Ah! We had gorgeous weather today – finally some weekend sunshine. I got up early and decided today I would do things. A half-built trellis has been taunting me for weeks and so today I thought I would finally put it in its place (up on a wall). I set to work and everything was going fine until I realised that I needed a thicker drill bit. This trellis has been an ongoing saga for so long now that it seemed only natural that there would be another hurdle. I wandered off into Catete (an nearby neighbourhood) on a long-shot mission to find a shop selling drill bits open on a Sunday.
I’m sure you’ll be thrilled to hear that after an hour and a half of wandering I found my drill bit in one of those shops that sells a bit of everything. I was delighted and probably overreacted a little – no one should be that excited about finding an 8mm masonry drill bit…
On my triumphant way home I stopped in on the Glória street market and picked up a few things. One item I really didn’t need but couldn’t resist was this:
I go to the market quite regularly but haven’t seen them selling cacau before. Maybe it’s something new someone is trying or more likely they’ve just come into season. Anyway, I couldn’t resist it – I’ve had the juice before, but never actually got my hands on the actual fruit.
I don’t know if you’ve seen those ‘unboxing’ videos that people do on youtube, but I thought perhaps one or two of you might be interested to see inside the cacão fruit, so decided to do a little exposition of my own. I’m too shy to do a video, so I took a few photos instead.
As you can see here, the fruit contains dark seeds surrounded by squidgy, white pulp. The pulp doesn’t taste anything like chocolate – I would describe the taste as sweet, tangy and lemony; a bit like sherbet.
I was interested to have a look at the inner seeds, as these are what go on to become cocoa and then chocolate. I peeled a thin outer skin off to reveal these rather weird looking brown pellets:
|I’ll be honest with you, if I found a couple of these on the floor under my fridge I’d think we had a rodent problem.|
Well, they are the right colour for chocolate right? My mind started painting pictures of me making my own tiny bar of chocolate. How cool would that be?! Well, I jumped onto the internet to see how it’s done and do you know what? It looks like a massive hassle. Roast the beans for just the right amount of time (also, I don’t think I should have peeled them until after roasting), then de-husk and grind. Next mix them with milk, cocoa butter (where do I get that from?) and lecithin (Lecithin? I don’t even know what that is…) and mix for between 12 hours and 2 days.
So I’ve decided to leave chocolate making to the professionals. Still, I found it interesting to take a look inside the cacau fruit. And if you ever get the chance, I recommend trying cacau juice – it’s yummy.
|I went off to market and came back with a handful of beans. Lucky I didn’t take the family cow with me…|