chocolate would not be possible without fermentation! When the cocoa beans (the part of the Theobroma cacao plant from which we make chocolate) are first harvested from the pod (about 30-40 in a pod), they are surrounded by a pulp which has a high sugar content. The pods are allowed to ferment in order to separate the seeds from the pulp. In fact, in ancient American cultures, they used to put the pulp, beans and all into a dugout canoe and let it all ferment together, creating an alcoholic, chocolatey drink! Now THERE’s a party!
Check out these informative videos for more information about the history of chocolate and fermentation from the Getty Museum, especially [Clip 3] from Uncorking the Past: Ancient Ales, Wines, and Extreme Beverages
Q: Did we really try fermenting chocolate Easter bunnies? A: No. But this guy spent a few hot days in the back of a mail truck before reaching his destination. 🙂