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Hi all, I unfortunately get ill if I eat normal store bought chocolate, something to do with the cacao, however it seems as if I can tolerated raw cacao much better. So I decided to make my own small batch of chocolate recently: melted cocoa butter, coconut oil, honey and some vanilla and mixed in the raw cacao. Poured into moulds & into the fridge. Didn't came out bad, but also not great taking into consideration the amount of money I had to fork out for raw cacao and cocoa butter.

So now I am here and I hope some of you will be so kind as to direct me to "chocolate making 101". All I need is probably on this site, but I dearly hope some of you will recommend a post or two or paste a link or two. I unfortunately do not have much time to browse and do R&D so I'm relying on your kindness to help me.

Kind regards!

[ Moderator's note: Member Bongaan is located in South Africa. It might be helpful to take that fact into account when you reply to his question. ]

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FYI for the rest of you - i MAY have come up with a way to safely use raw cocoa.  i'll need to think through it a bit more, but as with any puzzle, there's a solution, it just needs to be found.  I may have found a solution.  If it works, it'll require equipment that you probably don't have however 8-)

What, roasting it?? ;)

time tested and approved 8-)

but there may be a way to process it, keep the temps below 120F, AND obtain a 5 log kill.  nevermind that it'll still taste like .. well, not great... so i still don't understand the infatuation with raw cocoa, but it may be a way to at least let people consume bad tasting chocolate w/o going into renal failure 8-)

You guys can always be so kind as to jump to my new post and rather help me out there? :)


Regarding the issue that raw is potentially dangerous, the guys I bought it from states this:

Raw, Organic: This is a 100% raw product that is certified organic by BCS Oko Garantie.

Low Microbe Count: Because of the exceptional quality and standards under which these beans are processed, any foreign microbe/bacteria activity is virtually nonexistent on the skin and inner nib. Due to the high level of quality control our cacao beans may eaten without peeling.

Now do I call it BS or isn't it also a fact that the danger of raw is because of how they handle the beans and surely if done properly it could be safe?

If he's simultaneously stating that its raw and has a low microbe count, i'd be very, very suspicious.  Organic has nothing to do with micro food safety.  HE may believe they're low in micro count, but my very strong suspicion is that he's a marketing guy trying to sell his beans, and has absolutely no proof the beans have a 'virtually nonexistent' microbe count.

Doing two minutes' research on the internet is always problematic because you don't know what sources are reliable.

Bongaan's interest in making chocolate is not a commercial venture, it's because he has a particular disease called histaminosis and wants to make chocolate so it's safe for him to eat. Histaminosis is a spectrum disorder ranging from mild to lethal in terms of responses. Histamines are related to allergies so it may be that bongaan is allergic to something in commercial chocolate. Through experimentation he has found that "raw" chocolate does not trigger his histaminosis.

The original set of responses was driven, in part, because we did not know the nature of bongaan's illness. Now that we have some clues, we can provide more relevant answers.

It occurs to me that what may be happening is that the process of roasting cocoa beans generates a chemical that is not present in un-roasted beans that triggers histaminosis in some people. The article linked to above suggests that a reaction to chocolate that is similar to red wine headaches. 

The challenge facing bongaan, then, is to make chocolate from un-roasted beans and to make sure that the chocolate is safe from other forms of potentially harmful bacterial contamination, which is the concern that Sebastian raises.

Chocolate Alchemy is a great resource for making chocolate on a small scale for not that much money. Many members of TheChocolateLife have started out using Chocolate Alchemy as a resource. However, it don't think the discussions adequately address the potential risks of using those same processes to make chocolate with un-roasted beans.

The investment in making chocolate from the bean can be under US$1000 if a conventional oven is used and supporting equipment (like the winnower) is very much DIY. Even though buying organic raw paste and liquor may be expensive, the question is how long is it going to take to recoup the investment in equipment and make that approach worthwhile? Cost is very much a factor for bongaan and the Rand is near a four-year low against the US$ making things almost 50% more expensive than they were just two years ago.


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