Chocolate Slabs

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How Chocolate Slabs are made

Most of the hazelnuts used are imported from Turkey.

When they arrive in South Africa they’re roasted and put through a nut- breaker to break them into smaller pieces, or they are used whole (for use) in the Hazelnut Heaven slabs.

Chocolate is made from cocoa powder, sugar, milk powder and cocoa butter or fat which are mixed together in a large mixing machine. The resulting mixture looks quite moist. This appearance is caused by the cocoa butter in the mix, not by its moisture content. In fact, a great deal of care is taken to keep water away from the chocolate mix as water particles will cause the chocolate to become solid. The mix is refined to reduce the size of the sugar particles from 300 microns to about 20 microns and the mix becomes a very fine powder.

The powdered chocolate moves to a conch in which it is kneaded and worked at temperatures of about 75 degrees Celsius for 4 to 5 hours. The constant movement and high temperature causes the mix to turn into liquid chocolate. This conch can holds about 6 tons of chocolate when it is full.

Chocolate melts at around 32 degrees centigrade. It’ll melt on your tongue quite quickly, you’ve probably experienced that, as our body temperature is a little higher than the melting point of the chocolate.

With the ingredients prepared, they’re ready to create the chocolate slab. The hazelnuts are put into a hopper and combine with the chocolate, which is kept in liquid form at about 33 degrees centigrade. The chocolate and nut mix is (poured) deposited into polycarbonate molding trays that pass below the depositor. This machine can produce chocolate slabs of varying size and type and each mold is in the shape of the specific bar that is being produced. There are 600 millimetre wide machines and others that are double that size at 1.2 meters in width in this factory that can produce around 1200kgs (amount) of chocolate slabs each hour.

The molding trays pass through a cooling tunnel with temperatures of around 16 degrees centigrade and the chocolate hardens. This fascinating machine (flexes) twists the trays, loosening each slab before it is demolded removed from) The tray is then turned over to demold the product. ( the molds over.)  Each mold receives a sharp knock (rap) to help to release the slab from the mold. The production process of the slabs is now complete and the chocolate is ready to be eaten.

This particular production line has two  (three) wrapping stations to handle the volume that it can produce. Pre-printed rolls of wrapping paper are fitted into the machine. The wrapping process is completely automated and over 20,000 slabs can be wrapped each hour.

As the bars shoot down the conveyor they are enclosed and sealed in specially designed wrapping material that will keep them fresh for up to one year.

Well after seeing the way that the chocolate slabs are made, I’ve got the very enviable job of tasting a slab straight off the line. I hope that you’ve enjoyed the movie.